Ian Lamont says Rotherham's defensive crisis makes Paul Tisdale's men a great bet to beat them. Injuries elsewhere could throw up other surprises, too
'Maybe Jamie Cureton’s 14th and 15th goals this season at Gillingham will inspire the consistency Exeter have been lacking to mount that concerted promotion push'
Exeter 2.568/5 v Rotherham 2.829/5 Draw 3.55/2
Steve Evans could be regretting his desire to 'want to be a part of it, New York', considering how high his old club Crawley are flying in League One. The Rotherham manager will surely have to draw on all those clichés he trotted out in Sussex about how adaptable his players were to different positions in emergencies. The difference now from then is that the Millers operate on a bigger budget and bigger expectations - factors that attracted Evans in the first place. Rarely can he have experienced a tougher defensive injury list. Ian Sharps has experience, but is not as mobile as of old, but is the only recognised and fit centre-back. The loan window closed on Thursday, giving Evans a headache. Did he try to haul in someone new, wait for Kari Arnason to be fit in a few weeks (Craig Morgan is also now out) or recall Johnny Mullins, player of the year last season, from Oxford? Midfielder Jason Taylor has been filling in at centre-back and further displacements include winger Luke Rooney fitting into central midfield. No wonder Evans feels he is putting out a reserve side.
Exeter, meanwhile, have come through what boss Paul Tisdale said would be their toughest test of the season - away games at Bradford and Gillingham - with full marks: six points. Maybe Jamie Cureton's 14th and 15th goals this season, in the hard-fought win at Priestfield, will inspire the consistency the Grecians have been lacking to mount that concerted promotion push. Cureton has six from the last six league games. That and Rotherham's problems make Exeter's win price too big.
Back Exeter to win @ 2.568/5
Dani Lopez really seems to have made an impact at Aldershot, with fans being invited to Tweet themselves "doing a Lopez", but their troubles are not over. The statistic of one defeat in seven is littered with draws, the odd defensive catastrophe (against Bradford) and a lack of goals overall. One negative is Lopez's two strikes in two games are Aldershot's only goals. On the positive side, Aldershot have only conceded four goals in six games, one of the division's best defensive records. They managed to hold on a long time for victory at Burton, after scoring on four minutes. Port Vale ought to be a tougher proposition than recent opponents. They broke their three-game draw sequence with a 4-0 destruction of patched-up Bristol Rovers in midweek. That celebrated their drawn-out takeover. Tom Pope rattling off another hat-trick and has 18 goals this season. If the hosts can keep him at bay they have a chance of a point.
Back Aldershot and Port Vale to draw @ 3.613/5
Fleetwood remain without Andy Mangan and Jon Parkin, leading some to point to a forwards' crisis. They have been missing both for three games, however, and have still scored six times. They appear to lack strength in attacking depth, but boss Micky Mellon says he expects anyone in the box to act like a striker. After a home defeat to Accrington, this represents a sticky patch for the Conference champions, especially at an in-form side. John Still's hosts have had a week's break and their form has picked up recently. Unbeaten at home in five, they have beaten Rotherham and Bradford in high-scoring games. But they need Still to find another gem after Dwight Gayle, scorer of eight this season, left on loan for Peterborough this week. Dagenham might just edge this one.
Back Dagenham @ 2.6613/8
With Northampton scoring three or more times in their last four games, it would not be the biggest surprise if they actually won at the Kassam, countering the big price to do so. Ade Akinfenwa has scored six goals in three straight league wins for the Cobblers. The reason they are worth the chance is that Oxford do not seem to be able to hold on to leads, having been ahead twice against resurgent Barnet (who are a massive 3.55 to win at Cheltenham), so I'll be looking for good odds in the over 3.5 goals market.