It was tough sledding for Adrian Clarke last weekend but with a 70% win rate (18-8) on the season, he’s confident of a bounce-back this weekend!
A very strong run came off the buffers last weekend but as they say in football… ‘we go again’!
Here are two EFL selections for Saturday afternoon that I hope will get us back on that winning horse…
Get The New-Look Cobblers On Side Against Wigan
Stepping up a level hasn’t been plain sailing for Northampton Town this term but I’m seeing signs that the second half of 2020-21 could be kinder to Cobblers. Since Christmas, they’ve picked up solid 0-0 draws against Sunderland and Fleetwood Town, beaten Gillingham 3-1 and lost 2-1 with credit away to title-chasing Lincoln City.
Their form line is strong and there’s no doubt they will view a six-pointer at home to Wigan Athletic as the match to propel them back into a more pleasant mid-table position.
It’s not difficult to find patterns when assessing Keith Curle’s men.
Up against the division’s best they have struggled big-time.
Losing 10 of 11 games against the current Top 11, Northampton have failed to score in nine of those encounters.
The Cobblers are a different beast against the lesser lights averaging 1.92 points per game against opponents sat 12th or below ahead of this weekend’s action.
Unbeaten at home to those teams (losing only twice in 13 games) they have made the most of their clashes against opponents of a similar standard.
For that reason, I am drawn towards a price of 2.43 for Northampton Town to beat the 23rd-placed Latics on Saturday afternoon.
Manager Keith Curle has taken a scythe to the side which was promoted via the play-offs, with Sam Hoskins the sole survivor in their last starting XI.
New faces Bryn Morris, Peter Kioso, Mickel Miller and Ryan Edmondson look good enough to help them climb the table in the coming months.
I have to say Wigan Athletic are performing minor miracles with so much uncertainty going on behind the scenes.
It can’t be easy to concentrate on football.
To make matters worse prize assets Kyle Joseph and Tom Pearce are also being strongly linked with transfers this week, which is not a helpful distraction.
As a team, there’s no denying they have amazing character, displayed Portsmouth and Sunderland away from home. But on the back of a draining 5-0 rout at the hands of Blackpool in midweek, this is going to be a severe test of their resolve.
Northampton Town have a powerful freshened-up side that seems to be building a nice head of steam.
I fancy them to take all three points…
Jumping On The Goal Train At Bunton Park
It’s not easy to judge how a side will fare on the back of a 28-day break but I do feel Carlisle United v Exeter City has a strong whiff of goals about it.
A whopping 70% of matches at Brunton Park this term have seen Over 2.5 goals successfully land this season, a League 2 high.
Meanwhile, Exeter City’s away games average 3.4 goals (another League 2 high) with 70% of their road trips featuring Over 2.5 goals too. Those numbers back up the eye test, which tells me this should be an entertaining affair.
These are two attack-minded teams loaded with quality in the final third.
How Carlisle United react to their lengthy break is the big unknown.
Due to Covid-19 and inclement weather, The Cumbrians have only played once in 2021 so you would expect them to fly out of the traps with refreshed energy levels this weekend.
You could also make a strong case that rustiness and fatigue late on in the game might make them more vulnerable defensively too.
Midfielder Jon Mellish (7 goals) is a player to look out for that’s influential for the hosts, who also boast a 20-year-old starlet in the making in Josh Kayode (4 goals, 2 assists).
Matt Taylor’s Grecians have some really exciting players of their own.
Matt Jay and Ryan Bowman (both 10 goals) are excellent finishers and 21-year-old Joel Randall (6 goals, 4 assists) is a name that’s set for big things too.
In theory, this should be a cracking contest between a couple of talented front-foot sides, so I can’t ignore a price of 1.95 on Over 2.5 goals being scored when Carlisle United host Exeter City.
- Northampton Town to beat Wigan Athletic 2.43
- Carlisle United v Exeter City Over 2.5 goals 1.95