Mansfield Town v Hartlepool United
Mansfield Town are unbeaten in their last four games as they take on bottom of the table Hartlepool United under the lights on Friday.
The Stags came from behind last weekend to beat Crewe Alexandra 2-1 which shows the never say die spirit they have in their squad. They have started well and have won six out of their opening 10 games to rise to 6th in the table as they eye promotion to League One. Speaking after their win over the Railwaymen, manager Nigel Clough said it was an ‘incredible’ result and his team will take a lot of confidence from that. In terms of selection news, midfielder Anthony Hartigan is still on the road to recovery but his absence isn’t missed too much with the likes of Stephen Quinn, George Maris and Ollie Clarke all fit in his position which shows the quality and depth they have in their ranks. Striker Rhys Oates is also out of action but Nottingham Forest loan man Will Swan is proving to be a real handful and has scored three goals already. Mansfield will be too strong for Hartlepool if they show up and they have managed to find the net 16 times so far this term which proves how much of a threat they possess.
Hartlepool haven’t won yet in this campaign out of their first 10 outings and it looks like they will be in a serious relegation battle. Their poor form has seen them sack manager Paul Hartley already and they have placed Keith Curle in interim charge until a permanent successor is found. After sacking Hartley last week, club chairman Raj Singh brutally admitted that he ‘didn’t know’ who he was when he appointed him over the summer. The Pools will be without defender Jamie Sterry for their trip to Field Mill as he has picked up a fresh injury which is a blow. Mouhamed Niang will be ready to step in for him again but the summer signing from Partick Thistle lacks experience in the Football League. Hartlepool’s defence has been a shambles so far and they have the leakiest backline in the division having leaked 17 goals already. To make matters worse, they can’t score goals either and have the joint-second lowest goal return in the league as well. The North East outfit have found the net just six times and haven’t scored in their past two matches against Sutton United and Gillingham which shows how much they lack a cutting edge.
Stockport County v Walsall
Stockport County’s season hasn’t gone to plan so far and they will be desperate to beat Walsall this weekend.
Despite sitting down in 17th place in the League Two table, their form at Edgeley Park has been strong and they have only lost once on home soil this term and that was on the opening day against Barrow. They were beaten 2-1 away at Northampton Town last time out and their boss Dave Challinor said his side needed more ‘control’ in the game. They seem to have that on home soil though and they seem to be a completely different team away. In terms of selection news, midfielder Akil Wright is suspended after picking up a red card against the Cobblers but the Hatters have strong options in his position like Ryan Croasdale, Antoni Sarcevic and Will Collar. Right-back Macauley Southam-Hales is out injured which isn’t ideal but Blackburn Rovers loan man James Brown has made a positive impression so far with his new club. County need to win this one and the fact they are unbeaten in their last four outings on their own patch shows that they have picked up a bit of momentum on their own patch.
Walsall started this campaign well after winning their opening two games against Hartlepool United and Newport County. However, the wheels have well and truly fallen off now and they haven’t won in their last eight matches in the league. The Saddlers have slipped down to 15th place after just two wins in their opening 10 and speaking after their 1-0 loss at home to Tranmere Rovers last weekend, their manager Michael Flynn said his side were undone by their ‘inability to score’. The goals have dried up for the Midlands club and they have found the net just once in their last three matches. On the injury front, defender Liam Gordon is back and came off the bench against Tranmere. However, he hasn’t played much football at all recently and could be targeted by Stockport if he plays. Striker Conor Wilkinson hasn’t been seen yet since the last campaign and his absence has been missed, with players like Andy Williams and Danny Cashman yet to score. Walsall’s confidence will be low at the moment and they have won just once on the road this season out of five games and are in for a tough afternoon in the North West.
Crawley Town v Stevenage
Crawley Town have struggled so far this season and take on a Stevenage side who are flying.
The Red Devils came into this campaign in good spirits following their takeover by WAGMI United. However, life under new boss Kevin Betsy hasn’t gone to plan yet and they have won just once in their opening 10 league games. The Sussex club are down in 22nd place and are only above the drop zone by a single point. They were battered 4-1 away at Doncaster Rovers last time out and Betsy said his side ‘lacked the basics’ in that one. In terms of selection news, defender Mazeed Ogungbo is back from suspension and is likely to slot back in for Harry Ransom. However, at the age of 19 he lacks experience and the team haven’t won with him in the side yet. The statistics aren’t kind to Crawley at the moment and they have the joint-worst defensive record in the league right now along with rock-bottom Hartlepool United having leaked 17 goals in their opening 10 outings. In addition, the fact they have only won once at home in their past four doesn’t bode well at all for this weekend.
