League One Previews: Relegation six-pointer to end all-sqaure
John Parkin has joined Scunthorpe on loan from Cardiff
"The visitors (Walsall) are the draw specialists (with eight in their last 10), and it might be a case where both teams will be too frightened to lose."
There's a huge game at the bottom of League One this weekend and Alan Dudman believes Scunthorpe and Walsall will share the spoils and remain in big trouble.
Preston v Brentford, KO: Saturday 15:00, Match Odds: Preston [2.72], Brentford [2.66], The Draw [3.5]
Graham Westley's new reign as manager at Deepdale hasn't quite gone according to plan. With just one point and one goal in three games, Westley needs to get a winning mentality working soon, a tough task for a club with a losing one.
The Lillywhites shouldn't be judged on last Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Yeovil, as they played virtually the entire game with 10 men, and unsurprisingly showed lots of holes in their defence. North End created very little in the 0-0 with Notts County the week prior, therefore the pressure will be mounting on the new boss to deliver his first victory - especially at home.
The hosts have Craig Morgan and Paul Coutts both suspended, but have new faces available courtesy of several transfer deadline day deals revealed in the Lancashire Evening Post.
Brentford are most fascinating of late, and I make no apology for discussing them again this week. The Londoners thumped Wycombe 5-2 last Saturday, and got their reward for a number of recent good performances. It was staggering to think they were winless in seven matches previously. Manager Uwe Rosler reverted to a diamond last weekend and it worked superbly, with the full-backs dashing forward at every opportunity creating lots of width.
Rosler does favour his bank of three in the midfield, which have kept the ball well the last couple of games. Striker Gary Alexander is hitting a sensational run of form, scoring 11 goals in as many matches, including the hat-trick against Wycombe. It must be remembered Brentford played superbly at Huddersfield two weeks ago and really attacked the Terriers at the Galpharm. They have started their last two games particularly well, and the hosts will find themselves under pressure early.
Bournemouth v Exeter, KO: Saturday 15:00, Match Odds: Bournemouth [1.76] Exeter [5.2], The Draw [3.8]
Watching Sky Sports News and their transfer deadline day countdown on Tuesday I was hoping for a mind blowing deal involving a League One side. Although I didn't get one that evening, 24 hours earlier Bournemouth had announced the signing of Crawley striker Matt Tubbs for a fee in the region of £800,000 . A staggering amount, and one that would have most certainly excited presenter Jim White had he received this stunning news.
Tubbs has been a prolific marksman, netting 58 goals in 78 appearances for the Sussex club. With another deadline deal for Huddersfield winger Donal McDermott, the Cherries have netted two excellent signings who could give them their push towards the play-offs. For promotion, they trade at [6.2].
Unfortunately Bournemouth lost 1-0 at Chesterfield last weekend, a game where they enjoyed plenty of possession but lacked a killer touch in the final third. Tubbs will give them that, and is sure to get plenty of service as the Cherries do create chances. Manager Lee Bradbury has enjoyed a good month, with three wins in January against Wycombe, Notts County and Tranmere.
Exeter landed the Under 2.5 Goals bet in each of their five games last month, and stopped Charlton playing and creating chances last weekend (narrowly losing 1-0). The Grecians keep clean sheets and play some good, tidy football. The negative is they don't score many, and their possession style will hopefully play into the hands of the hosts who have the extra bit of quality - especially with their new signings.
Scunthorpe v Walsall, KO: Saturday 15:00, Match Odds: Scunthorpe [2.14] Walsall [3.6], The Draw [3.6]
This game will undoubtedly be described by football pundits and journalists as a relegation six pointer. So I will do exactly the same, with both teams locked on 25 points at the foot of the table. Walsall are without a win in eight games, whilst Scunthorpe have just won just twice at home all season.
The Saddlers were very poor last Saturday in losing 1-0 to Notts County, a clash where they failed to retain possession and lost too many tackles and second balls. Manager Dean Smith has described his team as a side that 'at times does not want to lose, rather than go and win the game'. The draw stat would rather back up this statement.
The Iron have made three transfer signings including nomadic forward Jon Parkin. United could also have Christian Ribeiro, Damien Mozika and Cliff Byrne all back in contention from injuries, whilst Walsall have doubts over veterans Jimmy Walker and Jon Macken.
The visitors are the draw specialists (with eight in their last 10), and it might be a case where both teams will be too frightened to lose. The draw looks the most appealing prospect, with the chance of a dull first half to use a lay of the stake In Play.
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