Ian Lamont starts his regular look at the League Two action with tonight's clash between Cheltenham and Morecambe, and also taking in the games at Gillingham, Exeter and Chesterfield
"Whatever Martin Allen is doing, it seems to be working as the Gills, as Opta emphasise, have only dropped points against Chesterfield (a 1-1 draw)."
Cheltenham 2.01/1 Morecambe 4.3100/30 Draw 3.711/4
Friday night games often produce results against the book in my experience and this really would be one if Morecambe could land a victory. But one look at the Robins' form confirms there is a strong argument to lay Mark Yates' men at the short price. Their last home win, against a strangely equally out of form Oxford, shines a good light on their other results at Whaddon Road in September, defeats to Southend and Accrington. Add in three draws and a win away this season - with only three wins in total - and it hardly adds up to odds of 2.01/1. In fact it rather makes last season's play-off final defeat look like a millstone.
The Shrimps, in truth, look little better overall, but do have two 3-0 away wins, at Bristol Rovers and Exeter, to give them confidence. They have only lost once away and have Kevin Ellison to cut teams open on the break - a favoured tactic on the road. If Jack Redshaw (dead leg) passes a fitness test, it will increase their chances. Lay the hosts.
Lay Cheltenham at 2.01/1
Gillingham 1.824/5 Rochdale 4.77/2 Draw 3.9
I can't be backing Fleetwood at 1.444/9 to beat Barnet. They should win, but that's no value. But as the Bees have not even a goal and no points on the road, I might just double Fleetwood with Gillingham. The Gills were not even undone by the manager of the month curse, Martin Allen's men marching on to a significant 2-0 win at Port Vale. As you would expect from a man known to do things differently, he gave some of his senior players extra rest in the early part of the week, hoping they will come back refreshed. Mix it up a bit is what he is best at as a motivator. Whatever he is doing, it seems to be working as the Gills, Opta emphasise, have only dropped points against Chesterfield (a 1-1 draw). If Chris Whelpdale (who scored 12 last season) can continue to chip in with goals (two in three games) all the better.
By contrast in the Rochdale camp, you can bet your bottom dollar John Coleman will be training his players for all they are worth as he tries to make that promotion prediction a reality. But even Dele Adebola might find it difficult to break down the rock-solid Gills defence.
Back Gillingham @ 1.824/5
Exeter 2.0621/20 Bristol Rovers 4.03/1 Draw 3.55
After being undone by Barry Corr's return to football - he scored against them for Southend - Exeter will be in the mood to defeat a frustrated and frustrating Bristol Rovers on home turf. The Grecians, Opta reminds us, have one defeat in seven and had been playing well at Southend, Pat Baldwin and Danny Coles seem in good form together at the back. They should be able to account for Joe Anyinsah's influence. Mark McGhee wants to add two loan strikers - not just one - in the absence of injured Matt Harrold, suggesting he is desperate for strength in depth and never had enough in the first place.
Back Exeter at 2.0621/20
Chesterfield 2.166/5 Torquay 3.65 Draw 3.55/2
I like Torquay. I think they have a good chance of securing that top seven berth under the progressive Martin Ling. But every team goes through a rough patch and the Gulls seem to have hit one. Results resemble binary maths puzzles - full of ones and noughts. In five games, they have scored three and conceded three. Their draw at Burton last weekend was one of six in the division. And there must be a strong chance of their third 0-0 draw, priced 12.5 this campaign at Chesterfield, especially as Tommy Wright's men earned only a goalless draw at Northampton last weekend. At home, Chesterfield might be more fluent scorers of late - 4-3 and 3-1 - but they do have five draws overall. Opta stats reveal there have been 12 draws between the pair, as if to emphasise the likelihood.
Back the draw at 3.65