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Oldham on the up under Wellens

Bradford can test the Salop success story

Oldham striker Craig Davies
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Sky Bet Football League
3pm Saturday

Gillingham v Oldham
Two clubs under relatively new management meet at Priestfield and Oldham's Richie Wellens can get the better of Gillingham's Steve Lovell at Priestfield.

Both clubs look to be on the up under their new gaffers and Gillingham did this column a favour last week when winning at Walsall, while Lovell's men followed that success by grabbing a last-gasp equaliser at Blackpool on Tuesday to make it one defeat in nine since Peter Taylor departed.

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So the Kent team are not opposed lightly but they were outshot 21-3 at Walsall and 22-9 at Blackpool with the combined efforts on target 

12-4 in favour of the opposition. That did little to help Gillingham's shots-on-target ratio, which is the worst in Sky Bet League One.

Oldham have won eight, drawn three and lost two of 13 matches with Wellens at the helm with a number of excellent performances to match.

One local newspaper report described Oldham as one of AFC Wimbledon's toughest opponents of the season in a 0-0 draw on Tuesday when Athletic did everything but score in a dominant display.

It's unlike Craig Davies and Eoin Doyle to miss out in front of goal given they have scored 19 between them this season and that twin attacking threat may be the difference against Gillingham.

Athletic have scored double the amount of league goals compared to Gillingham and Wellens, a lovely lower-league footballer in his day, demands the Latics are on the front foot.

On-loan Jack Byrne is dictating play in midfield and they have scored 15 times on the road - one more from the same amount of matches than a Wigan side who are short-priced title favourites.

1pt 29-20 Betfair

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Shrewsbury v Bradford
Oldham have also scored more goals than leaders Shrewsbury this season and it will be interesting to see whether the surprise table-toppers maintain their excellent standards for the rest of the season.

Shrewsbury are particularly strong at home with seven wins and a draw from their eight games and just one goal conceded.

However, bounceback kings Bradford are capable enough to test the Salop success story, particularly after the Bantams punched above their weight to deservedly beat Wigan 2-1 last week.

That was followed by a 2-1 loss at home to Scunny but Bradford have not lost successive league matches since the Christmas period of the 2015-16 season and Stuart McCall's men usually respond brilliantly to setbacks.

Bradford draw no bet
1pt 11-10 Paddy Power

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AFC Wimbledon v Walsall

A 0-0 draw at Oldham increased AFC Wimbledon's unbeaten run to four but they look on the short side to overcome Walsall.

Wimbledon failed to register a shot on target in midweek and goals remain a clear problem. Neal Ardley's men have failed to score on 11 occasions this season which must be a red flag for anyone looking to back the Wombles at just a shade of odds-against.

Walsall were 4-2 winners over Fleetwood on Tuesday, played well in defeat to Gillingham, and have lost only three of their last 11 in League One.

Walsall are difficult to beat and Wimbledon have difficulty scoring so the draw appears a big runner and will be an acceptable result for those punting the outsiders on the Asian handicap.

Walsall +0.25 Asian handicap
1pt 24-23 188Bet

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Roma 13-18
It's going to take a high points total to top Serie A and those challenging for the Scudetto are going out to win every match. Roma have won all five away games and should make it six against Genoa.

Southampton 10-11
Everton have had a shocking season but even so there is zero temptation to back Southampton, particularly as home advantage does not seem to be of much use to shot-shy Saints.

Tottenham 1-4, Roma 8-11, Marseille 4-7, PSG 4-7 Hills

Both teams to score
Games at Fleetwood 5-6, Southend 4-6, Swindon 7-9 188Bet

Thought for the week

Oumar Niasse this week became the first Premier League player to be banned for "successful deception of a match official" after a three-person panel unanimously agreed he dived to win a penalty in Everton's 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace.

It was a soft penalty but not necessarily a clear dive and match referee Anthony Taylor has since watched back the incident and still believes it was the correct decision because there was contact.

However, he has been overruled by an ex-referee, a former player and manager, as well as by the Selhurst Park match delegate who called it a "glaring example of simulation."

Whatever your view on the incident, there is no way this was a glaringly obvious dive nor was it a glaringly obvious penalty.

The written report goes on to say the "arching of the back" was not consistent with the force exerted by Scott Dann. How has football survived for so long without "arching of the back" experts?

Are we going to start banning defenders when they successfully deceive officials by pulling back strikers to stop them from scoring which goes undetected or have we decided that one form of deception is worse than others? 

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Walsall are difficult to beat and Wimbledon have difficulty scoring so the draw appears a big runner
E.W. Terms
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