FOOTBALL League expert Gavin Horsfall (@GHorsfall) is back with more anytime goalscoring genius in his latest edition of the Anytime Notebook.
A frustrating time of year to say least, particularly if you think the road to riches is all about understanding strengths and weaknesses of a predicted team starting XI, like I do. Just when you think you have a grip on a particular side, January comes along with its transfer window madness and all of a sudden sides setup a whole lot differently than they did just a game earlier.
Mansfield Town v Exeter City | Saturday 15.00
That’s very much the case with Mansfield, a side I was keen to watch to identify any post-Paul Cox improvement. Matt Rhead’s absence from the starting XI under new boss Adam Murray suggested things may look a little different and despite some indifferent results, it was arguably the case, although I’m not overly convinced their long-term prospects lie any further up the table.
Vadaine Oliver often cut a lonely figure up front but there was some good intensity to the midfield four in behind; Reggie Lambe was one of those whose instinct normally saw him turn up in useful positions when Mansfield tried to break quickly.
Last weekend’s defeat at Burton saw Ricky Ravenhill come in to shore up the midfield and Billy Kee start alongside Oliver in what reads as an orthodox 4-4-2. There was still was scope for Lambe (15/4 Bet365) to get involved from out wide though and the Bermudan scored his first for the club.
He goes into the Notebook this weekend up against an Exeter side that have lost four in five.
Fleetwood Town v Oldham Athletic | Saturday 15.00
Being the boring archetypal 30-something that I am meant I also had some time to catch up with Fleetwood’s performances over the past few weeks and I think Graham Alexander has his team in good form.
They were guilty of not translating good chances into goals in the 2-0 home defeat to Bradford but some of the football from that fluid midfield of Gareth Evans, Jeff Hughes, Josh Morris and Antoni Sarcevic was a joy to watch.
They move the ball quickly, short exchanges making good use of width which opened their visitors up on several occasions. It was a similar story at home to Swindon, where they fully deserved their 2-0 lead at the break only to be pegged back late on.
Jamie Procter’s hard word won’t see him contribute many goals but Stephen Dobbie’s (14/5 BetVictor) movement still looks Championship class to me and while the on-loan Crystal Palace man has been guilty as most for wasting chances, you feel a goal streak might not be far away.
Alexander’s side have recorded two wins and a draw heading into Saturday’s match with Oldham who are without a win in five. And so Dobbie gets the green light.
Doncaster Rovers v Barnsley | Saturday 15.00
Staying in League one, it sounds very much like Doncaster may be missing Dean Furman more than Paul Dickov (and myself) would like to admit.
Oldham were good value for their 2-0 lead before getting pegged back last week by Rovers. And then Donny duly followed that result up with a cup exit in midweek.
Barnsley head to The Keepmoat off the back of a win against Yeovil where George Waring (4/1 Betfred) opened his account. I’m not usually a fan of backing target men but the price looks right here for him to make it two in two.
Shrewsbury Town v Hartlepool United | Saturday 15.00
Elsewhere on the coupon, back down in League Two, Hartlepool loanee Rakish Bingham (4/1 BetVictor) got off to a good start following Mansfield’s decision to let him head north.
The former Wigan forward has impressed me at this level and looks nicely priced even if Shrewsbury are a tough nut to crack at home.
Mansfield Town v Exeter City – Reggie Lamb to score at anytime (15/4 Bet365)
Fleetwood Town v Oldham Athletic – Stephen Dobbie to score at anytime (14/5 BetVictor)
Doncaster Rovers v Barnsley – George Waring to score at anytime (4/1 Betfred)
Shrewsbury Town v Hartlepool United – Rakish Bingham to score at anytime (4/1 BetVictor)