If Barnet are to complete a remarkable climb from the bottom to survive in League Two they must win at Grimsby and Ian Lamont backs them to do it, as well as Exeter to halt Accrington's promotion party, temporarily...
"Gareth Ainsworth’s men are fresh after not playing since Easter Monday. Scott Kashket has returned from injury and the Chairboys could do with someone taking the pressure off top scorer Bayo Akinfenwa, who has had another great season in League Two."
Hosts' lack of goals a worry for Jolley
Boss Michael Jolley must be delighted with Grimsby's first win in 21 games, achieved against survival rivals Chesterfield. But that statistic alone shows how offshore the Mariners have paddled: one win in the second half of the season is the reason they have sunk so low in League Two.
They have an ugly run in. Survival could come down to their final game against Forest Green Rovers, at the New Lawn where Mark Cooper's men have earned 29 of their 40 points.
Jolley said Mitch Rose, who scored the late winner on Saturday, and JJ Hooper have dealt well with "constructive feedback" from the crowd in recent weeks. Certainly, your top scorer shouldn't have only notched six goals by April. In seven of their past 12 games, the hosts have failed to score. In fact in 18 games since Boxing Day, they have scored eight times (one each in eight games) and conceded 34.
Beating Chesterfield was a step in the right direction, Jolley has said in a letter to fans and directors this week, but they can take nothing for granted as they claw away from the relegation zone inch by inch. He believes their current haul of 41 points won't be enough to stay up and I believe he will be right.
Three of Grimsby's previous four results at Blundell park were draws, one with another late goal by James Berrett.
However, Barnet will feel this game is there for the taking. Martin Allen said they needed four wins and a draw from their final six games to stay up - and they have suffered the allowable defeat. As they are five points short of Grimsby (and four points short of current safety behind Forest Green) a draw here would put them in the last chance saloon. They have other relegation rivals to face - Morecambe and Chesterfield - and a winnable home game with Newport after this match.
Despite Grimsby's lack of goals, a goalless draw seems in doubt: Barnet have only one of that score this season, while the Bees have scored in 13 of their past 18 matches, but only have three clean sheets. Still, there have not been a lot of goals per game: 14 for and 29 against.
For Barnet, two wins in four is a start for a turnaround and they are off the bottom of the league, not least through John Akinde's penalties (having missed one also), and Alex Nicholls finding five goals in Barnet's last 13 games.
Allen coyly suggested after beating Forest Green he didn't know his team were playing Grimsby next - but you'd bet he knew which teams he'd be facing when he took the job on. The London side have lost five of their last six games away, mostly against easily better teams, but Grimsby's lack of goals gives the visitors every chance.
Grecians' strong away record can earn vital point
Party poopers. That's how most people have felt about Accrington Stanley in the recent past: not quite good enough to win anything, but capable of denting the ambitions of others (and always good for being the butt of a milk-based joke).
Now the boot is on the other foot. They've become the cream of League Two, sitting on top after seven straight wins. Midfielder Sean McConville says they are determined not only to secure promotion this weekend but do so by beating Exeter because they lost at St James' Park earlier in the season. A draw won't do. That would mean that Lincoln and Exeter, as well as Luton and Wycombe, could still finish above them.
The fact they are on the cusp of League One is the reason they are odds-on to another team in form, which gives us every incentive to look for reasons to oppose them. To be honest they are quite slim, what with Billy Kee leading the division's top scorers with 22 goals and Kayden Jackson scoring 14 too, putting him in the top dozen marksmen. Promotion would be McConville's "greatest achievement" in football, as it would manager John Coleman's.
Paul Tisdale's Exeter have had injuries, with Robbie Simpson, having come back from an ankle injury, scoring against Cheltenham but being removed after the first half in the win at Cambridge with another complaint, giving Matt Jay the chance to come on and finally score his first Grecians' goal. Ryan Harley, Lee Holmes and Kyle Edwards are short term injuries but doubtful.
Christy Pym in goal might have his work cut out keeping a clean sheet, as will opposite number Aaron Chapman. Exeter's past four games have seen them score 10 and concede seven, while Accrington's been low scoring.
The visitors, however, must be keen to avoid the play-offs again and do have a decent chance of grabbing the third automatic promotion place. But Lincoln and Notts County will want it too and Exeter will do everything possible to earn something here. It is tempting to lay the hosts at the price. But even if Accrington take the lead Exeter have scored five goals in the last 15 minutes of their past four games, so 15-goal Jayden Stockley, Jordan Moore-Taylor and co are more than capable of coming back and nabbing a draw.
Accrington's promotion can wait until Tuesday's home game with Yeovil.
Wycombe's away form too gr-eight for Yeovil
Scott Kashket could have returned just at the right time for Wycombe - and the injury-prone forward scoring a goal against Grimsby puts icing on the cake.
Gareth Ainsworth's men are fresh after not playing since Easter Monday and could do with someone taking the pressure off top scorer Bayo Akinfenwa, who has had another great season in League Two and has earned promotion from this division twice already. One wonders if he'll be back at this level if Wycombe are promoted.
And for that to happen the Chairboys have to keep winning. An unbeaten six-game run of three wins and three draws is enhanced by the fact that, away, they have won six in an unbeaten eight-game run.
Dominic Gape received the plaudits for driving the team from midfield against Grimsby and another performance like that is required at Yeovil, who are remarkably inconsistent. Beating Coventry 6-2 was followed by a 3-0 defeat at home to Luton when two players clearly got over excited and got sent off early on. Francois Zoko is suspended for four games when Ryan Dickson only had to sit out Tuesday's draw at Swindon.
Recently, Darren Way's side have been good away but they have lost three straight at home, the others to Newport and Carlisle and all three without scoring. There is the possibility of a 0-0 draw, because the Glovers have four of them including two in 10 games and Wanderers have six of them including two in three games. However, I think the visitors' desire to keep themselves in the top three will ensure an away win.
Check out the urgent need for Imps to win
As with Wycombe, it seems an age since Lincoln last played a league game, but in their case they have had the excitement of winning the Checkatrade Trophy at Wembley.
Boss Danny Cowley knows from previous experience that a trophy win - even a minor one in most people's eyes - gives a team a fresh confidence. Now, he hopes the Imps can make the most of their games in hand to close the gap to third place, currently seven points.
Unfortunately, after Saturday, they have four games against promotion rivals - starting with Wycombe. Then they finish at Yeovil who should be safe from relegation by then.
So Elliot Whitehouse, 24. will need to keep to his special daily stretching regime his team-mates tease him about in order to keep his limbs loose. He's worked his way into the side that has four wins and two draws in their most recent six League Two games, putting them second in the form book. Matt Green has struck three of his 13 goals in those games, while Ollie Palmer has waded in with two and seems to be a useful option from the bench.
Lincoln's squad can't fail to have noted that Cowley and his brother seem to get linked to any managerial vacancy going. The best way - perhaps the only way - is to secure promotion one way or another. Victory seems imperative seeing as they face Colchester, Coventry and Accrington in the coming weeks.
Port Vale have been boosted by the return from injury of striker Tom Pope, who has since topped up his goal tally to 16 with two in as many matches. The Valiants have drawn six of their most recent 10 matches but only won once. Scoring against the better teams in that run (Newport, Exeter and Wycombe) seems to have been a problem.
Lincoln should be another team to keep them at bay. It might not be pretty as the Imps recover from their Wembley excursions, but the visitors should take three points, especially with Neil Aspin's men being all but safe from relegation.
FA Cup +14.21pt