Those lucky few that held tickets to watch the Town’s heart-breaking last-minute defeat to AFC Wimbledon last Saturday will tell you there were positives.
That might sound strange given the Hatters lost and conceded three in the process, but positives there were. And a good few of them. Honest.
One of those positives came in the shape of Luke Guttridge. The string-pulling midfielder made just his 10th league start of the season – and his first since mid-November – last weekend, and his influence on the game at Kingsmeadow was the stand-out contribution from those in white shirts, as both Town goals were created via the right-boot of the canny Guttridge.
After two successive defeats the Town, and Guttridge, will be hoping to bounce back to form. And what better place to do it than Kenilworth Road – where the Hatters haven’t lost in 13 League 2 games, stretching back to early September.
Guttridge also likes playing at home. 13 of his 15 goals in Luton colours have been scored at Kenilworth Road.
Burton Albion v Newport County
Burton suffered just their seventh defeat of the Sky Bet League 2 season when succumbing 1-0 at Accrington on Tuesday night. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s second-placed Albion, who are 13/8 with Sky Bet to win the title, go into the clash with Newport as 5/6 favourites, with the visiting Exiles 7/2 and the draw available at 12/5. County sit just outside the play-off places after losing at home to Morecambe last weekend and are 7/1 to claim promotion to League 1 come the end of the season. The Exiles have failed to find the net in three of their last four away games and they’re 11/10 to draw a blank at the Pirelli Stadium.
Top tip: Newport not to score at 11/10
Cheltenham Town v Tranmere Rovers
Cheltenham stopped the rot of four straight defeats when drawing 1-1 at Accrington on Friday night but they haven’t won a game since the start of January. The Robins are 7/4 to end that misery by picking up all three points against Tranmere on Saturday. Rovers haven’t had the easiest time themselves but beat Shrewsbury recently and gave it a good go at Portsmouth in midweek, losing 3-2 after going into the final 20 minutes 2-0 up. Whether that collapse dents their confidence is open to question but Sky Bet offer 8/5 for the away side to claim an important victory here. With both teams in danger of ending the season in the midst of a relegation scrap, punters could be tempted by the 11/5 about this one finishing all-square.
Top tip: Draw at 11/5
Hartlepool United v AFC Wimbledon
Bottom-of-the-league Hartlepool take on mid-table AFC Wimbledon in a game that is turning into a must win as they are eight points away from safety. The betting is close at Victoria Park with Hartlepool priced up at 7/4 with the visiting Dons available at 6/4. A draw is at 23/10 with Sky Bet. This is only the fourth meeting between the two sides and Hartlepool have won two of the three previous clashes, Wimbledon winning the other. On those occasions there have been over 2.5 goals with both teams scoring. However, due to the situation Hartlepool are in you would expect Ronnie Moore to set up to stifle the opposition. Pools have won three of their last four at home, two of them to nil, so they are fairly resolute. In contrast, AFC Wimbledon have not won in their last five away matches and have failed to score in their last three.
Top Tip: Hartlepool to score first at 11/10
Luton Town v Accrington Stanley
Luton look to bolster their push for automatic promotion from Sky Bet League 2 when they play host to Accrington on Saturday. The Hatters have stalled slightly in recent weeks, winning two, losing two and drawing two in their last six, and are priced at 3/4 to get back on the winning trail against the Reds, and even-money to go up to League 1. Accrington’s form has picked up, registering three wins and a draw in their last four, and John Coleman’s men are 4/1 for an away-day upset. The draw is 12/5 and a repeat of the 2-2 thriller that these teams played out in Lancashire back in August can be backed at 16/1.
Top tip: Both teams to score at evens
Mansfield Town v Dagenham & Redbridge
One place and two points separate these two sides in the Sky Bet League 2 table, with both teams looking for a few more wins to stay away from the relegation zone. The Stags are the favourites for this one at 21/20 with the visitors 14/5 and the draw 11/5. Dagenham have been in decent form recently with three wins in their last five, and have picked up three more points on the road than at home this season. Mansfield are unbeaten in four on their own turf.
