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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Notts County should get back on track

Top tips in the EFL

Curtis Thompson on the attack for Notts County against Leyton Orient
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English Football League
Kick-offs 3pm Saturday

Notts County v Barnet
Notts County were far from being the punter's friends last weekend – failing to justify odds-on favouritism when drawing 1-1 at home to lowly Forest Green – but they have not become a bad team overnight and are value to defeat Barnet, another of the division's strugglers, at Meadow Lane

Apart from ruining a lot of accumulators last Saturday, County also disappointed a bumper crowd of 13,267, their highest attendance of the season.

Kevin Nolan's side were well below par and needed a goalkeeping error from Forest Green keeper Sam Russell to secure a barely deserved injury-time equaliser.

After putting in such a poor performance, County have been on the drift to beat Barnet but the market may have overreacted.

Nolan felt his team were nervous against Forest Green and has urged them to get back to the high-tempo football they were playing earlier in the season.

They remain unbeaten after six home league games and Nolan could change things around with fit-again striker Shola Ameobi pushing for his first start since early September.

Barnet manager Rossi Eames would love to have a player of Ameobi's stature to select in attack.

His attacking options have been drastically reduced by injuries to John Akinde and Dave Tarpey and there are doubts over the fitness of Shaquile Coulthirst – the Bees' top scorer – who has missed the last two games with a hamstring strain.

Barnet were largely on the defensive during last Saturday's televised 0-0 draw at home to Coventry which extended their winless run to seven games.

The pressure is mounting on Eames and his injury-hit Bees team look tailor-made opposition for Notts County, who are desperate to get their promotion push back on track.

Notts County
2pts 21-20 bet365, Coral, Hills

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Yeovil v Crewe
Harry Redknapp has been lending a hand at Yeovil this month but his presence on the training ground has not changed the fortunes of the Somerset strugglers, who are set for a defeat at home to Crewe.

Yeovil manager Darren Way was quick to accept Redknapp's offer of assistance but there is only so much the pair can do to elevate an ordinary bunch of players.

It was clear at the end of last season that improvement was needed but the opposite occurred as Yeovil lost first-team regulars Tom Eaves, Alex Lacey (both to Gilingham), Kevin Dawson (to Cheltenham) and Matty Dolan (to Newport).

Plenty of new signings arrived but Yeovil's best player has been 34-year-old striker Francois Zoko, who leads their scoring charts with five goals.

Zoko needs better support and Yeovil have been poor at the back – conceding 26 goals in 12 games.

They lost 2-0 at Newport last Saturday and could have suffered a heavier defeat, having been outgunned 19 to five on the shot count.

Crewe were much more impressive, gaining a deserved 1-0 victory at home to promotion hopefuls Stevenage.

Previously the Railwaymen had been on a six-game losing sequence but they head to Huish Park with greater belief and can make it back-to-back wins.

Crewe draw no bet
2pts Evs Betfred, Power

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Peterborough v Gillingham
Questions are being asked of Sky Bet League One promotion hopefuls Peterborough after successive defeats but the Posh can respond with a comfortable victory over Gillingham at London Road.

Gillingham make the trip north under a new caretaker-manager after Steve Lovell replaced Peter Taylor in the role.

Lovell has promised a more attacking brand of football but has very little quality to work with and, if his side open up too much, they will leave themselves exposed against opponents with an array of attacking threats.

Football tipping columns 

Mark Langdon

Kevin Pullein

Peterborough striker Jack Marriott is one of the best finishers in the third tier and there is a lot more to come from summer signing Ricky Miller, who netted 40 league goals for Dover in the National League last term.

Attacking midfielder Marcus Maddison is enigmatic but has plenty of quality and could shine against poor opposition.

Gillingham were dreadful in last Sunday's televised 1-0 loss at home to Portsmouth, prompting sections of their fans to call for long-standing chairman Paul Scally to quit.

They look a team destined for the drop and could sink deeper into trouble with a third successive league defeat.

3pts 1-2 bet365, Sky Bet

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Forest Green v Newport
Forest Green took a lot of positives from their performance in a 1-1 draw at high-flying Notts County last weekend and look value to gain their first win in nine matches by beating Newport in Nailsworth.

Newport have left last season's struggles behind but are having a tough time on their travels, losing five of their last six away games.

One of those reverses was a 2-0 loss at Forest Green in the EFL Trophy and there is every chance of a similar outcome in the league.

Forest Green draw no bet
1pt 6-4 general

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After putting in such a poor performance, County have been on the drift to beat Barnet but the market may have overreacted
E.W. Terms
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