FRESH from a stunning 30/1 double last weekend, Gavin Horsfall (GHorsfall) returns with more stunning insight into Anytime Goalscorer selections from the Football League.
Portsmouth v Mansfield | 15.00
After two shutouts in a row Portsmouth finally got themselves a goal in midweek. They still went down 2-1 at home to Northampton in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy but the goal will give them a lift. I’m well aware that backing Pompey is the quick way to the poor house and Andy Awford is rightly under a bit of pressure in that job.
But I think Awford needs to find a settled team and key to that could be someone like Ryan Taylor – he’s a proper number nine. When you consider the wealth of talent at Portsmouth’s disposal, they need a focal point up front to bring all those players together and Taylor fits the bill. He might not have the best goalscoring record but he does fill that role very well.
Taylor made a scoring return from injury in that midweek defeat and whilst I think the hosts are a better side than last season, they do need to make Fratton Park a bit of a fortress. Despite suggesting punting Pompey is the best way to lose your cash, they are around about a nice price this weekend at 5/4 with BetVictor.
Mansfield head to the south coast having lost six of their seven on the road – conceding two at Carlisle, leaking three at Stevenage and having tried to shut up shop at Accrington last week still went down to a penalty. They might just open up a bit this weekend and even if they don’t, Portsmouth should see plenty of the ball.
And with Taylor available at 12/5 with Bet365 to score, there’s mileage in that price. Off the mark in midweek, he should be leading the line after returning from injury and against a Mansfield side that are likely to leak goals, it looks like a decent recipe for a bet.
Cambridge v Oxford | 12:15
I went to see Cambridge play at Burton last weekend and I cannot eulogise enough about the attitude, positivity and game plan that Cambridge came with. The U’s were up and at ’em, never lost heart, never rested and I was thoroughly impressed.
It was the first time I’d seen them this season and when you look at their results, they score plenty but they also concede a fair few too. In fact, Northampton are the only side to score more league goals than Richard Money’s men in League Two and you can see exactly why – even when 3-1 up at Burton in the dying minutes they were looking to get the ball down quickly and attack.
Cambridge’s front two of Tom Elliott and Kwesi Appiah were absolutely fantastic and never let any of the Burton back four rest. I was impressed by Elliott – he scored two in his last game and it does look obvious to put him up in this game but he was calm, composed, a constant threat and clinical in the area. He goes off at 2/1 with Ladbrokes and as soon as I saw him last weekend I knew I’d be putting him up in this game.
Exeter v Hartlepool | 15.00
It’s an interesting time at Hartlepool. Could they be about to change fortunes? Colin Cooper rightly resigned after they conceded three at home to Carlisle. Sam Collins came in as caretaker; he’s well respected at the club with over 250 appearances for the Monkey Hangers but he may not have too much time to impress with Graham Kavanagh being touted for the role. Kavanagh was in the crowd for their midweek loss in the JPT to Sheffield United but it was a decent performance from Pool.
As we see so often when a caretaker boss comes in, Collins was able to get a bit more out of the team. He chucked a number of youngsters in, took a bit of a gamble and showed some attacking intent by playing 4-3-3. It might give us a clue as to how he’ll look to get them playing this weekend. With time not on his side, I expect Hartlepool to go out all guns blazing when they head to Exeter.
The hosts are playing well but it will be interesting to see how they cope with Alex Nicholls heading back to Northampton after the Cobblers recalled him from his loan spell. I’ve got a feeling his tenacious attitude following his return from injury was a key factor in those performances. They lost midweek at Coventry and it’s set-up to be a nice little match-up.
I can tell you now I’m definitely going to back Hartlepool (3/1 Betfred) this weekend. Charlie Wkye, who’s on loan from Middlesbrough, led the line in midweek in their 4-3-3 formation but I’m pretty sure Ryan Brobbel (one of my favourite players) was one of the attacking three. Brobbel was part of that York side that did really well last season. He’s still a young lad but already has a decent scoring record despite suffering a nasty injury last year. Although he’s yet to score this season, he saw a few chances come his way against Sheffield United and he goes off at a very tasty 6/1 with Bet365 to net.