Top tip: Draw at 11/5
Morecambe v Cambridge United
Cambridge are without a win since beating Newport 4-0 before their goalless draw against Manchester United in the FA Cup. The U’s are 2/1 to put that right in what looks a tough game to call at Morecambe (7/5). The draw is 11/5. Cambridge did manage to respond to the shock of conceding six against Portsmouth last weekend by securing a goalless midweek draw against AFC Wimbledon. Both teams have scored in six of Morecambe’s last seven with the Shrimps having won two and lost two on the back of a run of five straight draws.
Top tip: Both teams to score at 5/6
Plymouth Argyle v Bury
A potentially pivotal game in the Sky Bet League 2 play-off race pits sixth against seventh at Home Park with the hosts just shading favouritism at 6/4. Bury are 7/4 and the draw 23/10. After a seven-match winless run, the Pilgrims have won four on the bounce – the last three all by two goals – so will be full of confidence while the visitors are also unbeaten in four, albeit with two draws. Bury have kept things tight on the road with just three goals conceded in their last five games while three of Plymouth’s four recent wins have been 1-0 or 2-0. With so much at stake, this could well be a tight one.
Top tip: Under 2.5 goals at 4/7
Portsmouth v Oxford United
Portsmouth come into this one on the back of a six-match unbeaten run, having picked up 6-2 and 3-2 victories in the last week. They’re 23/20 for a fifth straight win, with Oxford 12/5 and the draw 9/4. Oxford’s form is patchier, but they did beat Mansfield 3-0 last time out so should be in decent heart. The recent goalscoring efforts of this pair means odds-against quotes for over 2.5 goals look more than fair.
Top tip: Over 2.5 goals at 6/5
Shrewsbury Town v Northampton Town
Shrewsbury are the 4/6 favourites to claim another victory at home when Northampton arrive at Greenhous Meadow on Saturday. Northampton are 9/2 to become the first side to win at Shrewsbury in the league this season and the draw can be supported at 11/4. The Cobblers have a difficult task to end that formidable record as they have only won four of their 16 away matches this term. Northampton striker Marc Richards has scored four goals in five so he could be a danger to the Shrews backline. Richards can be backed at 7/1 in the first goalscorer betting and that market is led by Shrewsbury’s James Collins at 4/1.
Top Tip: Marc Richards first goalscorer at 7/1
Southend United v Carlisle United
Southend go into this clash with Carlisle looking to consolidate their play-off position but their opponents are looking nervously over their shoulder. Southend are 4/6 favourites to take the three points at Roots Hall while Carlisle are 4/1 to claim victory. Twenty-four of 32 Southend games this season have seen under 2.5 goals. Nine Southend home matches have been goalless at the break and this could be the same story if Carlisle can frustrate the hosts. For the visitors six of their away matches haven’t seen a first half goal and the statistics suggest a quiet opening.
Top Tip: A 0-0 draw at half-time at 13/8
Wycombe Wanderers v Stevenage
Wycombe have only won two of their last six games in Sky Bet League 2 but they bounced back from two straight defeats with a 3-2 victory against Carlisle last weekend, which puts their title push back on track. Gareth Ainsworth’s side currently occupy third spot in the table and are 4/6 for promotion and 9/1 to end the season as champions. The Chairboys are even-money favourites to pick up all three points at home to Stevenage on Saturday, with the draw 12/5 and Boro available to back at 11/4. The visitors are unbeaten in three and have won their last two with 3-1 and 4-2 victories over Hartlepool and Southend. Their confidence will be high and it’s not hard to see them troubling Wycombe so both teams to score looks pretty solid at 10/11. Paul Hayes is considered most like for the hosts and he tops the first goalscorer betting at 9/2.
Top tip: Both teams to score at 10/11
York City v Exeter City
York’s problems in front of their own fans have been well documented but they beat Tranmere 2-0 on their most recent home outing and go into Saturday’s Sky Bet League 2 clash with Exeter as 23/20 favourites. The Minstermen took all three points in the corresponding fixture last term and a repeat of that 2-1 home win is priced at 8/1. Exeter aren’t exactly flying themselves and have won just one of their last 10 games, drawing three in that sequence. It’s 23/10 that this one ends all-square, while an away victory can be backed at 12/5. The Grecians have gained a league-high 11 points from losing positions in away games this season and York/Draw in the half-time-full time market makes plenty of appeal at 16/1.
Top tip: York/Draw half-time/full-time at 16/1
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