IT’S the Notebook that all the bookies fear. Fresh from a 7/2 winner last week, Gavin Horsfall (GHorsfall) returns with more goalscorer goodness from the Football League.
Merry Christmas everyone, especially you Paris Cowan-Hall, the Wycombe front-man curled a peach into the top corner to ensure a profit last week after only nine minutes!
Dagenham & Redbridge v Stevenage | Boxing Day 14.00
Stevenage have been a team in focus for me, for much of the last week. I’ve been trying to work out if they could be a sleeper in the middle of League Two with the potential for a playoff challenge.
I’ll leave the answer to that particular question for now but the analysis may have just thrown up one for the Notebook, Jerome Okimo (16/1 Stan James).
The original Wealdstone Raider signed for Graham Westley from the non-league side in the summer. The left-back missed most of September and October through injury but looks a really good player to me.
He was excellent at Newport despite Stevenage going down 2-0; he neutralised the threat of County’s forward thinking Ryan Jackson by getting beyond the wing-back on several occasions and taking up some threatening positions.
There’s argument that Friday’s trip to Dagenham represents a similar opportunity where right-back Damian Batt is equally forward thinking.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Graham Westley gives Okimo further licence to cause Batt more problems than he causes Boro, and if he does then the 16/1 all of a sudden looks huge, “you want some value – I’ll give you some?”
Portsmouth v Wimbledon | Boxing Day 13.00
Portsmouth have been a profitable side to oppose recently. I caught their 3-0 win at home to Morecambe late last month and it didn’t really give a true reflection of the home side’s performance.
They were uninspiring to say the least and they duly followed that result up with defeats against Tranmere and Accrington (Morecambe won next time out). The bad news for Andy Awford is that, for me, he should be getting more out of any XI he puts out.
Wimbledon visit on Friday with some scratchy away form but are fresh off a 3-2 win at York on their last road trip and beat Wycombe earlier in the month. Adebayo Akinfenwa and Matt Tubbs head the market for good reason but when either gets drawn out wide it’s Sean Rigg who takes up the best positions,
Rigg has scored four of his five goals away from home this season (11 from 14 over two seasons) and offers a nice priced alternative to that front pairing at 9/2 (Betfred).
Doncaster Rovers v Coventry City | Boxing Day 15.00
Credit where it’s due to Steven Pressley whose Coventry side have lost just one league game since October. Four clean sheets in the last seven suggests he might just have more influence over the goals against column than he’s shown over the past two seasons..
Pressley also may just have uncovered one in James Maddison. It’s early days in the 18-year-old’s development but he was excellent when bought on as a half-time sub in the 1-1 draw against Fleetwood playing just in behind Gary Madine and I’m willing to take a gamble he might just find himself with more playing time when City visit the Keepmoat on Friday.
Pressley was quoted as saying Maddison would ‘be a hero for years to come for City fans’ so I’ll gamble on the value while it’s there at 6/1 (BetVictor). Doncaster have been playing better on the road this year although only five of their last 17 games have been at home.