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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Forest Green may get revenge on goal-shy Grimsby

Oldham look too lively for toiling Northampton

Forest Green have picked themselves up in recent weeks
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Kick-offs 3pm Saturday

Grimsby v Forest Green
There could be revenge in the air for Forest Green as they head to Grimsby to take on the Mariners for the first time since their National League playoff final defeat in 2016.

Grimsby won 3-1 on that occasion at Wembley but Rovers may be able to dish out some payback at juicy prices.

Forest Green were awful in the early part of their debut Sky Bet Football League campaign but a 4-0 home defeat at the hands of Newport on October 14 was potentially the turning point.

Rovers have barely looked back since, losing only two of their last 11 matches with six wins in that run, including away league triumphs at Coventry and Stevenage as well as Tuesday's Football League Trophy success at Swindon.

There was no surprise about their goalscorer at Swindon on Tuesday as Christian Doidge continued his hot streak which saw him land the November League Two player-of-the-month award.

Doidge has notched 33 times in 2017 and is up to 15 in all competitions this term. He has scored 11 goals in his last nine outings and only Morecambe have kept him at bay in that time.

Mark Cooper's side still have their issues defensively which was a major problem early in the season but ten shots on target in the 3-3 FA Cup draw with Exeter last week shows Rovers' attacking intent.

Grimsby have won successive league matches and have a couple of threats in Jamille Matt and Siriki Dembele but Russell Slade's side have failed to score in four of their last five home league outings and are easily opposed at odds-on.

Forest Green
1pt 10-3 bet365

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Chesterfield v Barnet

The bottom two in the basement meet and they appear to be heading in different directions, a point which can be highlighted with a Chesterfield win over Barnet.

Jack Lester's hosts are unbeaten in five games, a sequence which includes home wins over Exeter and Forest Green and decent draws at home to Carlisle and away at Swindon and Mansfield.

Only late equalisers cost Chesterfield in those draws and even the rarely objective Stags boss Steve Evans admitted his side were second-best in the second half of that Field Mill derby.

Barnet's form is far less encouraging with one win in 13 league games and four defeats in their last five.

1pt 13-10 general

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Oldham v Northampton
Bradford to beat Rochdale was going to be the final selection but Bantams boss Stuart McCall has issued a warning with a couple of players off training because of illness this week, while Jake Reeves and Tony McMahon are rated major doubts.

Consider backing Bradford if they name their usual starting 11, while Blackpool could be worth following if Kyle Vassell, who is a major doubt, is passed fit for their clash with a Rotherham side who will be missing top goalscorer Kieffer Moore.

However, there are no such concerns for Oldham and Richie Wellens is pondering who to leave out after a makeshift side went to Bradford and won 1-0 in the Football League Trophy on Tuesday.

It was the perfect response to a poor 2-0 defeat at Southend when, despite the below-par outing, Oldham still missed a penalty and hit the post through the usually clinical Eoin Doyle.

With Doyle and Jack Byrne in the starting 11, Oldham could have too much forward quality for a Northampton side without a goal in five games.

1pt Evs bet365, Betfair, Betway 

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Plays of the day

Atletico Madrid 4-5
Atleti, who remain unbeaten in La Liga, had won four in a row prior to Tuesday's 1-1 draw at Chelsea and managed 40 shots on target. Hosts Betis have conceded 15 goals in their last five home outings.

Real Sociedad 8-15
Staying in Spain, there must be safer supposed home bankers than Sociedad, even against Malaga. Sociedad have conceded ten goals in their last four games, none of which ended in wins.

Luton 8-11, Roma 4-6, Atletico Madrid 3-4, Marseille 6-10 Hills

Both teams to score
Games at Crystal Palace 9-10, Oxford 7-9, Stevenage 19-29 188Bet

Saturday tipping columns

Didi Hamann

Dan Childs

Kevin Pullein

Thought for the week

When the EFL announced plans for Premier League academies to be allowed into the Football League Trophy they issued a statement saying it was part of their "ongoing commitment to creating more and better homegrown players."

It was mainly met with ridicule and last season's trial was hardly seen as a success but it was continued this term and the midweek action only goes to highlight why Premier League clubs should never again be allowed into the competition.

Some of them have taken it in good spirit, giving youngsters a rare taste of first-team action, but Leicester scandalously used it as a competitive reserve encounter at Scunthorpe on Tuesday to keep their bloated squad fit for the busy Christmas schedule ahead.

Ben Hamer, a 30-year-old, was in goal, Aleksandar Dragovic (26), Yohan Benalouane (30) and Leonardo Ulloa (31) also featured as did full internationals Daniel Amartey and Kelechi Iheanacho.

Chelsea then took the mickey with Michy Batshuayi scoring twice for a strong side against MK Dons the following night.

Leicester and Chelsea have robbed two lower-league teams the chance of getting to Wembley and laughed in the face of those who had intended this competition to benefit young, homegrown players.

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Barnet have registered only one win in 13 league games and four defeats in their last five
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