GUISELEY and Fleetwood do battle on Monday night in the FA Cup 2nd Round and lower league lover Gab Sutton (@_FootbalLab) shares his best bets for the cup clash.
Guiseley v Fleetwood | Monday 3rd December 2018, 20:00 | BT Sport
Guiseley and Fleetwood complete the FA Cup 2nd Round action at Nethermoor Park on Monday night. Will the Cod Army salmon the strength to progress to Round Three, or could the Lions roar?
Here’s our preview.
Transitional period for Guiseley
In the modern game, it is very difficult for a club to be successful in the upper-echelons of the non-league pyramid without either a sizeable fanbase, or a lot of off-field investment.
Guiseley do not have the benefit of either; it was a great achievement in many ways to play in the fifth-tier for two seasons but, after relegation last term, they have had to cut their budget to initiate an extensive re-building process.
New manager Marcus Bignot, who won promotion from this level with Solihull Moors, has been tasked with reducing the average age as the club looks to find income from key sales before plotting a promotion push.
The natives have warmed to Bignot, who is a passionate, emotive character always keen to engage with supporters; he has also re-organised the Lions, who have conceded just 20 goals in 18, giving them the best defensive record in the bottom half.
Ode to Odejayi
Remember that crazy FA Cup in 2007/08? When Barnsley beat Liverpool and Chelsea to reach the semi-finals? That 1-0 victory over Avram Grant’s eventual Champions League finalists came courtesy of a header from Kayode Odejayi.
Now 36, the powerful front-man is something of an enigma within the English game; he has never thrived consistently above League Two level, yet appears capable of random moments of brilliance.
It was also in the FA Cup that he played very well against Newcastle in a 4th Round clash in 2006, gaining attention for dominating Jean-Alain Boumsong.
The veteran is unlikely to start due to his lack of pace, with Rowan Liburd expected to be preferred as the most advanced forward. He is, however, somebody Bignot might be tempted to bring on if chasing the game and for that reason, we’ll take Odejayi to score last at 12/1 (Betway).
Barton takes no-nonsense
After overseeing a poor performance at Plymouth, in which the hosts hit the woodwork twice before capitalising on their dominance in a 2-1 win, Joey Barton did not publicly hit out at his players.
The fact he made six changes for the following league game, however, spoke volumes and the players who did come in all contributed to an impressive 3-0 victory over Coventry.
After an entertaining first half that somehow ended goalless, the Cod Army were more clinical in the second half. Dean Marney, who’s return from injury represents a massive boost, capped a dominant midfield performance with a rifled opener.
Wes Burns, who makes a lot of driving runs in from the right, added a second before Ched Evans showed signs of re-capturing his early season form by grabbing the third.
Although Barton wants his Fleetwood side to use the ball well, he also wants them to display the kind of mental toughness and willingness to battle that he once showed as a player.
If they can find that balance in West Yorkshire, they should be able to match the work ethic of the non-league hosts and then beat them on quality.
The betting angle
Our best bet is BetStars’ 19/10 on Fleetwood to score three or more goals; odds which imply a probability of 35%. The Fylde-coast outfit have achieved that feat in four of their 20 League One games this season; that’s a 20% chance, leaving a probability gap of only 15%, for which we can account for differences in opposition.
Domestically, they face some very good defenders like Matt Clarke of Portsmouth and Ethan Pinnock of Barnsley, but sixth-tier Guiseley, although solid at their level, are operating on a part-time basis and thus could struggle in terms of fitness.
For that reason, the quality of Fleetwood’s attack should be strong enough to bag three or more as Barton’s side seek a comfortable passage into the 3rd Round.
Guiseley v Fleetwood – Fleetwood to score three of more goals (19/10 BetStars)
Guiseley v Fleetwood – Kayode Odejayi to score last (12/1 Betway)