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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Lethal Luton can tighten their grip on League Two

Football's most knowledgeable tipster

Luton goalkeeper Marek Stech
1 of 1

Sky Bet Football League
3pm Saturday

Port Vale v Luton
There have been some low points in 2017 for Luton but they are finishing the year with a bang and the potential for a bright 2018 is clear for all to see.

The Sky Bet League Two leaders were down in the dumps at the end of last season following their playoff defeat, although the Hatters are looking to make sure there is no need to extend the season this time around with Town four points clear of Notts County.

There's an 11-point gap to third-placed Lincoln and a goal difference of plus 39 from 24 matches suggests Luton are by some way the strongest side in League Two.

If that is the case then odds-against prices at Port Vale seem worth taking - Luton were odds-on to triumph at Swindon earlier this week and recorded an emphatic 5-0 success.

Nathan Jones was gushing in his praise afterwards and rightly so. Luton have won ten and drawn two of their last 12 matches with their deep squad perfectly suited to the busy festive period.

Substitutes Elliot Lee and Harry Cornick notched at Swindon, although both are likely to stay on the bench with Luke Berry, Danny Hylton and James Collins expected to carry the threat to Port Vale.

The hosts have performed reasonably well in recent league games, winning three of their last four to help them climb to 17th, but it was only last month that Vale were stuffed 4-0 by Mansfield at home and followed that with a 3-1 defeat at Lincoln.

2pts 21-20 general 

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Sky Bet League Two standings

Chesterfield v Colchester
There is a heaped pack behind Luton and Notts County with only seven points separating 14th-placed Cambridge from Lincoln and Colchester are one of those firmly in the League Two promotion mix heading into the new year.

United, up to fifth following five wins in eight, can maintain those excellent standards with a victory at lowly Chesterfield.

There were excuses for Colchester's slow start which was due to major injury problems, although Sammie Szmodics is now back and firing with seven goals in his last eight. 

Last season's main man Kurtis Guthrie got six minutes into his legs during Tuesday's 2-0 win at Crawley after a campaign ruined by injury and the future looks bright for the Essex side.

The same, however, cannot be said for Chesterfield who initially had a bounce with club legend Jack Lester returning as manager but three defeats on the spin hints at major surgery needed in January.

Experienced centre-back Ian Evatt was injured after 30 minutes of last week's defeat at Stevenage, which contributed to a 5-1 loss before Tuesday's 2-0 home reverse to Crewe.

Evatt is one of several players either sidelined or playing through the pain barrier which is far from ideal during the hectic schedule.

1pt 11-8 Betway

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Sky Bet League Two standings

Blackburn v Scunthorpe
One of the biggest matches in the Sky Bet Football League comes at Ewood Park where Blackburn are capable of seeing off Scunthorpe.

Rovers have collected 22 points from the last 24 available in League One to push up to third following an average start with Bradley Dack's influence growing as the campaign goes on.

Dack has nine goals in his last 14 appearances which spells trouble for a Scunny side whose only away clean sheets in the last ten came at Northampton. 

Hakeeb Adelakun is a major threat to Rovers but there is a chance he may not be fully focused after talk of a big-money move to Sunderland.

1pt 4-5 Betway

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Plays of the day

Luton 21-20
The goal-crazy Hatters are looking a class above everything in League Two at the moment and Port Vale could be the latest side to struggle with their attacking talent.

Newcastle 11-10
Some firms are as low as evens about Newcastle which looks on the short side given Rafael Benitez's men have won one of their last 11 matches. Brighton can keep it tight on Tyneside.

Watford 7-10, Lincoln 11-20, Luton 21-20 Betfair

Both teams to score
Games at Brentford 10-17, Oldham 5-8, Wycombe 13-15 188Bet

Thought for the week

This time last year the three players to watch in 2017 were Naby Keita, Franck Kessie and Bernardo Silva, and after all three earned big-money moves it's time to look into the crystal ball for a trio that could soon be on the watchlist of Europe's finest.

Philipp Max Augsburg
Four players are joint-top of the assists tables in Europe: Kevin De Bruyne, Neymar, Pione Sisto and Philipp Max.

Danish dribbler Sisto is interesting at Celta Vigo but Max has been outstanding from left-back for unheralded Augsburg. The set-piece master has a wicked delivery and, like most modern full-backs, is at his best when galloping up the pitch.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic Lazio
The Serbian midfielder has been linked with a move to Manchester United which isn't a surprise considering he is well over 6ft tall and ticks just about every box Jose Mourinho would be looking for in a versatile, commanding and excellent central midfielder.

Milinkovic-Savic calls Mourinho "the best coach in the world" but apart from a lack of judgement everything else is spot on.

Frenkie De Jong Ajax
Every time you watch De Jong you have to remember it's a poor Dutch Eredivisie but the 20-year-old midfielder looks freakishly fantastic whether he is used as a number six or eight.

De Jong has not even played 20 games but his passing and dribbling ability is rare. If it continues he will be something special.

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The goal-crazy Hatters are looking a class above everything in League Two at the moment
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