League Two Tips: Back Carlisle and Crawley to draw

Crawley's Red Devil mascot
The Sussex Red Devils of Crawley should be happy with an away point on Saturday

Carlisle can hold their Sussex visitors, who have some great away results, says Ian Lamont, who tips Salford City to come good away...

"Sutton could do well to take what for them could be a rare draw. Stevenage are used to those, having eight in total and five at home."

Away form gives Crawley draw chance

Carlisle 2.265/4 v Crawley 3.613/5; the draw 3.613/5

Crawley boss John Yems hailed the quality of Tom Nichols and said even though he might not have scored for a couple of games, people know his ability. Translation: he's not scored enough this season. Two goals in his last four games takes the former Exeter and Bristol Rovers man's tally to just three this season, from 15 starts.

Sam Matthews, replacing injured hit-man Kwesi Appiah, also came in for high praise after supplying Nichols with the goal that defeated Northampton on their own turf, something only two other sides have done this season.

The question is, can the Reds win a fourth game in a row for the first time since February 2018 (Opta state)? And can they maintain a top half of the table position? Yems was not a happy man after a pointless October.

But now they are defeated just once in seven games and have taken victories at Leyton Orient, Northampton and starting that period at Barrow. Carlisle is an equally long trip. It will hold no fears. The narrow away win has become something of a speciality for the Sussex club.

Re-signing Omari Patrick, from Burton, turned into a cut piece of business by Keith Millen, who was rewarded when the winger scored against a former club, Bradford. Fellow scorer Jordan Gibson announced he was going places - and nobody could stop him! Carlisle will not roll over. Millen's No 2 Gavin Skelton says new signings have raised the standard.

The Cumbrians have three wins in a row but against the inconsistent Bantams (rarely two wins in a row. A run of three back in August was the last time), and lowly Scunthorpe and Stevenage. Opta point out they have had three clean sheets, too - and the last time they won four in a row with clean sheets was 2008. Their tails are up and it will take a mighty effort for the visitors to pull off another away win. A draw seems about right.

Exiles can edge falling Harrogate

Newport 2.01/1 v Harrogate 4.57/2; the draw 3.711/4
12.30pm kick-off

The early kick-off, in front of no fans because of Welsh Covid restrictions, presents the Exiles with an excellent chance to press their promotion case. Harrogate are experiencing "second season syndrome", falling away after a good start this campaign, after a fine first one.

James Rowberry's men bumped into a surging Salford side last weekend. Dom Telford will be desperate to help the team and find his scoring touch again having netted 16 times already this season. Courtney Baker-Richardson has some catching up to do with just six goals!

However, he won't mind as long as the side from South Wales keep winning. I say "keep winning", but they have just one point from three games. They are much better than that though. Moaning that they don't have the "extra man the crowd brings" won't help. No fan has ever scored a goal.

The hosts have to stop conceding - no clean sheets in nine - which is presumably why they have strengthened at the back with Coventry City's centre-back Josh Park.

Harrogate lost Connor Hall to Port Vale this week, but signed Leon Legge from the Valiants to replace him. Boss Simon Weaver was frustrated at times with his charges in the 4-0 FA Cup exit to Luton. They have also not won in three games, and only have one clean sheet in 12 games.

They had an absolutely stunning result at Portsmouth in the FA Cup second round. But I think Luke Armstrong and Jack Diamond, who both scored that day, are going to have to be at their best to win here, or even gain a result. Opta point out that in their short EFL history, Harrogate have not yet lost four in a row. This could be the day.

Sutton should earn something as Stevenage improve

Stevenage 2.89/5 v Sutton 2.6413/8; the draw 3.711/4

Opta say that Stevenage are looking at losing both league games in a season to a newly-promoted side for the first time since 2020, when they lost to Salford. That was Sutton's first EFL win. Now, Boro have won for the first time under new boss Paul Tisdale - and the last time they won two in a row was the first two games of the season.

Sutton's Richie Bennett scored twice when these sides met in September, but he hasn't scored a league goal since. David Ajiboye has taken over the biggest mantle, scoring six, while several other players have scored four for Matt Gray's men, who must be cockahoop sitting in fourth place.

Meanwhile, have Stevenage found a new lease of life and new gears under Tisdale, the former Exeter and Milton Keynes boss? One win and two draws in the six League Two games since his appointment mean some progress has been made, but isn't much to go on. They have only actually scored in two of those games. Their last match reaped three goals against inconsistent Walsall.

Michael Bostick, on loan from Burton, went straight into the line-up, while midfielder Ed Upson had to wait for his chance off the bench, having also signed - from Newport - last week.

A few more could come in for the weekend. Sutton could do well to take what for them could be a rare draw. Stevenage are used to those, having eight in total and five at home.

Manager stats point to Ammies win

Bradford 2.26/5 v Salford 3.814/5; the draw 3.613/5

According to Opta, this appears to be a tale of two managers. Derek Adams, the Bradford boss, has won just once against the Ammies in his three games against them. And his opposite number Gary Bowyer has won against the Bantams three times since losing to them for the first time, in August 2017.

Salford, always pre-season favourites, have not exactly set League Two alight since winning promotion from non-league. And they need to up their away wins to start making a proper impression on the promotion picture.

Their fine run of five wins, three draws and a defeat from nine have given them a great launchpad for the second half of the season. They held Tranmere, who had won six in a row, on Tuesday night, Remi Oteh giving them a lead as they sought a third straight win. Tyreik Wright and Matty Lund also went close. Could Brandon Thomas-Asante add to his five for the season, matching Lund's?

Bradford won't like hearing they could be beaten, again, especially after six draws (and only two wins) in their past 10 league games. They are behind the curve if they want to make a promotion push.

Defeat at Carlisle last week was a case in point. Forwards Andy Cook and Lee Angol need to demand more service if their team is to rise.

P/L 2021-22

League Two +3pt
FA Cup +18.8pt

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