League One Tips: Addicks look vulnerable as favourites for Cheltenham trip

Charlton manager Johnnie Jackson
Johnnie Jackson's Charlton were defeated at Crewe in midweek

Alan Dudman previews Saturday's latest round of League One action and has four bets and the latest on Steve Evans leaving Gillingham...

"Only a point separates the two teams, and while the Londoners are somewhat weighted down by some of the results under Nigel Adkins, they have only won twice on the road all season and have conceded 23."

Back the draw @ 3.65 Cheltenham v Charlton

Addicks form is a worry

Cheltenham Town v Charlton Athletic
Saturday 15th January, kick-off 15:00

The wheels on the Johnnie Jackson express have come off slightly after a run of three straight defeats, and with Cheltenham in mind having lost 1-2 at the Valley earlier in the season, a loss for the Addicks would see them defeated in each of their first two games against an opponent in the Football League for the first time since against Stockport County in February 1998.

Rather worryingly they went down to Crewe on Wednesday night 2-1, a result not many would have predicted. The Alex may have won three of their last six, but they are beatable as a bottom three club. Jackson has been without leading frontman Jayden Stockley due to a hip complaint, but 18-year-old Academy graduate Mason Burstow (who had already notched in the FA Cup and EFL Trophy) made a name for himself in midweek with his first ever league goal at Crewe.

"I don't care how old you are - if you're doing the business then I'm going to take you seriously," said Charlton manager Jackson. "You are going to be in my thinking. He [Burstow] has done that and fair play to the kid." He could be pushing for a start considering the absence of Stockley and Jonathan Leko's recent poor display.

Only a point separates the two teams, and while the Londoners are somewhat weighed down by some of the results under Nigel Adkins, they have only won twice on the road all season and have conceded 23.

Cheltenham are winless in their last seven league games (D4 L3), last having a longer run without a win between September-November 2018 (9 games) but they have earned creditable 1-1
draws recently with Oxford and Burton. At their best they are dogged and resilient and play a certain way under Michael Duff with a tried and trusted system. The usual back five has been dealt a few blows recently with injuries and Covid absentees and he's had to use Kyle Joseph as a wing-back.

Chris Hussey was a surprise departure from the Johnny Rocks, but Duff has moved to bring in Aston Villa youngster Aaron Ramsey on loan and effectively comes in for Taylor Perry who has returned to Wolves following an injury-hit spell at the club.

The hosts have won five at home and played well in the 2-2 against Lincoln at Whaddon Road in mid-December. Charlton were exposed at set-plays against Crewe and only had a 20-minute spell in the game where they looked like their old self when Jackson was interim boss. The Addicks are too short for a side that have lost their last three and the draw makes a bit of appeal, especially as the hosts have five stalemates at home this term.

KEY OPTA STAT: Cheltenham won the first ever Football League meeting between themselves and Charlton in September 2-1, victory for the Robbins will see them win their first two Football League games against an opponent for the seventh time and first since Harrogate in May.

Lovell in for Evans, but don't expect goals

Gillingham v Burton Albion
Saturday 15th January, kick-off 15:00

Gillingham are winless in their last 10 league games (D4 L6), the longest current run without a victory in the division, and that run of form culminating in Saturday's 0-4 home loss to Ipswich was enough for chairman Paul Scally, and he relieved Steve Evans of his duties as manager.

The Scot was entertaining as always, but his enthusiasm wasn't enough. Their form has been horrendous for a while, and with the Kent outfit in the bottom two, they face a fight to stay in the division. The fiery Scot was slightly hamstrung by the budget at the club, and with the likes of Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich spending what they have, the gap is widening even in League One.

But for all that, they have scored only seven at the Priestfield all season and they have scored just two goals since mid-November. Steve Lovell, who was sacked by Gillingham two-and-a-half years ago has returned while the club ponder their next move in terms of a new boss. Former Bromley man Neil Smith has been linked, so has Michael Flynn - two former players.

Burton are winless in their last five away league games (D1 L4), while only bottom side Doncaster (6) have scored fewer goals on the road in League One this term than the Brewers (7). With that in mind and the lack of goals for the Gills, I am keen to explore the 0-0 Correct Score bet at around 12.011/1, coupled with an Under 2.5 bet.

KEY OPTA STAT: Burton Albion are unbeaten in each of their last five meetings with Gillingham in the Football League (W 2 D3), with each of the last two games ending 1-1.

Owls might be feeling the pressure

Sheffield Wednesday v Plymouth Argyle
Saturday 15th January, kick-off 15:00

Following the huge recruitment drive over the summer, marking Darren Moore's half-term report as manager at Hillsborough would probably rate a score of around 5/10.

They've hit the skids with one win in five in the league, and playing some of his squad out of position has halted any kind of progress. Theo Corbeanu was a prime example as a skillful winger utilised in a more defensive role, which clearly didn't make the Wolves youngster happy and he has since joined MK Dons - a place where he could flourish and see more of the ball. He started in midweek for Liam Manning's side in a 1-0 win against rival Wimbledon.

One wonders if Moore loses his next two games how much pressure will be ramped up. Especially with the recent 5-0 loss against Sunderland fresh in the memory.

The Owls have won just one of their last seven home EFL games against Plymouth (D3 L3), with that victory coming under Alan Irvine in January 2010 (2-1). Historically we have enough there to oppose the hosts, and Plymouth are looking to win three consecutive league games without conceding for the first time since September 2020 as they have recently seen off Charlton and Cheltenham with two clean sheets.

With Ryan Hardie and Luke Jephcott, they always have a goal in them, and with 20 on the road, this is a tricky game for the hosts and I am happy to take a punt on the visitors.

KEY OPTA STAT: Plymouth have won five of their last seven league games against Sheffield Wednesday (L2), including each of the last three in a row by an aggregate score of 10-4.

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