League Two Betting: Morecambe can add to Cambridge pain

Derek Adams, manager of Morecambe
Derek Adams is still reshaping his Morecambe squad

The Shrimps have fallen to the bottom of League Two but were always capable of grabbing the odd win to stay afloat, says Ian Lamont, who also tips Crawley and Grimsby to draw...

"Four points from eight games and not scoring in half of them has to be a major concern for Cambridge. In that period, their only win came against Morecambe, 1-0 at home, featuring also their only clean sheet."

If Adams brings his new family together, Shrimps have hope

Morecambe 2.89/5 v Cambridge 2.89/5; the draw 3.55/2

Under Jim Bentley, Morecambe gave other teams a bloody nose from time to time, were never destined to worry the promotion cause but won a match every so often to keep themselves out of the relegation mire. As much as they looked in mid-table safety at times, they always seemed to drop to close to the bottom, but always survived.

Nothing has really changed under Derek Adams, who had wonderful success with Plymouth in taking them out of League Two from the top. He won't want a relegation on his CV.

Still, post-Bentley, the Shrimps win periodically like a swimmer coming up for air. Is it a coincidence of the stars aligning that they beat a team? Like when Newport were out of form? Or a case of picking their battles?

Facing Cambridge, surely, is a time to maximise their efforts for a battle. Cole Stockton must be relishing the chance to find some opportunities against a side who conceded four times against then bottom team Stevenage last week.

Adams was disappointed to lose 4-1 at Northampton, with the visitors failing to take chances. He says he hasn't finished revamping his squad yet. Perhaps all those new faces - Burnley's Adam Phillips and Ryan Cooney plus Jordan Slew among them - just hadn't had time to gell.

They say don't approach a wounded animal. And Cambridge will be licking their wounds after that drubbing. Colin Calderwood won't stand for another "calamitous" performance, I am sure, but it does seem the U's are spiralling downwards.

Four points from eight games and not scoring in half of them has to be a major concern. Their only win came against Morecambe, 1-0, featuring also their only clean sheet.

It's true that they have faced some tough opposition. But away from home are their biggest headaches. They have not scored in four of their past five away games, taking two points, mind, one from a goalless draw.

There were worries the U's were going to let the season peter out. They can't afford to. Signing midfielder Idris El Mizouni on loan from Ipswich is the first sign they are not prepared to let it happen.

I would think Calderwood believes he is owed a performance and some goals by everyone from Jack Roles, on loan from Tottenham, and another 20-year-old Harvey Knibbs, to the more seasoned hands such as Sam Smith (who has seven) and midfielder Paul Lewis. Both have scored just once since November. This could be one of those rare win days for Morecambe, to start sucking Cambridge into the dogfight.

Exiles can prove they are back in form

Leyton Orient 3.02/1 v Newport 2.6613/8; the draw 3.55/2

Back a team in form? Are the Exiles sufficiently in form? They are more so than Stevenage, who might have been considered for another victory on the back of their two non-league imports performing so well, plus the arrival of proven Simeon Jackson, were it not for the fact they are facing rampant points collectors Plymouth. Who knows? The Pilgrims might throw in a rare draw.

Having marked Newport down the other week for under-performance, perhaps their form over autumn is turning out to be exactly that. I am still looking back with incredulity on how they managed to secure that play-off place last May, from a long way out, albeit on a hugely inferior goal difference to their rivals.

They might be in a similar position this May, goals wise, but they followed up a surprise win at Scunthorpe with an even bigger one over leaders Swindon at Rodney Parade, where they had only lost twice, it should be reiterated.

Boss Micky Flynn, as ever, is full of confidence in his side. Joe Ledley, 32, an international who wants to play for Wales in Euro 2020, could fall into his lap. He's training with them while he "tries to find a new club".

Flynn was delighted with how new boys Jordan Green (loan, Barnsley) and defender Ashley Baker, signed for 18 months, settled in and battled against Swindon.

And now for the bizarre...Padraig Amond hopes to be back after injuring a hip flexor muscle taking off a boot! I've known a 70-year-old to pull a back muscle while putting on cricket trousers, but that's incredible for a very fit pro athlete.

Anyway, Newport need to improve their away form - there was a big old run of losses before winning at Stevenage - and I still have severe doubts of Leyton Orient. I shouldn't perhaps, because they did hold the Exiles to a 1-1 draw at the end of December, conceding in the 81st minute after scoring with just two on the clock. Ruel Sotiriou, 19, who netted his second in two games that day, was then sent on loan to Dover and the Orient have only scored two goals in four games since.

With Lee Angol and Josh Wright scoring, I suppose those two draws - both at home - are not to be sniffed at. But with two wins, six draws and six losses at Brisbane Road - and conceding at least once in each of their last seven games - it is easy to make the visitors favourites. More so than their price suggests. Oh and they've only won once in 14 league games. I trust Newport to continue their upward curve.

Home comforts and away injuries could balance out

Crawley 2.26/5 v Grimsby 4.03/1; the draw 3.55/2

The nine teams who have changed managers this season - some more than once - sit in the bottom 10 of League Two. Two of them meet at the Broadfield.

The cynic could argue, then, that manager switches haven't really done most of those teams any good: they are still climbing over each other to avoid the one relegation place. That's a simplistic overview of course.

Crawley clearly weren't exciting enough under Gabriele Cioffi for the Reds' board. Has John Yems improved them? Two wins, five draws and two defeats isn't bad, but isn't going to push for the play-offs. Hence the hovering in 10th from bottom.

Which Crawley will fans get? The one that denied Forest Green chances in the FA Cup replay and 1-1 league draw and created enough chances through Bez Lubula's supply line and Pan Camara's industry to win, or the one described as "diabolical" by Yems at Walsall in defeat last weekend?

The evidence suggests they are much more likely to win at home (they have seven draws away and one win), where they are capable of beating the likes of Bradford, like last time out, via a brace by former Mariner Ollie Palmer. Northampton, another side who have showed recent prowess, were dismissed 4-0, Nathan Ferguson scoring that day.

But having drawn at Grimsby a few weeks ago, it will be interesting to see how they can hold off the Ian Holloway revival. The former Blackpool boss was appointed after they last met and his team have since won twice - beating Salford and Mansfield - drawn at Leyton Orient and lost at Exeter.

Holloway, say local observers, has put the fun factor back into the Cleethorpes club. The visitors have a lengthy injury and suspension list. Dannie Bulman, for the hosts, will still have his work cut out stopping the supply line to Billy Clarke, James Hanson and Charles Vernam, but I am willing to take a punt on a repeat of that 1-1 draw at 7.413/2 in the correct score market.

P/L 2019-20


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