MK Dons host Sheffield United in League One's big game this weekend and Alan Dudman is not expecting a classic, though we can make a profit from backing few goals in the match...
"Sheffield United meanwhile held Swindon in midweek to a 0-0 draw, a game where they looked ultra-strong defensively with the back two eating up all of the long balls in to the box. Make no mistake, United are a good side, but they would not be as attractive to watch as the MK Dons."
The layers are taking no chances with this game, in particular reference to any kind of unders bet for Saturday. Under 2.5 goals trades at 1.705/7, which is on a par to how I would have priced this one up. Put simply, MK Dons have the meanest home defence and Sheffield United the best defensive record away from home.
However, the tactical battle should be just as intriguing. The hosts play the tried and trusted 4-2-3-1, and will have the majority of possession. The Blades are fairly straightforward and were described recently by one opposing fan as 'eleven big lumps'.
The Dons are proving to be quite frustrating this season, for all their neat play they do lack a clinical edge and should have collected more than the 10 goals from eight games. Their Wednesday night 1-0 victory over out of form Leyton Orient highlighted their lack of goals (but also their defensive abilities).
Sheffield United meanwhile held Swindon in midweek to a 0-0 draw, a game where they looked ultra-strong defensively with the back two eating up all of the long balls in to the box. Make no mistake, United are a good side, but they would not be as attractive to watch as the MK Dons.
The visitors will have much the same plan as they did at Swindon, keep it quiet, be hard to break down, and don't allow the hosts to get off to a good start. The half-time market again should be a source of interest with the draw, and any correct score bets should be based on both sides scoring no more than one each.
I was with Sheffield United on Tuesday night to be strong defensively, and I make no apologies for once again sticking with the form team of League One at the moment - Bournemouth. I won't bore once again with my admiration for Eddie Howe, but his return has been sensational in masterminding five wins from six since he returned to the club.
Such is their hot streak at the moment, Bournemouth are now 18.5 in the winner market (having been matched at 100.099/1 for £14). For promotion they are 4.407/2 and 2.021/1 for a top six finish. I would take all
of them to be honest.
Howe's side produced the goods again on Tuesday by battering Shrewsbury 2-1. I say battering, as Shrews keeper Chris Weale had another 'worldy' and kept the scoreline down. Some of Bournemouth's attacking play was scintillating, it had it not been for Weale it would have been a landslide.
Even away from home, Bournemouth are looking to win matches. They line up a very attacking 4-4-2 with lots of pace, invention and falir. Even the local press described the recent form as 'drunk on entertainment'. They will create lots of chances.
Doncaster are a decent outfit, and credit to their boss Dean Saunders for guiding them to the top six. Tuesday's 2-0 home defeat to Crewe was their first defeat in eight games and were sorely missing a couple of their key players. Rovers defend well, and have conceded only nine goals at the Keepmoat this season - although they have only netted seven in total.
I think Bournemouth will take the game to their hosts this Saturday, as so many of their players are hitting top form.
Coventry were a soft touch earlier in the season, but since the appointment of new boss Mark Robins, they
have been difficult to beat. Just two defeats in their last 10 games highlights how the former Manchester
United forward has changed their fortunes.
I am pleased to see on-loan forward David McGoldrick scoring goals. He is probably too good for this division, and the Forest man has hit nine goals in seven games. I always knew he was good, as I repeatedly tried to sign him on loan playing Football Manager!
The Sky Blues were lucky in midweek, they won 3-1 against Crawley but were completely outplayed.
Meanwhile Scunthorpe have welcomed back former boss Brian Laws, and his influence was immediateas the Iron netted an easy 4-1 against Walsall on Tuesday. Saddlers boss Dean Smith said Scunthorpe have some decent players, and made a fair point by saying; "if they played like that two weeks ago, Alan Knill would still be in a job."
Laws played a 4-4-2 at Walsall and they looked rampant, this Saturday will not be as easy but I liked the way Karl Hawley dropped deeper to use the ball. Key midfielder David Prutton (he of the flowing locks) will be suspended this weekend.
Back the draw @ 3.6013/5