There are a few teams in our region who could do with picking up a win this weekend, but can they do it?
Sheffield United kick off the action on Friday night with a match under the lights against Notts County and here, as usual, Chris Holt has an attempt at predicting the outcomes of all our games.
SHEFFIELD UNITED v Notts County (Friday)
I’m a big advocate of Friday night football, especially at this time of year. There’s often a lift in the atmosphere and hopefully from a United point of view, that can be transferred onto the pitch for what will be a difficult game. County are another of those surprise packages who, having been some people’s tips to go down after just about escaping relegation last term, are currently in the play off positions as we near the half-way stage of the campaign.
However, November hasn’t been a good month for the Magpies with just one win and Shaun Derry’s men were also knocked out of the FA Cup, after a replay, by Accrington.
United’s month has been stop-start but for this game, having played without recognised strikers for a number of weeks, they have Michael Higdon, Marc McNulty and potentially new signing Chris O’Grady all vying for a spot up front. That could just prove to be the difference on the night.
PREDICTION: Sheffield United 2 Notts County 1
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY v Wigan Athletic
It would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. The lack of goals from Sheffield Wednesday is astonishing and thankfully for the Owls, the backline have been doing their bit so at least there are a few points being picked up here and there. Last week at Huddersfield, their luck was out, with Stevie May hitting the bar and the post and you just get the feeling that just one goal will set the wheels in motion again. I don’t for one minute believe that the proverbial floodgates will open, as some people often think when there’s a barren run, because I’m not sure enough is being created anyway, but finding the net even once would inject a huge amount of confidence into the team and the fans too. Wigan impressed last week under their new manager Malky Mackay, but Wednesday are capable of a win here. Just one goal...
PREDICTION: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Wigan Athletic 0
ROTHERHAM UNITED v Blackpool
This is critical for the Millers. The fun’s over now, the wonder of Wembley is a memory, the great start to the season matters little, for the simple fact is, Steve Evans men are on the slide...and gathering speed. Since beating Leeds in mid-October, Evans has been hugely critical of his players after some games and was particularly vehement in his anger after last week’s defeat to Birmingham. Now they take on the worst team in the division and with ‘bigger’ teams around them looking likely to improve (Bolton, Wigan) it’s crucial that Rotherham start winning games. A raft of fresh signings may have signalled something of an end-of-the-line for Evans’ double-promotion heroes, but the new boys have to hit the ground running.
PREDICTION: Rotherham United 1 Blackpool 0
BARNSLEY v Scunthorpe
The Reds decent run of form came crashing down around them last week against Chesterfield after a disappointing performance by Danny Wilson’s men. I wouldn’t expect there to be two poor displays in a row from this team who had been playing very well of late. Sam Winnall takes on his old team mates and there’s a big chance he will have a say in the outcome of this one.
PREDICTION: Barnsley 2 Scunthorpe 1
Crewe Alexandra v DONCASTER ROVERS
The away form of Paul Dickov’s men will swing this one but there is an understandable wariness surrounding Rovers as they are the same distance from 10th as they are the bottom four. The next three games are all away from the Keepmoat, so going on form, there’s a good chance of a rise up the table here.
PREDICTION: Crewe 1 Doncaster Rovers 2
Crawley v CHESTERFIELD
The importance of Eoin Doyle’s goals was writ large last week as his double strike ensured a win over Barnsley. The Irish frontman, who is the division’s top scorer, had a slight lean spell during which time the Spireites results dropped off a bit too. Now he is back to finding the net, Paul Cook’s men can recapture their early season form.
PREDICTION: Crawley 1 Chesterfield 2