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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Northampton could end slump by beating Bristol Rovers

Northampton celebrate a goal
1 of 1

Sky Bet Football League 
Kick-offs 3pm Saturday

Northampton v Bristol Rovers
Sky Bet League One strugglers Northampton have not won any of their last six matches in 90 minutes but they could prove the best value bet of the Football League weekend.

The Cobblers are odds-against draw no bet to defeat Bristol Rovers at Sixfields.

They had a success of sorts on Tuesday, winning a shootout in their EFL Trophy clash at rivals Peterborough after the match had finished 1-1.

But they are far more concerned about accumulating league points and a return to home soil should help.

Five of Northampton's last six games have been on the road and they have been competitive in all of them.

Fine margins have gone against the Cobblers, who suffered a trio of 1-0 September defeats at home to Bradford and away to Wigan and Rotherham.

But they created the better chances in a 0-0 draw at improving MK Dons and performances have generally improved since Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink replaced Justin Edinburgh as manager in early September.

Saturday football columns

Didi Hamann

Mark Langdon

Hasselbaink started off with encouraging home wins over Doncaster (1-0) and Portsmouth (3-1) and his team are taking on Rovers at the right time.

International breaks are becoming a problem for the Gas, who have  lost first-choice centre-backs Ryan Sweeney and Tom Lockyer to the Ireland Under-21 and Wales squads.

Both were called up for the October internationals and Rovers suffered in a televised 3-1 defeat at Bradford.

Bradford won that game by loading as many balls into the penalty area as possible and could have prevailed by a bigger margin.

Hasselbaink is likely to repeat the Bantams' tactics and can reap the rewards.

Northampton draw no bet
2pts 11-10 general

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Lincoln v Chesterfield
Lincoln are not as close to the Sky Bet League Two promotion race as they might have hoped for but the Imps can take closer order by beating relegation-threatened Chesterfield at Sincil Bank.

Last season Chesterfield were competing at two levels above Lincoln but they are struggling just as much in League Two.

Long-suffering Spireites followers were briefly heartened by last week's decision to appoint Jack Lester, a fans' favourite in his playing days, as manager.

But Lester has a tough job on his hands and could do nothing to stop Chesterfield's losing run extending to four games with a 2-0 loss at home to Cheltenham last Saturday.

Chesterfield have defended poorly for much of the season and are going to have to stand up to a bombardment against Lincoln, who are one of the most direct teams in the division.

Lincoln's football isn't always pretty but they are probable promotion contenders and look banker material on this weekend's coupon. 

3pts 8-13 general

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Cheltenham v Swindon
Cheltenham's win at Chesterfield last Saturday lifted them to a seasonal high of 13th but their hot streak could be halted by Swindon at Whaddon Road.

A ten-point haul in the last four games has lifted Cheltenham away from the relegation battle but the markets may have overreacted by making them firm favourites to defeat a Swindon side boasting one of the best away records in the division with four wins out of five.

On-loan Bristol City winger Joe Morrell has been one of Cheltenham's star players in recent weeks but may not be certain to start, having featured for 84 minutes of Wales Under-21s' 3-1 win away to Liechtenstein on Thursday.

Swindon are without first-choice goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux, who starts a four-game ban, but Reice Charles-Cook is a capable stand-in and influential midfielder John Goddard has recovered from injury and could make his first start in two months.

David Flitcroft's ninth-placed side are likely promotion contenders and look a great bet in receipt of a 0.25-goal Asian handicap start, which brings a half-stakes profit if they draw and a full profit if they win.

Swindon +0.25 on Asian handicap
2pts 9-10 188Bet

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A ten-point haul in the last four games has lifted Cheltenham away from the relegation battle but the markets may have overreacted
E.W. Terms
Sky bet