Yeovil Town v Bournemouth
Saturday 8th January, kick-off 17:45
Live on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport website
Sarll will need a response after Torquay misery
Yeovil must be sick of the sight of rivals Torquay United following their double header over Christmas, as they lost both games in quick succession 3-0 and 2-1. Their latest defeat was a hammer blow as they led the game for a large chunk and were the better team for 75 minutes against their rivals, but some sloppy defending was labelled absolute crap by their manager Darren Sarll. He then added disgusting.
Jordan Bennett struck with a wonder left-footed strike to bring in the new year, but the changes at the back meant Yeovil suffered. Fatigue had clearly caught up with a few, and some coming back from injury were off the pace. Sarll said he needs to address what happened in the last 15 minutes from Sunday, although he lost captain Luke Wilkinson who had to miss the game at a late call after feeling unwell, and having to take a lateral flow test.
They lost two men to red cards in the Boxing Day drubbing, so it was a pretty miserable Christmas all round. However, their National League form has been ultra-strong, winning six from eight and keeping five clean sheets.
The Glovers are currently firmly in mid-table on 31 points, but their lack of goals is holding them back. However, the feeling is they are above expectations. Listening to Sarll this week has been a breath of fresh air. His comments on Premier League clubs and their budgets and being unable to field a side is worth listening to. Even his comments on people calling for a 'Plan B'. He called them Football Manager rubbish.
Cherries back on top with two Xmas wins
While the Somerset club are not looking like a promotion candidate from the National League, Bournemouth certainly hold the golden ticket for gaining promotion to the Premier League as the current top team in the Championship. Bournemouth are 1.538/15 to be playing Premier League football next season.
Following a shaky run from November into December, Scott Parker's side had gone six without a victory. Their usual defensive solidity had deserted them in that run, as had the club-record start to the season with 15 unbeaten. But they bounced back over Christmas with a 1-0 win against Q.P.R and a 3-0 success against Cardiff last time out.
As bad as Cardiff were, the Cherries were excellent despite being edgy early on. The Bluebirds were reduced to 10-men, but their threat from set-plays was dealt with well. Parker told the Daily Echo on the success: "Satisfied, definitely. Good performance all-round today."
Ethan Laird has signed this week on loan from Manchester United. Parker must have been impressed with the young full-back when they hammered Swansea 4-0 in November as Laird featured. The Cherries have also splashed the cash on a player I know well from League One in James Hill. He has signed for £1million from Fleetwood Town and has been described as a Rolls Royce of a player. A classy centre-back who made his debut aged 16, he is destined for a big future.
In terms of how Parker approaches Saturday with resting players is anyone's guess. Although one player that won't be featuring is local legend Steve Cook, who ended his decade stay on the coast with a surprising switch to Nottingham Forest.
Yeovil boss Sarll has been realistic enough with the challenge ahead, by saying non-league teams have to be nigh-on perfect to get close to teams like Bournemouth. And at 9.08/1 on the Glovers on the Match Odds market, I still won't be tempted.
As adaptable as Town are to the changing systems, Bournemouth will have the majority of the ball as their possession stats are impressive in the Championship. They had 70% of the ball against Cardiff, and we expect similar sorts of numbers for Saturday evening.
The hosts needed two games to see of Weymouth early in the competition, but saw off Yate (me neither) 5-0. Their best win was in the previous round with a hard fought 1-0 success against Stevenage.
Considering the Cherries enjoyed a fantastic cup run last term; reaching the quarter-finals before losing to fierce rivals Southampton, the 1.444/9 price is not the worst odds-on shot I have ever seen. And I've seen some shockers in League One. As always with this sort of price, I tend to swerve the HT/FT market, and go with the -1 bet, and that's one I keen to explore at around 2.35/4.
And that's why Liverpool signed Dominic Solanke is probably what everyone is saying now, albeit a few years late following a superlative campaign in the Championship. His 19 goals in 26 games so far is proving to be stellar, and he is already averaging 8.33 on the Infogol Ratings. His 88 shots and 34 on target is high and it's very hard to get away from in the scoring markets. Cash-laden Newcastle have been linked with a move.
The 7/2 price to score first is the bet I am having if he starts, and I am keen to get him in the Betbuilder multiple too with a Bournemouth win or Correct Score. Combining the two with a victory pays 4/1, but putting in the 0-2 Correct Score pays 20/1. Parker's team have kept clean sheets on the road in eight matches, and with a £17million striker in such red-hot form, hopefully we can hit a good one.
Yeovil's Charlie Wakefield has five in 22, and it's good to see him do well as I remember him at Bromley. He is 14/1 to net first on the Sportsbook, while Jordan Barnett who has a sweet left foot is even bigger at 40/1.
KEY OPTA STAT: Bournemouth are unbeaten in their last 11 meetings with Yeovil in all competitions (W8 D3), with this their first encounter since a 1-1 draw in the Championship in April 2014.