Promotion hopes Rochdale will seek goals after two 3-0 reverses, as will hosts Bristol Rovers who are threatened with relegation, says Ian Lamont who also expects Mansfield to win...
"If you think nerves are on edge at Rochdale who are flying high, then the Pirates have lost their sea legs totally."
Crisis? What crisis? That was Keith Hill's understandable reaction after one 3-0 defeat to Mansfield. A second, to Southend, followed. Nerves have begun to jangle, Hill admitted.
Both those opponents have been in form of late. And if you think nerves are on edge at Rochdale who are flying high, then the Pirates have lost their sea legs totally. They now separated from the bottom two by goal difference.
The timing of Darrell Clarke's promotion to manager - something the club said was 'always going to happen' to replace John Ward who has moved upstairs - seems astonishing. One win has been achieved since Rovers made that seisemic change. Perhaps the board thought the Pirates were safe. Or perhaps they felt they were not and dressed up the sacking of John Ward as a restructure.
Showing 'pride in the shirt' is simply not good enough.
Losing Danny Woodards and Michael Smith to injury won't help the cause, but Matt Harrold scoring twice in the first half against Portsmouth is some sort of good start. They now need to show the sort of fight Portsmouth are displaying to arrest the alarming slide. Whether he got the 'fans back on side' is another matter, but scoring twice in an away game for the first time this season is not a bad beginning.
Now he needs to get dropped John-Joe O'Toole back in the mood. The striker has netted 10 of his 13 goals at the Memorial Stadium this season.
Both sides in need of a fillip, so expect a battle royal and over 2.5 goals at 2.26/5.
Back over 2.5 goals @ 2.26/5
'I wouldn't bet on a team at the top against a team at the bottom at this point of the season' I overheard someone say at the non-league game on Saturday as half-times came up on the clubhouse telly. That was well before Sunderland beat Chelsea.
Similarly, odds-on for the likes of Fleetwood to face Wycombe who are battle hardened after their battling draw with Northampton. Fleetwood did win at Cheltenham, from behind, but a few days before were held at home by Morecambe.
Antoni Sarcevic netted his 13th of the season and for the third game in a row on Friday, so will be in the mood to finish the season strongly and potentially help Graham Alexander achieve that top three finish he so thought was possible two games ago.
Wycombe showed spirit against Northampton, but have had six blanks in front of goal in nine games and should struggle to find a way through Fleetwood's sound defence. Should. But Matt McClure and Max Kretzschmar might have other ideas as Wycombe desperately need the points. Likewise Scunthorpe are no value to back at home to Oxford, especially with the vocal web-savvy types not thinking too much of Russ Willcox.
Expect the unexpected, as savvy contrarian and fellow Betfair blogger Gary Boswell would insist.
Lay Fleetwood @ 1.910/11
Sometimes you just have to go with your gut feeling. Unfortunately I've tipped Torquay several times and the time I didn't they won at big odds. The presumption on Bury is based on more substance, perhaps, than the Gulls have shown of late.
The Shakers have scored twice or more in four games running and have lost just one in eight away games having shown vast improvement since David Flitcroft took the reins. Daniel Nardiello even says he has not given up hope of reaching the play-offs. It seems stretching the imagination to think seven points can be made up with three games to go, but if that is a serious ambition there is no better place to start than against York.
The Minstermen are 14 unbeaten with a tremendous record of conceding just three times in that run. However, they have scored just 14 goals - and four in one - notching more than one just twice. This suggests a 'don't lose at all costs' stance, which therefore becomes a vulnerable one if an opponent can prise them open. Do Tom Soares and Hallam Hope possess the quality to do so and retain their places in Flitcroft's fold next season.
Positive vibes could attract better players for next season, says Jamie Hoyland. That, never mind the play-offs, ought to inspire a torrid time for the York defence. Nobody really expects Bury to make the play-offs: it is just the sort of scenario which inspires players trying to show their worth as a club plans for next season. Bury are worth the risk and have shortened from an initial 3.65.
Back Bury @ 3.39/4
We've reached the stage of the season where the layers are shortening the odds on those who need to win - Fleetwood, Scunthorpe, Southend, Chesterfield.
But this season has been one of the tightest possible and that means many an odds-against price when there really should be odds-on. Take Mansfield.
Considering they have 32 points in the calendar year, one defeat in 10 matches and four clean sheets in six games, Stags fans might feel insulted at a 2.35/4 quote, not 2.111/10: aggrieved in one sense, but delighted in another as they can take advantage of a decent price.
Paul Cox's side can count themselves unlucky that they drew at Accrington, who scored in the 90th minute or beyond for the third game running and 12th time this season, in denying them would have been a nice 3.02/1 gamble. Home form has been pretty decent with the last time out defeating Rochdale 3-0 with goals from Matt Rhead rediscovering his scoring touch. Sam Clucas could do with striking two more for 10 this season, to continue his development.
Cheltenham seem to be feeling sorry for themselves, ruing 34 points they feel they have dropped this season after reaching the play-offs last season. They do, at least, usually end up on the scoresheet, even if seven games have reaped just five points.
Wagered: 168 points
Returned: 131.74 points
FA Cup +5.1pt