Notts County [2.04] v Carlisle United [4.00], the draw [3.60]
Carlisle United's boss Greg Abbott has admitted he is under pressure this week following their 3-0 drubbing by Walsall on Tuesday. It really could have been six or seven in that game, and Abbott's fears have not been allayed on the pitch, with his side looking edgy and apprehensive.
The Cumbrians are also without a win in four outings and reports in the local press are suggesting their attacking play and expansive game will be ditched for a more pragmatic approach, with Carlisle maybe switching back to a diamond 4-3-3.
They also have the joint worst defensive record in the division, having conceded 59 all season, and that dismal stat has sucked them towards the relegation zone.
Notts County meanwhile are unbeaten in their last four, including three 1-1 scorelines. New manager Chris Kiwomya thought his team deserved the points against Tranmere in midweek, in a game they started slowly again. Opta stats reveal 61 per cent of their goals have come in the second-half of matches.
County do have lots of pace in their side, with one or two quality players, including the midfielder Alan Judge. They ripped apart Bury in a second-half blitz last Friday 4-1, and with that sort of attacking play might be too much for Carlisle this weekend - who have allowed a league high 33 goals in the first-half this term.
Back Notts County to win @ [2.04]
I previewed this match in October for the first meeting between these two, and Walsall played one of the
best halves of football I have seen from a League One side. Sky TV pundit Don Goodman couldn't quite believe how good they were that day too - and yet they somehow lost to Shrewsbury 1-0, largely thanks to a brilliant display from Salop keeper Chris Weale.
I rarely mention any custodian in this column, so that changes this week. Veteran Weale has been superb this season, and some of the saves he pulled off during that live encounter a few months ago were spectacular.
Walsall are one of the form teams in the division according to the Opta stats, having picked up 23 points from their last 10 league matches, second only to the mighty Yeovil. They have pieced together a brilliant sequence of wins to take themselves to within six points off the play-offs.
The Saddlers are a really good passing team with goal threats, and the re-signing of Wolves keeper Aaron McCarey has been a huge boost, his presence has helped the side keep two clean sheets in both his matches since his return.
Walsall dominated Carlisle during the 3-0 win on Tuesday, whilst Shrewsbury conceded with the last kick of the game (yet again a stoppage time blow for the column) to lose 2-1 against the physical Doncaster.
Shrewsbury are unlikely to be too attacking in the first-half, and will sit deep and defend early on here, allowing the home team the bulk of the possession. The under markets should be used up to half-time, with Walsall hopefully asserting in the second period.
I am never really a lover of putting up [1.71] shots, but Brentford look virtually impossible to oppose this weekend. Opta stats back the price up too, stating the Londoners have picked up more points at home this season than anyone else in the league (33), and they have lost only twice at Griffin Park all season.
Now that the distractions of the FA Cup are finished with, Uwe Rosler's side can concentrate on their push for promotion. Currently they have 58 points, and with the situation so ludicrous at the top of the table (I even read an article in The Metro about the division), Brentford could go to the top position with a couple of wins.
Rosler's side pass the ball well with a good shape, I have mentioned their promising young players on a regular basis here this season, however I am going to mention another goalkeeper. Their highly-rated youngster Simon Moore is keeping out ex-Premier League shot-stopper Richard Lee, and has been tipped for future international honours.
Scunthorpe's task looks hard, and Opta state they have scored just three goals in their last six games. On the plus side, skipper Paul Reid could return from a virus, but striker Akpo Sodje remains doubtful with an ankle injury.
February has been quite a good month for the Iron (although they had five of their seven games at home), but they are an inconsistent side towards the bottom of the table. They were solid against Stevenage recently in a 1-0 victory, but they do lack width and sometimes a cutting edge - especially if Sodje is unfit.
Brentford will need to keep quiet Scunthorpe's Mark Duffy, who is a potential game-changer with his roaming ability. However, the hosts should be too strong this Saturday.
Back Brentford to win @ [1.71]