Well respected tipster and football obsessive Danny Mercer (@OneDannyMercer) takes us through his best bets of the weekend.
As you’ll find out further down my column I’m expecting big things from Tranmere on Saturday when they host Hartlepool. Rory Donnelly should play a pivotal part in that and score here. Donnelly is on loan from Swansea and I reckon he can cut it in the Premier League.
Lots of clubs (including Liverpool and Everton) wanted him before he signed for Swansea and injuries have prevented him from establishing himself at the Liberty Stadium.
Believe me, he’ll score for fun at this level! The 22 year old got off to a flyer last week when getting two goals in his first start against Accrington. Hartlepool have a massive job on their hands stopping him and he looks a huge price to notch again on Saturday.
You might think I’m crazy but I like the look of struggling Mansfield to beat top of the table Wycombe on Saturday in League Two. 33 year old Adam Murray has taken charge at the club and they’ve really improved under him. Yes, they’ve lost their last three games but it’s silly errors and fine margins that have cost them in these fixtures.
The Stags have brought in seven new signings recently and pretty much all of them have been catapulted into the starting line-up. It’s made a real difference! Billy Kee, Vadaine Oliver and Reggie Lambe have been three that have really caught my eye.
Wycombe certainly deserve to be top. They’re unbeaten in nine and have lost just once on the road all season but they’re not exactly prolific in front of goal. Paris Cowan Hall has left the club and on loan Millwall player Fred Onyedinma looks more of a midfielder.
Look, I might look silly come 4.50 on Saturday as I’m going against stats and form but Mansfield are playing much better than their results suggest and if they can rid themselves of individual errors and take their chances better I’m certain they’ll start climbing that table soon.
Win & BTTS
Port Vale are just a point off the play-off places while their opponents Crewe have found some great recent form and are almost out of the relegation zone. I smell goals! Vale have won seven of their last nine home games and five of those were achieved by the Win & BTTS method. I expect to cop again. They’re a tough side to beat at Vale Park but I can see Crewe posing them problems.
Alex have mixed it with Bristol City, Preston, Oldham and Gillingham in recent weeks and came out unbeaten. Steve Davis’ side have scored in their last six away league games and should keep that run going on Saturday but I don’t envisage them overcoming Port Vale. A narrow Vale win with goals aplenty for me.
Tranmere may just sit above the relegation zone, but they’re in good form with just one League Two defeat in seven. Micky Adams has come in and turned the ship around. It’s their form at Prenton Park that’s triggered this revival and with three wins in their last four there in the league you’d expect that to continue against Hartlepool. I can see them hitting the net more than once.
Ronnie Moore’s side have lost 10 of their 13 away games in League Two this season and have failed to keep a clean sheet so I’m all over Rovers to score two or more against them. They’ve fulfilled that in six of their last seven home matches and when you consider two of those games were against Premier League Swansea and League One Walsall you’d have to think Hartlepool would pose a far easier opportunity.
Yeovil come here in good form after accruing four points from a possible six against play off hopefuls Bradford and promotion chasing Preston. They’ve looked far more dangerous up top since signing Gozie Ugwu on a free from Dunfermline and this lad has pace, power and great movement. I reckon he’ll score on Saturday.
Yeovil face Coventry this weekend and I’m confident Ugwu can take advantage. Cov have looked well suspect at the back recently and the way they fell apart last week against Gillingham caught my eye.
Despite being only 22 Ugwu has been at quite a few clubs but I’m hoping the vastly experienced Gary Johnson brings out the best of him. He hit seven goals in 14 league games for Dunfermline, so it was a big surprise when the Fife side let him go. Since the Glovers snapped him up he’s hit two in two and I reckon he can exploit this weak Sky Blues defence on Saturday.
First Half Goals
Portsmouth bound Matt Tubbs will be a sore loss to AFC Wimbledon but I still feel they’ll get goals with Adebayo Akinfenwa, Adebayo Azeez, Sean Rigg and George Francomb amongst their forward ranks. Neal Ardley’s side are quick starters and just last weekend scored within 60 seconds. They look great value to score in the first half against Accrington on Saturday.
AFC have scored the most first half goals in League Two this season with 22 of their 35 overall coming before the half-time team talk. They’ve notched in 13 of their 16 home games in all competitions and that includes against Liverpool.
Accrington have conceded the second most first half goals in League Two with 21 leaked before the interval and that fate has befallen them in their last six games. The stats are screaming at me that this is a good thing!
Two struggling sides meet in the Vanarama Conference North on Saturday but I expect home side Brackley Town to get the better of Lowestoft Town. Brackley are a tough side to beat at home. They’ve lost just three times this season and those defeats came against top sides AFC Fylde, Boston and Guiseley. For me they’ll all finish in the Top 6.
The Northamptonshire side have won four of their last five home league games and all these wins came against sides in the bottom eight of this division. You’ll find Lowestoft there just now. Ex Chelsea and Leicester defender Frank Sinclair has signed for the club and he’ll make a big difference to them I reckon.
For all that I’m taking them on, Lowestoft Town aren’t a bad side, but they do have to travel a lot and that takes it’s toll at this level. They’ve yet to win away all season in the league and have conceded 32 goals in their 13 Vanarama road trips. It’s a gloomy picture. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a close game but I feel compelled to take on Lowestoft due to their awful away form.
Tranmere v Hartlepool – Rory Donnelly to score anytime (5/2 BetVictor)
Mansfield v Wycombe – Mansfield to win (13/5 Bet365)
Port Vale v Crewe – Port Vale to win and both teams to score (3/1 BWin)
Tranmere v Hartlepool – Tranmere to score Over 1.5 Goals (11/10 Coral)
Yeovil v Coventry – Gozie Ugwu to score anytime (9/4 Bet365)
AFC Wimbledon v Accrington – AFC Wimbledon to score First Half Over 0.5 Goals (21/20 William Hill)
Brackley Town v Lowestoft Town – Brackley Town to win (6/5 BetVictor)