FOOTBALL Betting Awards nominee Gavin Horsfall (@GHorsfall) returns with another dose of his world famous Anytime Notebook.
Barnsley v Colchester United | Friday 19.45
Anybody who follows me on Twitter will know I’m a keen admirer of Barnsley. I spent a bit of time studying their fixtures last week and I like what I’ve seen. Danny Wilson’s got a talented squad at his disposal and they’re just starting to motor. I’m a big of the Tykes’ Top-6 price (8/1 BetVictor) and they should have plenty of opportunities to continue their good upturn when Colchester arrive.
The U’s got past Gosport Borough 6-3 in the FA Cup and it just epitomised their season so far – plenty of attacking intent but struggling defensively. It’s now no clean sheet since September for Colchester and in most cases they’re struggling to keep the opposition down to just one goal.
So there’s a real chance for Barnsley to get at them at Oakwell. We put Ryan Williams up last weekend and I’m going to do so again at 7/2 with Bet365. He’s picking up some great positions behind Sam Winnall and Devante Cole and offers the best value from the five or six attack-minded players in that Barnsley side. He’s on-loan from Fulham and yet to score but it should only be a matter of time before he does.
Coventry City v Notts County | Saturday 15.00
If in doubt, have a look at your own side. My team Coventry are struggling and in woeful form of late. We finally managed to keep a clean sheet in midweek against Plymouth in the Johnsone’s Paint Trophy but it doesn’t paper over any of the cracks.
It’s been well publicised that Steven Pressley has been unable to stop the side conceding goals – we’ve leaked two or more in 8/11 games now and there’s still plenty of questions left unanswered. Centre-half pairing Reda Johnson and Aaron Martin missed the midweek match and may/may not return here.
We’ve been very vulnerable down the left-hand side and even on the dodgy Ricoh pitch I’m looking at Notts County’s Zeli Ismail as a real contender at 11/2 with Paddy Power. Boss Shaun Derry has been very cute with his usage of Ismail – he’s come off the bench quite often but I’m relatively hopeful he starts.
He’ll be a menace if he’s deployed on the right and has already grabbed four goals in 10 games. He could prove a real handful for Ryan Haynes and looks a lovely price too. So I’ll try second-guess Shaun Derry and hope Ismail starts and put him up at 11/2.
Southend United v Hartlepool United | Saturday 15.00
I’ve got a sneaky feeling about Hartlepool this weekend. OK, probably more about opposing Southend than getting too cosy with the Monkey Hangers but there’s definitely reason to be positive about their chances.
The visitors are rated 6/1 shots by Bet365 and they arrive here after a decent week. They came back from 2-0 down against Newport before avoiding a potential banana-skin in the FA Cup last weekend. They’ve also scored in their last seven games.
If I were Sam Collins I’d be coming down, getting stuck-in and giving it a real go on Saturday. They might be bottom of the league but Southend are so short on goals at the moment – none of their front four are firing – and Phil Brown’s coming under a bit of pressure to get his misfiring side back on song.
I’ve picked out Brad Walker (10/1 Bet365). He’s scored in consecutive games and seems to have come back fighting after being given a rest by Sam Collins when he took over caretaker charge. He’s only young but he’s an attacking midfielder and there’s definite value to be had siding with him as I really believe Hartlepool can at least net on Saturday.
Barnsley v Colchester – Ryan Williams to score at anytime (7/2 Bet365)
Coventry v Notts County – Zeli Ismail to score at anytime (11/2 Paddy Power)
Southend v Hartlepool – Brad Walker to score at anytime (10/1 Bet365)