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Only way is to oppose injury-hit Essex side at Accy

Accrington's Sean McConville celebrates a goal against Luton
1 of 1

Sky Bet Football League
3pm Saturday

Accrington v Colchester
John Coleman has had many reasons to curse the luck of his Accrington side this season but their fortunes could take a turn for the better when Colchester visit the Crown Ground in Sky Bet League Two.

The visitors will arrive decimated by injuries with up to a dozen first-team players sidelined because of knocks, while Sean Murray remains suspended to further hamper Colchester's plans.

There is no doubt the absence of so many played a part in the surprise 3-2 loss at home to Crawley on Tuesday when defensive errors gifted victory to one of the weakest teams in the league.

Defenders Tom Eastman, Luke Prosser, Frankie Kent and Lloyd Doyley are definitely out for the long trek north and, like that quartet, Drew Wright and Sammie Szmodics won't return any time soon.

Lewis Kinsella, Jermaine Grandison and Doug Loft are ruled out along with reserve keeper Dean Brill, while experienced striker Chris Porter has missed the last couple of matches with a hip complaint.

Influential midfielder Owen Garvan was substituted against Crawley as he continues to nurse a minor injury while manager John McGreal had hoped to bring Craig Slater off the bench but had to change plans when he hobbled through a warm-up routine. 

McGreal may feel slightly aggrieved that Colchester lost in midweek considering Crawley scored with their only three shots on target but this should be a much tougher match even though Accrington are 20th. 

Stanley are so much better than their league position suggests.

According to the shots-on-target ratio they are seventh-best in the division and only Portsmouth, Doncaster, Blackpool and Mansfield are performing better in the match shots ratio.

Things have started to turn for Coleman's side since Boxing Day with three wins, three draws and three defeats.

Two of those losses came at Portsmouth and Middlesbrough, while the other came with ten men at Cheltenham.

They played 78 minutes with ten at home to Carlisle in a draw and were pegged back late on in other draws against Hartlepool and Mansfield. However, a repeat performance from Tuesday's 4-4 classic with the Stags should be enough to grab a vital victory.

Stanley have been well backed but there is still enough juice left in the current prices.

Recommendation
Accrington
2pts 13-10 general

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com


Leyton Orient v Notts County
It's difficult to keep track of Leyton Orient's managerial appointments but the latest - Danny Webb, son of former Chelsea boss David - has brought a new spirit to the club and the League Two strugglers could land a telling blow against relegation rivals Notts County.

Former Orient manager Kevin Nolan returns to east London having also improved Notts but with little between the teams it is surprising to see the hosts chalked up as underdogs despite having home advantage.

County have lost their last nine away matches by an aggregate 25-5 scoreline and an imperfect ten on the road may follow.

Orient had lost six matches on the spin themselves but they had a lot of hard games in that run (Exeter, Portsmouth and Mansfield away as well as Carlisle at home) and there was a lot to like about the 1-0 defeat to Morecambe on February 7.

Morecambe manager Jim Bentley praised the performance of his keeper and also said Orient were never a bottom-two side on that evidence. A deserved point at Yeovil followed before a brilliant 3-2 triumph at Plymouth on Tuesday.

Gavin Massey and Sandro Semedo scored late on in Devon but it was fully deserved with Orient winning the shots on target count 10-4. 

Recommendation
Leyton Orient draw no bet
1pt 19-20 Coral

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com


Wigan v Preston
Around 4,500 travelling Preston supporters will fill the away end at Wigan and they should be celebrating a positive result.

Wigan have shown signs of improvement in recent weeks but they remain in the Sky Bet Championship relegation zone while Preston sit tenth after losing only four of their last 24 league encounters.

Those defeats came against top-half teams Cardiff, Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds and Newcastle - the latter three of those are all in the top six - and Simon Grayson's solid outfit look the more likely winners despite what the odds suggest.

Recommendation
Preston draw no bet
1pt Evs general

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com


Plays of the day

Banker
Cardiff 8-15
Neil Warnock is getting a fine tune out of Cardiff and this looks an ideal time to face injury-hit Rotherham, who must also do without on-loan Bluebirds duo Tom Adeyemi and Semi Ajayi.

Blowout
MK Dons 5-4
The market seems to love MK Dons but they are down to 15th and face a difficult task against high-flying Fleetwood. The Cod Army have not any of their last 15 league matches.

Accumulator
Cardiff 8-15, Lazio 3-4, Lyon 2-5, Man Utd 1-3, Hills

Both teams to score
Games at Burton 7-8, Walsall 13-19, Mainz 11-17, 188Bet 

Hotshot
E Doyle 11-2 general 
The on-loan Preston man looked sharp for Portsmouth even before he scored against Blackpool on Tuesday and he should appreciate this drop down in class for the trip to Barnet having previously filled his boots for Chesterfield.


Thought for the week

"Whatever happens I will continue managing next season," said Arsene Wenger in his press conference on Friday but it's hard to see how that can be at the Emirates.

Pundits and supporters have argued over Wenger's merits for many years. He was lucky to inherit George Graham's defence/he won a title as invincibles; tactically he is out of his depth/the football was brilliant to watch; he should have spent more money/he was putting the club first... and so on. 

However, Albert Einstein's famous definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results - rings true, at least in recent seasons, and Arsenal need a change even if it could lead to some short-term pain.

As for Wenger, the 12-1 for him to manage in China looks too large. The 67-year-old had no problem taking the cash in Japan more than 20 years ago and it's difficult to see a natural fit for him at any of Europe's big clubs.

Stanley are so much better than their league position suggests
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