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Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Cobblers to write off Northampton after opening defeat

Best bets for Saturday's football

Northampton striker Andy Williams
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3pm Saturday

Carlisle v Northampton
There will be a fans protest against Carlisle's owners before their Sky Bet League Two clash with Northampton and the pre-match atmosphere could be matched by a gloomy post-game mood at Brunton Park.

Various issues are concerning the Carlisle supporters and, after a summer of significant budget cuts, United will do well to get anywhere near to matching last season's efforts of tenth under departed boss Keith Curle.

John Sheridan has replaced Curle and last week's 3-1 defeat at Exeter suggests much work needs doing on the training pitch because a solution is unlikely to be found in signing new players given the delicate financial situation.

Northampton also suffered an opening-day defeat, losing 1-0 at home to Lincoln, yet it would be Cobblers to write off Dean Austin's side following an excellent performance which deserved at least one point and probably all three. 

Cobblers won the shot count 15-4 and it was 8-2 for on-target efforts. They had 58 per cent possession and six of the seven corners with Imps boss Danny Cowley admitting his goalkeeper Josh Vickers was "magnificent."

Matt Crooks and John-Joe O'Toole give relegated Northampton a classy look to their midfield for a League Two side and it shouldn't be long before summer arrival Andy Williams gets off the mark up front.

Northampton draw no bet
2pts Evs Betfair, Paddy Power

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Crawley v Stevenage
Staying in the basement, it could be worth taking the view that Crawley are at least the equals of Stevenage. If that's the case the hosts look the bet with home advantage.

There were negative vibes surrounding Harry Kewell's appointment for the start of last season, but the Australian helped Crawley creep up to 14th, four points better off than Stevenage, in his first campaign and the Red Devils played a pleasing brand of football along the way.

That caught the eye of bigger clubs with centre-back Josh Yorwerth heading to Peterborough and Enzio Boldewijn joined Notts County for a hefty fee which has enabled Kewell to strengthen in key areas.

Assist king Filipe Morais is too good for League Two and he will be supplying strikers Dominic Poleon and Ollie Palmer. Romain Vincelot is also a shrewd acquisition to replace Yorwerth.

Crawley were fully deserving of their 1-0 win at Cheltenham last week, while Stevenage were held to a draw by Tranmere.

1pt 7-5 general

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Sheffield Wednesday v Hull
There is a similar situation situation to the Crawley game at Hillsborough where Sheffield Wednesday can make home advantage count against Hull.

Wednesday were eight points better off than Hull last term and there were excuses for their poor shot data as they absorbed an astonishing injury list for much of a difficult campaign.

The Owls did not play well in last week's 3-2 loss at Wigan, although the newly-promoted Latics are possibly better than a normal side heading up to the Championship, and the key aspect is that Wednesday have many of their influential players fit again.

Hull scored a whopping 70 goals last season but conceded the same amount and most of their goalscoring talent departed in the summer. The defensive issues, however, have not been resolved, as shown in Monday's 3-1 home loss to Aston Villa.

Sheffield Wednesday
1pt 11-8 general

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Blackpool v Portsmouth
Life is never boring in Blackpool and the football team lives up to the excitement of the lively seaside resort, although unfortunately for their long-suffering supporters the rollercoaster ride has had more downs than ups.

Respected boss Gary Bowyer's patience finally broke this week as he quit the club one game into the season and skipper Jay Spearing has spoken of the difficulty of trying to practice without a training ground, waiting for daily texts on where the sessions will take place.

Goalkeeper Mark Howard was the star turn in last week's 0-0 draw with Wycombe and Portsmouth may not need to be anything special to take advantage of the Tangerines' off-field issues.

Portsmouth draw no bet
1pt 10-13 188Bet

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Gillingham v Burton
Complete a busy day by backing Burton to bounce back from their loss to Rochdale by gaining a positive result at Gillingham in Sky Bet League One.

Albion are not getting much respect in most places for a side who were only just relegated from the Championship last season. However, Sporting Index interestingly rate the Brewers seventh favourites for League One.

If they get anywhere near to their estimated points tally of 63-65 then Nigel Clough's men should be favourites for this game despite Gillingham beating Accrington last week.

Burton draw no bet
1pt 10-11 Betfred

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Plays of the day

Nottingham Forest 7-10
Heavily-backed Forest have played three halves of decent football this season with only two points to show for it. But if they maintain those standards it should be enough to see off Reading.

Derby 6-5
Frank Lampard takes on Marcelo Bielsa at Pride Park and this looks a tricky test for the novice Derby boss. He is still working on his philosophy while Leeds hit the ground running against Stoke.

Middlesbrough 4-5, Nottingham Forest 7-10, MK Dons 10-11 Betway

Both teams to score
Games at Fulham 3-4, Bradford 9-10, Rochdale 4-5 Betfair

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Thought for the weekend

Tottenham have taken plenty of flak for making zero signings this summer, but not enough has been made of the way Spurs have managed to hold on to the squad who qualified for the Champions League for a third successive season last term.

How many times last year did you read about Mauricio Pochettino having to leave north London to realise his ambitions? He stayed and signed a new contract and so did England skipper Harry Kane.

Toby Alderweireld was apparently off to Manchester United and Mousa Dembele was going to Italy. For now though, both remain and they are in a squad which had nine World Cup semi-finalists, including France's winning captain Hugo Lloris, Golden Boot winner Kane and one of the revelations of the tournament in Kieran Trippier.

The Premier League is so competitive that Spurs may not finish in the top four again, but throwing money away on players they did not need would only have impacted on their chances of offering significant contract improvements to the likes of Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli.

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Not enough has been made of the way Spurs have managed to hold on to their stars
E.W. Terms
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