THE man with the encyclopaedic knowledge, Danny Mercer (@OneDannyMercer) is back with his always-popular Mercer Mix column. Danny’s got four picks to share this week.
Crawley are in the relegation zone and Dean Saunders has a job on his hands keeping them up in League One. For me, the goals of Izale McLeod will be imperative to them staying in this division. I fancy him to notch on Saturday against Swindon at 16/5 with Paddy Power.
Mark Cooper’s side have dropped out of the automatic promotion places after losing three of their last four league games so the Red Devils and McLeod won’t be too overawed. I’ve kept a close eye on Izale from his days at MK Dons and Barnet and I’m a big fan. He can play at a higher level, mark my words. But I’ve always felt he can be very lazy. Saunders seems to have kicked that out of his game.
Izale has scored six goals in eight games since Saunders took charge, and I get the impression that the Welshmen has been imparting his own wisdom onto McLeod being the great striker that he was in the 90’s. These two clearly work well together. McLeod scored the winner when these sides met earlier in the season and after scoring a hat-trick last week against Barnsley, his confidence must be sky high.
Both Chester and Eastleigh are not far off the Conference play-off places and it’s the former that I’m siding with here. The Blues come into this game in great form; they’re unbeaten in five in the league and won four of those. They’ve notched in 11 of their last 12 home league games and I’m really hoping they score two or more on Saturday.
Eastleigh get goals, for sure, but they’re no strangers to conceding. Away clean sheets are not their forte; in fact, they’ve produced just one in their last 14 road trips in the league.
Chester have scored two or more in seven of their last 12 home league games, and with John Rooney and Sean McConville in such rampant form it should be a tough day at the office for Eastleigh. They’re 6/5 Coral to strike at least twice.
Win & BTTS
Forest Green meet AFC Telford on Saturday and I fancy them to pick up three points in a BTTS (27/11 888 Sport) game. Rovers sit fifth in the Conference (in the final play-off spot) while Telford are bottom of the league and a huge nine points from safety.
Forest Green have won four of their last five home league games and have smashed 22 goals from their last 10 Conference games, so I’ve no doubt they’ll bulge the net against this Telford side, who are just leaking goals at the moment.
There’s no one in the Conference with more Win & BTTS scores than Rovers. They’ve registered nine so far, with six landing in their last 13 encounters. I’m expecting Telford to play a part in this game too. They’ve been playing some better stuff of late, despite results showing otherwise. Red cards and late goals have cost them dearly. The Midlands side have conceded 31 goals in their last 13 away league fixtures but have breached the goal-line 13 times in their last four away games and I’m hoping they can score here.
I’m anticipating a lot of tension in the Alfreton v Aldershot game on Saturday with both sides having the R word on their mind. It’s Aldershot who come into this game in the worst form; they’ve lost nine of their last 11 league games and a defeat here could spell danger with tough games against Dover, Macclesfield and Halifax coming up.
Alfreton arrive in better form with two wins from their last five league games and I can see them putting a marker down in this match. The Shots have lost five of their last six away league games and I expect Alfreton to pounce on their nerves and score in the first-half at lovely odds of 13/10 with William Hill.
Aldershot have conceded in the first half in five of their last seven away league games and in nine of their last 13 Conference games. They’ve just one away clean sheet in the league this season and it was no coincidence that their opponents Kidderminster were down to 10 men early that day.
It’s been noticeable that Alfreton have been scoring goals of late with 17 notched in their last eight home fixtures. When it comes to the first-half, the Derbyshire club have scored in the opening 45 in eight of their 13 home ties. Let’s hope they make it nine from 14 on Saturday.
Swindon v Crawley – Izale McLeod To Score Anytime (16/5 Paddy Power)
Chester v Eastleigh – Chester To Score Over 1.5 Goals (6/5 Coral)
Forest Green v AFC Telford – Forest Green To Win And Both Teams To Score (27/11 888 Sport)
Alfreton v Aldershot – Alfreton to score a first half goal (13/10 William Hill)
What do you think of Danny’s picks? Anything stand out for you in the Non-League this week? Let us know in the comments box below.