With the international break this weekend the football world will focus on European Championship qualifiers ahead of France 2016. Back on the domestic front there’s a full fixture list in League One and value can often be found in the lower leagues when the bookies have their eyes on the big games of the weekend.
We’re nearly a quarter of the way through the season now and the league table is really beginning to take shape. Burton Albion have been the success story so far under Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink, and they sit proudly at the top of the table dreaming of back-to-back promotions. They face a tough game on Saturday as they travel to second-placed Walsall, who are just three points behind and also enjoying a dream season so far.
Coventry are another side having a good year after an indifferent one last term, and they occupy 5th spot with sights set firmly above rather than below. It’s a trip to Fleetwood on Saturday for the Sky Blues and they’re worth following against a side that are rooted in the relegation zone. Meanwhile 6th will face 7th as Rochdale visit Sheffield United, with the Blades desperate to climb back into the division’s top six and start challenging for the title.
Fleetwood v Coventry
Coventry are riding high in 5th place; they’re just six points off the top of the table, they have the league’s top scorer in their ranks, and they have a game in hand over all of their rivals. They’re often talked about as a sleeping giant of English football, but it’s been a long time since they’ve graced the top flight. There’s a wave of optimism about the club at the moment under experienced boss Tony Mowbray, and they’re primed to have a good season. Although they’ve lost their last two away games at Scunthorpe and Bury, they had enough about them to win at league leaders Burton in September and crucially, they have goals in the team.
Fleetwood have lost the last four games on the trot which has seen them drop to 23rd in the league. The two early season wins must seem a long time ago, and it’s now seven games without a win.
Sheffield United v Rochdale
Sheffield United come next and it’s not often you can get odds against about one of the strogest sides in the division at home. The Blades are +115 with Bet365, Ladbrokes and Betfair to beat an inconsistent Rochdale side.
The two sides are locked together on 17 points, with Rochdale holding 6th place by virtue of goal difference. While Sheffield United started explosively with four wins from four before hitting a lean spell, Rochdale have been far more hit and miss alternating between victories and defeats. The Blades are still among the favourites to win the division, and they have a great deal of quality in their ranks. They’ve suffered a blip in recent weeks with a handful of poor results, but they remain strong at home where they’ve won three of the last five games.
Rochdale’s inconsistency owes much to their home and away form – they’re 5th in the table for home games, but 15th for away results. It’s three defeats in the last four on the road, and a trip to Sheffield United far from the ideal away trip.
Walsall v Burton Albion
We preview this game in more detail in a separate article here.
Coventry to beat Fleetwood
Saturday 10th October, 15:00 GMT
Sheffield United to beat Rochdale
Saturday 10th October, 15:00 GMT
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