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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Plucky Pilgrims can avoid defeat on trip to Fratton Park

Spireites may spring a surprise at Mansfield

Graham Carey has been superb for Plymouth this season
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Sky Bet Football League
From 1pm Saturday

Portsmouth v Plymouth 3pm

It is getting very tight towards the foot of Sky Bet League One, where six points cover the bottom ten, but second-bottom Plymouth have enhanced their survival hopes in recent weeks – losing one of seven league matches – and should be backed to pick up at least a point against Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

After losing nine of their first 12 league games, Argyle seemed on course for an immediate return to the fourth tier.

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But the Devonians stopped the rot with a 1-1 draw at home to leaders Shrewsbury and have started to believe they can compete in League One.

They suffered a setback last Saturday, losing 4-0 at home to Oxford in a match where they lost centre-back Ryan Edwards to a 14th-minute red card.

But Argyle demonstrated their resolve by bouncing back with a 2-0 victory at home to Northampton on Tuesday and are likely to put up stern resistance at Fratton Park.

Portsmouth were also promoted last season and have fared better in their new environment.

However, Kenny Jackett's side have lost four of their last six league games and look well worth opposing at odds-on.

Plymouth or draw double chance
2pts 7-5 bet365, Betfair#

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Fleetwood v Blackpool 3pm

Blackpool's long-term future is shrouded in uncertainty with their unpopular chairman Karl Oyston looking to sell up. But they are competing well in Sky Bet League One and can edge a little closer to the playoffs by beating Fylde coast rivals Fleetwood at Highbury.

The Seasiders won promotion last season via the Sky Bet League Two playoffs, having finished seventh, and have done better than fellow promoted trio Portsmouth, Plymouth and Doncaster, who were first second and third.

Blackpool's home gates are still on the low side due to stay-away supporters but they will be backed by a sold-out away end at Fleetwood.

The vocal backing should help and the recent return from injury of key midfielder Jimmy Ryan - a former Fleetwood player – is another boost.

While Blackpool's injury situation is improving, Fleetwood are still hamstrung by the absence of key duo Bobby Grant and Conor McAleny.

Fleetwood manager Uwe Rosler admitted that his team were sorely missing Grant's influence in the 4-2 loss at Walsall on Tuesday and the Cod Army may struggle to find a response.

Blackpool draw no bet
2pts 11-10 Betfred, Power

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Carlisle v Morecambe 3pm

Improving Carlisle had gone six Sky Bet League Two games unbeaten before losing 3-0 at highflying Luton on Tuesday and can get their playoff push back-on-track by beating Morecambe at Brunton Park.

There is no disgrace in losing at Luton – the highest scorers in the top four divisions with 46 goals – and Carlisle could count themselves hard done by after winning the shot count 13 to nine.

They will not be up against such clinical opponents this weekend.
Cash-strapped Morecambe do a pretty good job of battling against the odds every season but are having a tough time.

The Shrimps slipped to third-bottom with a 1-0 defeat at home to fellow strugglers Crewe on Tuesday and are unlikely to fare any better in Cumbria.

2pts 8-11 Betfair, Hills

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Mansfield v Chesterfield 1pm

Chesterfield have propped up the League Two standings since early October but they have steadily improved since appointing Jack Lester, one of their former players, as manager in late-September. They can spring a surprise by taking a point or three from seventh-placed Mansfield in an early kick-off at Field Mill.

The Spireites have posted back-to-back league wins for the first time this season and were dominant during Tuesday's 3-2 win at home to Forest Green, posting 19 shots to three.

They were 1-0 victors at home to promotion-chasing Exeter last Saturday and are playing well enough to trouble the Stags, who look short-priced odds-on shots to register a third successive league victory.

Chesterfield or draw double chance
1pt 23-20 bet365

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Kenny Jackett's side have lost four of their last six league games and look well worth opposing at odds-on
E.W. Terms
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