Bolton Wanderers v Peterborough United
Bolton Wanderers host Peterborough United in what could be a very enterprising advert for League One at The UniBol. The Trotters have recovered from back-to-back defeats against Plymouth Argyle and Sheffield Wednesday, with comfortable wins over Charlton Athletic and Milton Keynes Dons and they will fancy their chances on their home patch.
Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Josh Sheehan are back available for selection, but Lloyd Isgrove has suffered a setback in his recovery. Dan Butler, Emmanuel Fernandez and Oliver Norburn are still out for Posh.
The visitors lost 1-0 at home to Fleetwood Town in midweek, they came up against a stubborn resistance who put their bodies on the line, they still mustered 18 shots and 1.43 xGF, producing chances that Jack Marriott would have been disappointed not to put away, it was not a performance that should cause too much concern. The defeat should only increase their appetite for the Bolton trip, Jonson Clarke-Harris up against Ricardo Santos, the Trotters’ captain and one of the best centre backs in League One, will be a fascinating individual battle that could have a significant say on the outcome of the match.
Exeter City v Burton Albion
Exeter City’s return to League One has been better than steady. Maintaining the core of last season’s promoted squad, the Grecians find themselves ninth after eight games thanks to a record of three wins and a single-goal defeat at St. James Park. Matt Taylor’s 3-4-1-2 formation has been hit recently by some injuries, but still possesses quality creative forward Jevani Brown and the flying wing-back pair of Jack Sparkes and Josh Key. Archie Collins continues to be a key metronome in midfield, recently partnered by Ipswich Town loanee Rekeem Harper, and 22-year-old Harry Kite played in an advanced role during the last midweek matchday.
Burton Albion make the trip down to Devon this weekend. The Brewers are one of two sides in League One yet to record a win this season, and still find themselves looking upwards at the rest after collecting just one point from their first eight matches. New manager Dino Maamria, promoted from his assistant role after Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s resignation, deployed a 4-3-3 during their midweek home game against joint league-leaders Portsmouth.
With players back in more natural positions, as well as the return of tenacious young midfielder Ciaran Gilligan to the starting eleven, Burton certainly tested an unbeaten Pompey side but ultimately succumbed to two second half goals from close range. Maamria made use of the free agent market to bring in Sam Winnall and Mustapha Carayol as additional forward options, but both require time to get up to full match fitness. They are likely to feature at St. James Park, but only as substitutes.
Confidence is certainly growing back into the Burton Albion camp after a competitive display against one of League One’s top sides, but there is another strong challenge awaiting them down in Devon. Exeter City’s home form has greatly aided their good start to the 2022-23 and even with injuries, the Grecians should possess enough quality to beat the league’s leakiest defence. Fulham loanee Jay Stansfield, son of club icon Adam Stansfield, is awaiting his first goal for his boyhood club.
Exeter fans would love nothing more than for that to come in front of the Big Bank Terrace against a side they could be firmly competing with in the table come the end of the season.
Forest Green Rovers v Morecambe
Morecambe have drawn four and lost four from their opening octet in League One and have the worst processes in the division according to expected goals. The Shrimps will let Forest Green Rovers have possession, as is their preferred approach under Ian Burchnall, content on sitting back, relying on their well drilled defensive shape under Derek Adams, and using their dangerous attackers in transition.
Rovers have scored three goals from 1.15 xGF in their last two, picking up four points, and they have the fourth worst attacking contingent in the division. FGR have underperformed to concede 16 goals from 11.52 xGA, another quirk that points towards a low scoring game on Saturday.
Morecambe know what they are about and performed admirably in defeat to Sheffield Wednesday during the week, whereas FGR are still a project under Burchnall and they could have a stifling effect. Connor Wickham got on the scoresheet for the Green last time out, and it will be interesting to see what impact he can have with regular fixtures.
Morecambe have only scored more than one goal once on one occasion this season and FGR should be able to keep them at bay to yield a positive result.
Fleetwood Town v Charlton Athletic
Both teams to score on Charlton Athletic is still at a backable price. The Addicks had a chance to get a second clean sheet of the season in midweek after taking an early lead against FGR, but a Joe Wollacott mistake saw the Green equalise and take a point. Both teams to score has copped in six of the Addicks’ eight outings so far, conceding in seven and scoring in seven, even their only clean sheet, coming against Derby County, was wholly unconvincing.
Fleetwood Town are averaging 1.49 xGF in their last three games and will be buoyant from their excellent 1-0 win at Peterborough in midweek.
Ryan Inniss is suspended for the visitors, who will also be without Steven Sessegnon and Chuks Aneke, with Charlie Kirk also missing out on the matchday squad in midweek. The Addicks’ squad is thin and not suited to the quick turnaround, 19-year-old right back Richard Chin started at left back in midweek for Charlton and that could be an area for the hosts to exploit.
In Jesurun Rak-Sakyi, Corey Blackett-Taylor and Jack Payne, they still have plenty of talent to cause problems. Jayden Stockley is on a barren run but has scored in his last two visits to Highbury Stadium for the Addicks.
Oxford United v Milton Keynes Dons
Two sides who have been involved in recent League One Play-Off campaigns, Oxford United and Milton Keynes Dons have made very forgettable starts to 2022-23. Oxford United’s season has certainly been affected by notable injuries and it has forced them to use players in unconventional defensive positions and play younger, inexperienced forwards at the tip of their 3-5-2 formation. The U’s have scored more than one goal on just two occasions in League One this season, averaging 0.875 goals per game. All their four league defeats so far this season have also come by just a single-goal margin.
Beaten Play-Off Semi-Finalists last season, MK Dons have made an even worse start to 2022-23. Following a 2-0 home defeat to Bolton Wanderers, their fifth in eight league games, the Dons find themselves inside the bottom four with just seven points collcted from three positive results. Few would have expected the departures of Harry Darling, Scott Twine and David Kasumu to have quite the impact they have had on Liam Manning’s side. MK Dons have failed to score in five of their eight league matches in 2022-23, a 4-0 win at 23rd place Morecambe sticking out like a sore thumb against a list of lower-scoring affairs. Will Grigg and Matthew Dennis as a front pairing offers potential, but that creative and goalscoring combination that Twine provided has yet to be replaced by either one person or in the aggregate.
Last season, Oxford United v Milton Keynes Dons would have been marked as one of the games of the weekend, but not this term. Karl Robinson’s side continue to be ravaged by injuries and Liam Manning’s team look a shadow of the one that came so close to automatic promotion on the final day. If Oxford had Matty Taylor fit and MK Dons had Scott Twine under contract, you would fancy goals in this game at the Kassam. With neither of them around, the excitement just isn’t there to the same level…
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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