A League 2 blog with an overwhelmingly pro-Torquay United bias
Accrington (8th) v Southend (14th)
My outside tips for the playoffs, Stanley will finish the evening in the top 7 with anything other than a defeat here, and you’d struggle to see them losing this one. Having won their last 7 home matches, they’re bound to be confident against a side who’ve lost their last 4 away, including a reverse at bottom side Stockport. Southend may well be demoralised by the evaporation of their playoff hopes in recent weeks, although the recent return of their talismanic goalscoring defender Bilel Mohsni (whose name I’ve been mis-spelling for some time, to my horror) should lift the team. Still, I can’t look beyond Accrington for this one.
Burton (22nd) v Northampton (21st)
This is a truly massive game for both sides and a compelling fixture that I will definitely be following closely. Burton are burning through their games in hand but can’t seem to put any distance between themselves and the drop zone: their 1-4 capitulation at home to resurgent Barnet has piled the pressure on, with the Bees now just 2pts behind them. Visitors Northampton have problems of their own and are winless in 13 as they continue to spiral down the table. The Cobblers’ improving performances of late were undermined by a poor showing in their weekend defeat to Accrington and Gary Johnson’s managerial acumen is being tested to breaking point. That said, his side are at least scoring goals: they’ve netted in each of their last 6 away matches and this game marks the first return to the Pirelli for Shaun Harrad, whose goals the Brewers have sorely missed since his January transfer. This is an incredibly tough one to call, and I’m narrowly plumping for the away side to scrape a tense encounter thanks to the Harrad factor.
Hereford (19th) v Wycombe (2nd)
The Bulls, like Torquay, should find out soon if they’ll face a points deduction following both sides’ fielding of ineligible players when they met at the start of February. While they triumphed that day, Hereford have been in indifferent form ever since and their proximity to the relegation zone, coupled with Barnet’s (albeit nascent) resurgence, means that any points loss could well threaten their league status. Winning (and indeed scoring) at Edgar Street has been a problem for them this season, and the visit of a team in the automatic promotion places hardly looks like heralding a change in fortunes. Visitors Wycombe have scored in each of their last 6 away matches and will be looking for a victory here to consolidate their lofty position; I reckon they’ll get it too, but not without a fight.
Macclesfield (17th) v Bradford (20th)
While they’re surely safe from the drop, the Silkmen are going through a rocky patch at the moment, having lost their last 3 matches. They’ve also got the division’s second worst home defensive record and aren’t overly profligate at Moss Rose either. Fortunately for the hosts, Bradford are the least prolific side in the division away from home and aren’t exactly in boisterous form themselves, having tasted defeat in 3 of their last 4 fixtures on the road. However, they have managed to find the net in each of their last 5 matches and almost came away from in-form Stevenage with a point at the weekend, so I fancy them to get something here. The Bantams are also overdue a draw, having registered just 5 all season.