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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Derby delight beckons for Oldham in bitter grudge match

Best bets from football's most knowledgeable tipster

Oldham manager John Sheridan enjoys the recent win over Bolton
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Kick-offs 3pm Saturday

Oldham v Rochdale
In theory there is not much for Oldham to play for but the visit of playoff hopefuls Rochdale should keep Athletic focused in what is likely to be a grudge derby after a controversial incident at Spotland in October.

Dale forward Calvin Andrew initially received the joint-second longest ban in English football (12 matches, reduced to nine on appeal) after an appalling off-the-ball attack on Oldham's Peter Clarke.

It's unlikely Clarke and his teammates will have forgotten the incident and a rollover to allow their rivals to move one step closer to promotion from Sky Bet League One would seem improbable.

Oldham have done well at home, adjusting expertly to their dodgy pitch which is beginning to show signs of returning to something resembling a playing surface just in time for the season to end.

John Sheridan's side have lost once at Boundary Park since Christmas with seven wins in the last 11. That includes excellent successes over Oxford, Fleetwood and Bolton, while champions Sheffield United had to settle for a point.

Rochdale need a lot to go right for them if they are to gatecrash the top six and Keith Hill's side will have to come forward in search of victory which could play into Oldham's hands the longer it goes on.

1pt 12-5 bet365

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Wycombe v Doncaster
Doncaster boss Darren Ferguson has made it abundantly clear he wants to win the Sky Bet League Two title even with promotion already in the bag and that could become reality if results go their way.

Ferguson seemed to take the recent loss to Plymouth personally and said afterwards: "The motivation is to win the league and make sure Plymouth don't."

First, Rovers need to beat playoff hunting Wycombe and the leaders should recover from a poor Easter when the Donny, with their squad hit by several absentees, drew 1-1 at Colchester and lost 1-0 at home to Blackpool.

James Coppinger, Andy Butler, Luke McCullough, Liam Mandeville and first-choice keeper Ian Lawlor could all return, while Ferguson is so serious about beating Plymouth to top spot that he is considering postponing Mathieu Baudry's Achilles operation.

1pt 29-20 Betfair

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Grimsby v Yeovil
Most games in Sky Bet League Two have something riding on them with so many sides aiming for the playoffs but there is a dead-rubber between Grimsby and Yeovil at Blundell Park.

But there could still be a decent bet as bookmakers are struggling to find a favourite which is harsh on a Grimsby side who are nine points above Yeovil.

Returning Mariners boss Russell Slade takes on his former club so there is still a little bit of incentive for all involved and Grimsby had beaten Blackpool and Cambridge before losing at bogey side Cheltenham.

Yeovil have won three of their last 24 league matches and there is nothing in the shot stats to suggest the table is misleading.

Grimsby draw no bet
1pt 10-11 general

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Plays of the day

Man City 10-11 bet365, Hills, Lads
We have rarely seen Arsenal show the ability that will be needed to stop Manchester City in their FA Cup semi-final. City lacked focus in the recent 2-2 draw at the Emirates but with the stakes high expect a more concentrated performance. 

Wigan 13-10 Boyles, Hills
It's that stage of the season when teams are priced up on what they need to do rather than actual ability. Wigan, who are almost certain to be relegated anyway, look too short at home to Cardiff.

Man City 10-11, Bradford 8-13, Bolton 4-5, Hills 

Both teams to score
Games at Bournemouth 4-5, Huddersfield 13-19, Lyon 5-12, 188Bet

Leroy Sane 7-1 Boyles
The German flyer has scored in six of his last 11 matches for City and Arsenal have been unable to live with his inward runs - Sane scored in both Premier League matches against the Gunners.

Thought for the week

Back on Wednesday, April 23 1997 after Juventus had knocked Ajax out of the last four of the Champions League I wonder what odds you would have got on the Dutch giants going 20 years without playing in another European semi-final.

Ajax were flying high at the time. They had won the 1995 Champions League, beating Milan 1-0 in the final thanks to a Patrick Kluivert goal, and the following year they lost the final on penalties to Juventus before the Old Lady defeated them in that semi-final in 1997.

And then nothing on the European stage until this season's run in the Europa League, which has been scintillating at times, and the quarter-final success over Schalke highlighted the club's greatness.

Over the 210 minutes of the two legs Ajax had 21 shots on target, despite playing 40 of those minutes with ten men, and the average age of the side was just over 22.

There have been some bleak times for Dutch outfits and it's going to get worse as other clubs around Europe with less class and history possess more money, but Ajax's philosophy will never die.

Their fans sing the Bob Marley classic "Three Little Birds" and this Europa League run has made me realise for Ajax every little thing is gonna be alright.



John Sheridan's side have lost once at Boundary Park since Christmas with seven wins in the last 11
E.W. Terms
Sky bet