League Two Betting: Back Cheltenham to find their scoring feet

Ryan Lowe, Plymouth Argyle manager
Ryan Lowe needs his Plymouth Argyle side to show their promotion credentials

Michael Duff's men should be able to see off a partially revived Oldham, says Ian Lamont, while Colchester can take victory too...

"There's no doubt the Latics have improved in some ways, scoring two goals per game in their victories, plus winning at Newport. But I think hosts Cheltenham, having dropped out of the play-off places, will have the desire to gain the edge."

Robins can sing against Latics

Cheltenham 2.35/4 v Oldham 3.711/4; the draw 3.55/2

League Two remains incredibly hard to call: Cheltenham are one of the biggest riddles. Do they want to maintain a promotion push or not? That's the question manager Michael Duff must be asking his players after yet another failure to win.

One victory in ten games - seven draws - is not the form of a team about to maintain its apparent push for promotion. The Robins have been frozen out of the top seven for the first time in what seems like forever.

That one win in ten, at Mansfield, was the only match in which they scored more than once. They mostly score once. Five of those seven draws have been 1-1.

Points at Northampton and Newport in the past week are not to be sniffed at. You can make a case that many of the recent points have been good ones. But overall a team with ambitions has to turn those into wins.

Keeper Scott Flinders, says Duff, hardly had anything to do in the past two games. Now they have a chance to show their home support they are serious, possibly with a new signing. Duff says a new face is due a medial by the end of this week. Ben Tozer played well in midfield instead of defence, while Tahvon Campbell made his first appearance since August after injury, which has to be a bonus.

Luke Varney and Ryan Broom, as top scorers, have a little to find on the divisional leaders, while two negatives are that Alex Addai is suspended and Gavin Reilly has returned to parent club Bristol Rovers.

Duff admits to being frustrated by draws. Dino Maamria would probably settle for one to calm the nerves after winning and losing in equal measure in the past four games.

Having suggested that there was more to come from his "steadily improving" squad after his side's wins over Crawley and Morecambe, then watched them lose 4-1 to Salford and then 2-0 Scunthorpe.

There's no doubt the Latics have improved in some ways, scoring two goals per game in their victories, plus winning at Newport. Zac Mills scored in the win at Newport, Desire Segbe Azankpo has scored twice recently. But I think the hosts, having dropped out of the play-off places, will have the desire to gain the edge.

Opta have an interesting stat: Cheltenham, with Salford, have the League Two highest headed goals, nine each. Does that mean defenders from set pieces? It won't matter if it brings three points.

Plymouth need to find a way to pinch a goal

Scunthorpe 2.6413/8 v Plymouth 2.915/8; the draw 3.613/5

Is it a positive or negative that Plymouth, point out Opta, have 15 different goalscorers this season (aside from own goals), which is a divisional high?

In some senses it has to be an advantage, being opponents don't know who to prioritise to prevent goals. On the other hand, there's no real fulcrum to feed with a sense of surety that you'll score.

It shouldn't be Antoni Sarcevic, a midfielder, who leads with five. Dom Telford has had another injury set-back, Rhys Murphy has been linked from local rivals Yeovil Town, while Tyreek Bakinson, the Bristol City midfielder, is expected to travel north for this trip, after completing a loan move.

Murphy has scored 17 goals in 24 league games this season and seems exactly the sort of player the Pilgrims need. He has plenty of league experience down the years, too.

Ryan Lowe's men can't afford to lose more ground on the top seven, having succumbed to the league leaders on New Year's Day. They have proved capable in recent weeks of pinching 1-0 away wins, at Cheltenham and Forest Green, but strangely losing at Cambridge. Otherwise, their overall form is string, scoring in all but one of their past seven games, winning five, four at home.

Lowe says there will "definitely" be a new signing ready for the game. If Bakinson, as seems likely, is it, supporters will hope he can score goals.

Scunthorpe got themselves back on track with a win over Oldham, after two defeats, Abo Eisa taking manager Paul Hurst's main plaudit. The boss says the Iron don't need wholesale change but a few tweaks in January. The first piece of business has been confirmed, with Junior Brown, on loan from Coventry City, staying at Glanford Park.

Chairman Peter Swann is bullish, saying any arrivals would be seen as "support" rather than strengthening, because there's "nothing out there" that he would want to replace his players with. Really? Not Eion Doyle, coveted somewhere between Bradford and Swindon? His signature wouldn't be likely, of course. He's just playing things cool and defending his manager and team.

Plymouth haven't drawn in 10, point out Opta. Which could mean they are due one. But I think they might just have the nous to eek out another slim victory. This is a real test of their new-found climbing table abilities and confidence. It's a big call, but I'm going to make it. Don't expect too many goals. Under 2.5 goals at 2.111/10 looks an attractive side bet.

Kennedy can be tamed by McGreal's men on the march

Stevenage 3.211/5 v Colchester 2.56/4; the draw 3.412/5

What difference has Graham Westley made in the few weeks he has been back at Boro for his fourth spell? For one thing, he seems to have inspired Ben Kennedy. The midfielder says he wants to get his life and career back on track and believes Westley can get the best out of him.

Opta point out that Kennedy has failed to score with any of his 30 shots this season and only one player, Mansfield's Malvind Benning, has struck more (31) without scoring.

Westley certainly needs to get a lot out of a dilapidated squad if he is going to rescue their Football League status by injecting them with the confidence to win.

His first game in full charge was a goalless draw at home to Forest Green - high flying but at this stage low scoring. Next, they lost 2-1 at Plymouth, who are on a role. Then, they were defeated by Northampton, who are also hotly pursuing a top seven spot, but again without scoring.

Now come Colchester, with a healthy away scoring record of 17-13 and only three defeats on the road. Five draws give the hosts an inkling of a chance. However, John McGreal's men have knocked up a run of 10 games unbeaten, five of them wins, netting 19 times (three clean sheets).

Harry Pell, Luke Norris, Theo Robinson and Frank Nouble are enjoying taking their chances in front of goal. They were left frustrated by the draw at Crawley. They, like their chairman Robbie Cowling, should be feeling optimistic this new year, on the cusp of a top three place. They are likely to leave the Lamex in even happier mood.

Opta point out that Stevenage, who have only won twice, have failed to score in 13 games. Surely a killer stat against a rampant U's, whether they have a new manager or not.

P/L 2019-20

-9.18pt

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