Stevenage are going well at the moment under experienced boss Steve Evans. They are 3rd in the table having won seven out of their opening 10 and are finding ways to grind out results. Boro beat Harrogate Town 1-0 last Saturday with defender Dan Sweeney scoring the winner in stoppage time. They dominated the game, taking 24 shots and keeping 55% possession and Evans said he has an ‘incredible group’ at his disposal. Stevenage have been given a boost with midfielder Michael Bostwick and winger David Amoo back available following their respective injuries. Although they are unlikely to start, they still give the side more competition and depth and they would be useful options off the bench. Boro are tough to break down and have the joint-third tightest defence in the league having let in only nine goals so far. This is also down to the work of goalkeeper Taye Ashby-Hammond, who is on loan from Fulham, and he has been a hit so far by keeping three clean sheets since his move. Evans’ men will be full of confidence and should have enough to see off struggling Crawley.
Carlisle United v Crewe Alexandra
Carlisle United have picked up a bit of form in the league as they gear up to face a stuttering Crewe Alexandra.
The Cumbrians are unbeaten in their last six games and are on a roll at the moment having risen up to 8th in the table. They are only a point outside the play-offs so have the added incentive of knowing a win would probably see them rise into the top seven by Saturday evening. Carlisle were involved in the only mid-week League Two game this week and beat Grimsby Town 2-1 away courtesy of goals from midfielder Owen Moxon and striker Krystian Dennis to become the first team to win at Blundell Park this term. Popular boss Paul Simpson said his players put in ‘one hell of a shift’ to pick up an impressive three points which will give them confidence of extending their positive run of results. Midfield Sonny Hilton has been struck down with an ankle injury but Moxon, who scored against the Mariners, has shown he is an adequate replacement which is a boost. Carlisle haven’t lost at Brunton Park so far in this campaign and have won three out of their five outings on home soil. In addition, attacker Dennis has been on fire and is the third top scorer in the division on seven behind Northampton Town’s Sam Hoskins and Bradford City’s Andy Cook.
Crewe were left disappointed last weekend as they threw away their lead against Mansfield Town to lose 2-1, which shows how fragile their mentality is. The Railwaymen’s aim is promotion but they find themselves down in 11th place. They have won just once in their last six games and speaking after their defeat to the Stags, their manager Alex Morris said that it ‘hurt’ his players. To make matters worse, the Cheshire outfit have been dealt a big blow with key midfielder Callum Ainley now sidelined with injury. His presence in the middle of the park will be missed and he now faces around three months out with a shoulder injury. Potential replacements Charlie Finney and Khanya Leshabela don’t have the same influence and Crewe will now be lacking their main creative outlet. They are in for a tough afternoon in Cumbria based on the fact that they are winless in their last three league away clashes against Salford City, Bradford City and Hartlepool United, scoring just once in those matches.
Leyton Orient v Newport County
Leyton Orient have been the standout performers in League Two so far as they prepare to face an under-performing Newport County side.
The O’s are top of the table having won nine games out of their opening 10 games and are five points clear of 2nd place Northampton Town. They haven’t lost yet this term and beat 4th place Barrow 2-0 away last weekend courtesy of goals from attacker Paul Smyth and midfielder Idris El Mizouni. Their boss Richie Wellens, who knows what it takes to get promoted from the fourth tier, said he was ‘proud’ of his side. On the selection front, Leyton Orient have a clean bill of health but winger Theo Archibald and defender Tom James are both only one yellow card away from suspension which is worth keeping an eye on. The O’s will fancy their chances of extending their immaculate run of results this weekend based on the fact they have the second most prolific attack in the league behind Northampton having found the net 18 times so far. In addition, they have the best defence and have only let in four goals which shows how organised Wellens has them set up.
Newport are down in 18th place in the table and will be dreading their trip to Brisbane Road. The Exiles have only won twice this term under under-pressure boss James Rowberry and are struggling to find any sort of consistently. They drew 1-1 at home to Carlisle United last time out and threw away three points at Rodney Parade after conceding 15 minutes from time. Rowberry was understandably frustrated and said his players were ‘disappointed’ with the result. The Welsh side will be praying that midfielder Matty Dolan will be fit for this Saturday and the midfielder will be assessed this week. He brings a calmness to the centre of the pitch for them and the likes of Scot Bennett and Hayden Lindley don’t possess the same quality as him. Form hasn’t been on Newport’s side over recent times and they haven’t won in their last four clashes against Grimsby Town, Stevenage, Barrow and Carlisle, scoring just once and that doesn’t bode well for them as they make the trip to London to take on an Orient side who are flying and beaming with confidence. They have also only won once on the road this season and that was against a struggling Harrogate Town team and most signs point towards yet another loss.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
18+ please gamble responsibly.
Back the Four and Five Star Selections as an Accumulator on Betfair ⬇️
*Bet link only appears when accessing from mobile.
Haven’t got a Betfair account? You’re in luck…
Sign up to Betfair and get a full refund if your first bet loses. Grab an account through the offer below and place £20 on the 15/1 League Two Best Bets Accumulator. Here are the two possible outcomes: