Tuesday’s League Two Predictions and Best Bets

Andy

Forest Green Rovers v Rochdale 

Tuesday 8th February – 7:45PM KO

Forest Green Rovers are the runaway leaders in League Two and have their sights set on a first ever promotion to the third tier of English football. 

The Gloucestershire club beat fellow promotion chasers Newport County last time out and their boss, Rob Edwards, said they must not take their “foot off the gas” as they welcome Rochdale to The New Lawn. Rovers have been given a huge boost by the return of key player Ebou Adams from the Africa Cup of Nations. The midfielder represented Gambia in the tournament but is now back in England as he looks to help his side win the league title between now and the end of the season. Regan Hendry slotted in for him whilst he was away on international duty and they didn’t lose whilst the former Celtic man played in the centre of midfield for them which shows how much strength in depth they have. Edwards’ side are also the most prolific side in the division and have scored a mighty 58 goals in just 28 league matches this term to see them rise 10 points clear ahead of 2nd place Tranmere Rovers, who they battered 4-0 earlier this month. They have two of the most lethal strikers in the league in Matty Stevens and Jamille Matt, who have chipped in with 19 and 18 goals respectively. Forest Green don’t just rely on those two for goals though with Nicky Cadden getting six, Jack Aitchinson managing five and Jake Young playing his part with three. In addition, they are that happy with the squad they had at their disposal right now that they didn’t feel the need to make many changes in the last January transfer window. The only player they brought through the door was Kasey McAteer on loan from Premier League side Leicester City to inject a little bit more pace in attacking areas. They haven’t needed him yet though as he has only played once in the league for his new club and has struggled to get in ahead of their current offensive players. 

Rochdale saw their game this past weekend against Carlisle United postponed and haven’t won in their last four games in the league. Robbie Stockdale’s side were relegated from League One in the last campaign but have struggled to get to grips with life in a lower division as they currently sit 18th in the table, eight points above the relegation zone after just six wins all season. The North West side didn’t have the best January transfer window either and lost top scorer Jake Beesley to Championship side Blackpool which was a major blow. He scored 12 goals in all competitions for the Dale during the first-half of this season and they decided to replace him with Luke Charman from National League North side Darlington. Prior to his move to Spotland this winter, the former Newcastle United youngster’s only previous experience of playing in the Football League was a loan spell at Accrington Stanley in 2018 when he failed to find the net in four games. He make take a while to adapt to this level which will work in Forest Green’s advantage going into this clash. 

Prediction: Forest Green to Win, 1.7 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)


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Exeter City v Leyton Orient 

Tuesday 8th February – 7:45PM KO

Exeter City are hoping this is finally the year they get promoted from League Two after a few near misses over recent seasons. 

Matt Taylor’s side are on a roll at the moment and have picked up 11 points from a possible 15. They are unbeaten in their last five games and have risen into the play-offs ahead of Swindon Town. Their boss said he is “delighted” with the strength of their squad going into the remainder of the season as they eye a place in League One. Exeter showed great character to come from behind and beat Swindon last time out so go into their clash against struggling Leyton Orient in good spirits. The Grecians managed to keep hold of key players like Matt Jay and Josh Key in the January transfer window which been a major boost for them this winter. The academy graduates have both been enjoying plenty of game time this term and have each played their part in their recent solid run of form. Jay, 25, has scored 12 goals in all competitions and is well on the way to matching his tally of 18 from the last campaign. Key tends to get forward from right wing-back at every opportunity and has managed to find two goals for himself and has laid on six assists for his teammates. Taylor didn’t feel the need to change up his side last month and opted to stick with the players he currently has at his disposal. The only players who came through the door this winter were attacking pair Kieran Phillips and Offrande Zanzala from Huddersfield Town and Barrow AFC. However, the latter is now out injured for the next couple of months but his absence gives the likes of Jevani Brown, Sam Nombe and Padraig Amond the chance to really stamp their authority in their starting XI. The strength in depth Taylor has been talking has been proven by the fact the 39 league goals they scored have been shared across seven different players. 

Leyton Orient are in for a tough night at St. James Park because they can’t buy a win at the moment. Kenny’s Jackett’s men are winless in their last seven league matches and haven’t won since their 4-1 victory over Swindon Town on 7th December. They have started to slip down the league table and their boss admitted after their 1-0 loss at home to Colchester United over the weekend that they are “lacking confidence” at this moment in time. To make matters worse, the O’s lost Ethan Coleman and Theo Archibald to illness the night before their clash against the U’s. They have both been key players for the London club over recent times, especially the latter who has scored four goals and gained six assists this season from the wing. New signing Otis Khan stepped in for him last time out but he has struggled to make an impact since his switch from Walsall last month as he hasn’t managed to find a goal or an assist yet. They are also seriously short of goals at the moment as well and have only managed two since their last win whilst leaking eight at the other end of the pitch. 

 Prediction: Exeter to Win, 2.0 on Betfair  (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)


Oldham Athletic v Bristol Rovers

Tuesday 8th February – 7:45PM KO

Oldham Athletic have brought John Sheridan back to the club for a sixth spell as they look to avoid relegation to the National League. 

Their new boss has been in charge for two games since taking the job late last month and his side haven’t conceded under his guidance yet. They picked up a 0-0 draw against Rochdale before beating relegation rivals Scunthorpe United 1-0 last time out thanks to Junior Luamba’s late strike to boost their survival hopes. They are going into this week’s clash against Bristol Rovers in confident mood as they look to close the gap to 22rd place Carlisle United which currently stands at five points. However, the Latics have a game in-hand on the Cumbrians as well which they will be desperate to use to their advantage. Sheridan made the decision to sign Tope Obadeyi on a free transfer last week and the former England youth international made a positive impression as he played the full 90 minutes on his debut over the weekend. He injects quality into their ranks and provides some much needed competition and depth to their attacking options. The club let Zack Dearnley leave the club last week to join FC Halifax Town and seem to have found the ideal player to replace him with Obadeyi possessing more Football League experience at the age of 32 having previously had spells in the past at Bolton Wanderers and Bury. Sheridan and Oldham are a match made in heaven and his return has given them hope that they can avoid relegation to non-league this term and Bristol Rovers will see this match as a potential banana skin. The Mancunian said his side “controlled” the game against Scunthorpe and has made an immediate impression over the past two matches. 

Bristol Rovers have turned a corner recently after their poor start to the season and seem to have clicked as a side now. They are full of goals at the moment and picked up an impressive point away at promotion chasing Sutton United last time out courtesy of a late Antony Evans penalty, a result that their manager Joey Barton said he was “delighted” with. The Pirates haven’t lost for six games now and their last defeat came against Port Vale back on 7th December which shows they are a force to be reckoned with. They have also scored in every game they have played in since their loss to table toppers Forest Green Rovers in late November meaning form suggests they will find the net against Oldham this week. Their top scorer is Aaron Collins on seven goals and he has also chipped in with seven assists for his teammates so is the player that Sheridan and the Latics need to keep a close eye on. 

Prediction: Both Teams to Score, 1.75 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)


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Mansfield v Colchester

Tuesday 8th February – 7:45PM KO

Mansfield Town are on a roll in League Two and have turned into serious promotion contenders this season. 

Nigel Clough is an experienced boss in the Football League having previously managed the likes of Derby County, Sheffield United and Burton Albion and has started to put his own stamp on the Nottinghamshire outfit. They found themselves in the lower half of the league table going into this winter but a streak of eight league games without a defeat has seen them rise into the play-offs over the past couple of months. Mansfield had a very impressive January transfer window and massively strengthened their squad ahead of the second-half of the season with Clough saying he has a “much stronger” squad now after their late flurry of additions. They have also extended John-Joe O’Toole’s contract until the end of the campaign amid interest from elsewhere which is a big boost considering they haven’t lost a game when he has been playing since his free transfer switch in late October. Recent arrivals Jamie Murphy and Lucas Akins are two players who are more used to be playing in the Championship or League One than League Two over recent years which shows the pulling power the Stags now have to players. They both inject some useful experience into their ranks and will be looking to use their know-how to help them in their push for promotion. Luring Matty Longstaff down from Newcastle United is arguably Mansfield’s best signing of the transfer window though as he is a player who has made 20 Premier League appearances so far in his career despite still being 21. Clough said the youngster was given the green light to move to Field Mill to get some game time under his belt between now and the summer after his recent loan spell at Aberdeen didn’t work out in the end due to a lack of opportunities. Longstaff is in line to make his debut against Colchester and the U’s face a real battle in keeping him quiet based on the level he has been playing since scoring on his debut against Manchester United back in 2019. 

Wayne Brown has done a steady job since taking over the Essex club from Hayden Mullins on a temporary basis. They appear to have turned a corner over recent weeks and haven’t lost since the former Hull City centre-back took over late last month. Brown said their win against Leyton Orient last time out was a “brilliant” result but they were up against it as they were missing John Akinde through Covid and Emyr Huws because of injury. They were replaced by Corie Andrews and Cole Skuse respectively who in fairness put in impressive shifts but there will be question marks as to whether they can both play two games in four days. Akin and Huws remain doubts for the trip to Mansfield which could play into Mansfield’s plans. 

Prediction: Mansfield to Win, 1.73 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)


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