League Two Betting: Back Oldham under new boss Scholes
The Latics look a good bet in Paul Scholes' second game in charge, says Ian Lamont, who also tips Cambridge and, surprisingly, Morecambe for success...
"Cambridge performed well in the first half against Port Vale, but energy levels tailed off. The manager, however, was pleased because it showed the players were putting in maximum effort."
Boundary Park can celebrate with new boss
Oldham [2.3] v Crewe [3.3]; the draw [3.6]
It's been an open secret, but - now the legalities of owning 10 per cent of Salford City and also managing elsewhere are agreed by the Football League - Paul Scholes has taken charge of Oldham.
How good will he be at management? Some high profile ex-pros, like Dion Dublin and Jamie Carragher, are quite happy with the pundit's roll which was a surprise route for Scholes who rarely gave interviews while he played for Manchester United. There we were thinking he didn't like the limelight.
So he's not used to being in the verbal firing line for questions. Coaching wise, he's taken charge of helping at United and then at Salford, for a short caretaker period. Like Frank Lampard, this is his first real experience. It's not something you want to do on a whim.
He'll find it hard graft, organising different teams because the Latics can't afford what United can in terms of personnel. He has already commented on the ramshackle nature of training, describing it as "more like a soccer school than a first team". This isn't Carrington, Mr Scholes.
Oldham were not doing too badly before Frankie Bunn was fired in the light of a 6-0 reverse. They were actually a form team to that point.
They won the next two, over Port Vale and Notts County, but have then stalled with a draw against Forest Green followed by defeats to Macclesfield and Milton Keynes.
Victory at Crawley began to restore vague hopes of a play-off position. I wonder if Zak Dearnley's arrival on loan from United had anything to do with Scholes' eventual arrival? He made an instant impact, scoring at the Broadfield. Callum Lang and Chris O'Grady definitely needs some support up front.
Crewe would have been a tough assignment at Gresty Road, where they have 10 wins. But away from home their record is far from great.
Belatedly, the Railwaymen are seemingly thinking about a promotion push of their own. They sit pretty much level with their visitors.
Five wins and a draw in six unbeaten, including two away wins, show they have the ability. Jordan Bowery and Chris Porter need to get into double figures pretty quick to help Dave Artell's side achieve anything this season.
With the visitors eager to impress and the hosts scoring in all eight of their last nine games (including their last four at home) there should also be goals in this game. Former midfielder Scholes will appreciate the Opta stat that Oldahm have scored the most goals from outside the box in League Two this season (10), including the last two.
Grimsby are fully recovered from cup exit
Grimsby [2.34] v Cheltenham [3.5]; the draw [3.6]
It took Grimsby a little while to recover from their FA Cup exit to Crystal Palace - injuries and suspensions afterwards included. Now, they have three straight wins with one goal conceded.
New face Kristian Dennis got off the mark against Yeovil, against whom Wes Thomas confirmed his form with a second strike in three games, the first against Milton Keynes, bringing a second victory over them this season.
Michael Jolley has set his side the challenge of keeping their foot to the floor to get to the standards of consistency he requires. And he knows they will be well backed at Blundell Park.
Consistency of selection has certainly helped, keeper James McKeown returning from suspension being the only change last weekend in their 3-1 win. Dennis will be pushing for a starting spot.
A 3-0 reverse at Colchester, said Michael Duff, was the worst he had witnessed since taking change in late August.
Alex Addai will probably still be out, and Tyrone Barnett will be too. But there's good news. A key performance will earn a player a food voucher with a well-known restaurant chain - a new sponsor!
More seriously, the Robins haven't scored in three away games - losing them all - emphasise Opta, after netting four in the previous trip, at Yeovil. Their worst recent run is six on the trot, in April 2012 There should be another home win in the offing here.
Calderwood can take advantage of Tranmere's travel sickness
Cambridge United [2.5] v Tranmere [3.1]; the draw [3.6]
Four wins and two defeats in six have lifted Cambridge clear of the relegation zone, for now, but it seems Colin Calderwood's influence is paying off. Opta point out that their record of four wins from their last five is as many as they took in their previous 20 league games.
The U's performed well in the first half against Port Vale, but energy levels tailed off. The manager, however, was pleased because it showed the players were putting in maximum effort and not thinking just of themselves but of the squad. One of his recruits, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, on loan from Aston Villa, had to be pulled in the second half.
And that gave people on the bench the chance to show what they could do, including loanee Jake Doyle-Hayes who came on for his debut.
Keeper Dimi Mitov kept his first clean sheet since making the team and made some fine stops, including from hot-shot Tom Pope. However, he will probably find he has to save a lot more from James Norwood, League Two's top scorer, when Tranmere come knocking at the Abbey.
The striker already has 20 league goals, seven of them away, where Rovers' form has been indifferent. They have lost six of their last eight away games, conceding 21 goals, point out Opta. They had a tough assignment last time out, at Mansfield, and lost 3-0. However before that they won at Cheltenham but could only draw at Macclesfield.
Micky Mellon will expect better but with Calderwood demanding more of his players such as David Amoo and Jevani Brown, the U's might have enough to win.
New boys in form for Morecambe
Port Vale [2.1] v Morecambe [4.1]; the draw [3.6]
It is difficult to know which team is in worse shape, the hosts or the visitors. Both are near the bottom of the six-game form table as well as League Two.
Morecambe have a habit of popping up with a win every so often to keep their feet from getting wet in the relegation zone. However, they are now winless in eight, although they at least secured four draws in that sequence.
Positives Jim Bentley took from the 3-2 defeat at in-form Bury included Richie Bennett's second goal in as many starts since his loan move from Carlisle and Accrington loanee Piero Mingoia's man-of-the-match worthy debut.
New Valiants boss John Askey has had the week to work on his players, and he'll be looking to solve the mystery of how Tom Pope scored a bunch of goals after Neil Aspin's appointment last season, but after a good start has only scored once in seven games since mid-December. He's on eight for the season.
Taking a punt on the away side's large price as a long shot might be worth it.
Back Oldham @ [2.3] to beat Crewe
Back Grimsby @ [2.34] to beat Cheltenham
Back Cambridge United @ [2.5] to beat Tranmere
Back Morecambe @ [4.1] to beat Port Vale