Peterborough vs Shrewsbury | Saturday 31st October 2020, 15:00
Peterborough weren’t at their fluent and firing best during their midweek match against rock-bottom Burton (2-2). Posh conceded far too many opportunities and were guilty of missing a few presentable late chances to clinch top honours, but I suspect Darren Ferguson’s team will move up the gears again on Saturday when Shrewsbury arrive.
The hosts have made a strong start to their League One campaign with six wins from their opening nine outings, including three victories from four at their London Road home. Ferguson’s outfit have posted five triumphs from six unbeaten encounters in October and are expectedly rated in the top-five for all the major performance data metrics.
Going back to the beginning of last season, Peterborough have posted a mightily impressive W15-D4-L2 in League One matches at London Road, scoring two goals or more on 16 (76%) occasions. Eighteen (86%) of those showdowns featured two goals or more so I’m happy enough taking the 23/20 (Betway) on Posh to win and Over 1.5 Goals against Salop.
Three consecutive losses have seen Shrews slide down the standings with Sam Ricketts’ pre-season promise of a more aesthetically-pleasing and attack-minded style yet to materialise. Town have managed only five goals in 12 hours of league football and posted a solitary success (W1-D3-L4) whilst creating the fewest open play opportunities in the division.
Shrewsbury have signed EFL veterans Charlie Daniels and Marc Pugh in the past week to bolster the squad and Jason Cummings could be available for the trip after illness. Ricketts insists confidence and belief in the process remain strong but Salop are bound to have their resolve tested to the limit on Saturday and I’m expecting Posh to prove too strong.
Swindon vs Hull | Saturday 31st October 2020, 15:00
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the progress of Hull since their shock demotion and downfall from the Championship. Grant McCann made numerous smart additions in the summer and the Tigers have hit the ground running in League One, earning seven victories to sit second in the table after nine rounds of action (W7-D0-L2).
The Humbersiders are interesting 11/10 (William Hill) shots to extend their winning run on Saturday at Swindon and it’s a price I’m happy to take. Hull’s impressive results are backed up by the data – McCann’s men are posting ratio returns around the 60% mark for both Expected Goals (xG) and shots from inside the penalty area – an encouraging return.
The Tigers have already tasted success four times on their travels since returning to the third-tier, including Tuesday night’s 3-1 triumph at Bristol Rovers. Hull started slowly at the Memorial Stadium but the visitors soon came to the fore with all three substitutes scoring, including the highly-rated and in-form youngster Keane Lewis-Potter.
Swindon’s derby date with Oxford was postponed last week following a spate of COVID-related issues. The Robins haven’t played in over 10 days but come into the Country Ground contest on the back of four defeats on the spin, as well as five losses in six. Town are yet to keep their sheets clean and head coach Ritchie Wellens has been linked with a move away.
The hosts lost key attackers Kevin Doyle and Jerry Yates from last season's League Two promotion-winning side and have only taken top honours twice, against ante-post relegation favourites Rochdale and rock-bottom Burton. Swindon have shipped two more goals in five of their last six and may struggle to contain an exciting and expansive Hull.
The Tigers can call on the likes of Josh Magennis, Tom Eaves and Mallik Wilks in a fearsome frontline at this level, are the league’s top goalscorers on the road, and have notched in all nine of their League One outings thus far.
Southend vs Port Vale | Saturday 31st October 2020, 15:00
Southend avoided a fifth winding up petition in midweek after settling a large outstanding tax bill, preserving the short-term future of the club. Undoubtedly a relief for Shrimpers supporters, although the Essex outfit still find themselves in the mire with on-field performances seeing Mark Molesley’s men prop-up the Football League (W0-D2-L7).
The rock-bottom club were turned over at home by fellow strugglers Oldham on Tuesday night, the eighth occasion in nine matches this term that Southend have leaked two goals or more. Four straight defeats have caused consternation after small signs of progress were made at the beginning of October and Port Vale should relish this Roots Hall showdown.
Vale are eyeing up a promotion push, and after a series of underwhelming displays, appear to have found something resembling their best form. Salford, Cheltenham and Oldham have been overcome in the Valiants’ past four matches and John Askey's outfit sit inside the top-seven despite facing just one club that currently resides in the bottom-half (Oldham).
Exeter went off around the 8/13 mark around three weeks ago and I suspect Port Vale will contract further from their 3/4 quotes ahead of Saturday’s clash. But we can chuck Under 4.5 Goals into the equation to settle for an even-money offering on the away side instead against the injury-ridden Shrimpers.
Peterborough vs Shrewsbury – Peterborough to win and Over 1.5 Goals (23/20 Betway)
Swindon vs Hull – Hull to win (11/10 William Hill)
Southend vs Port Vale – Port Vale to win and Under 4.5 Goals (1/1 Betway)