The Promotion Race: Posh look to negotiate tricky Fleetwood trip with Coventry and Wycombe ready to pounce

We take a look at the weekend’s fixtures with Peterborough (without top scorer Ivan Toney) look to keep hold of second place with a win at Fleetwood. If they fail to collect three points, Coventry and Wycombe will be looking to overtake them with favourable games on the road to the basement clubs Southend and Bolton.

Bolton v Wycombe

Our Prediction: 1-2

The Experts:

TheWycombeWay: It’ll be a far more familiar Bolton side this weekend for Wycombe, having faced a very young and inexperienced Bolton side on the opening day of the season.

There’s been a lot of positives so far this season, Bolton’s arguably being a lot more substantial, the fact that the have games to fulfill every week should be viewed as a bonus for any football fan. The teams now sit at opposite ends of the table, with Wycombe fighting for a spot in the Championship and Bolton looking doomed towards league two football in the summer.

Saturday could mark Fred Onyedinma’s first start for Wycombe in over four months, as they look to bounce back from a shambolic performance on Tuesday as Fleetwood took the points.

Prediction: 1-2

Fleetwood v Peterborough

Our Prediction: 1-1

The Experts:

Jarred Farmer: We go into this game away at Fleetwood without our top Goalscorer Ivan Toney which is a huge loss, our whole style of play is manufactured around him, however we have goals in all areas of the pitch. Fleetwood are also without their striker Ched Evans. We’re coming off 6 wins on the bounce, I think we’ll remain unbeaten.

Prediction: 2-2

Gillingham v Doncaster

Our Prediction: 1-1

The Experts:

IntoTheEmptyNet: Now that we’ve seen off Bolton, Rovers are hoping for a bit of consistency going forward as the games get back to one-a-week for a while. Gillingham are no pushovers, they beat us 3-0 in the FA Cup at Priestfield and actually haven’t lost a league game since before that game, stretching 12 matches. I’d say they’re still just about capable of mounting a Play-Off push. But we are in good form away from home ourselves and have amassed 20 points from 10 games in 2020, the joint best in League One.

Fejiri Okenabirhie has notched two goals in his first three appearances and looked the real deal on Tuesday night. He and Niall Ennis both finished off superb team moves to give us a 2-1 win and when it all clicks together I don’t think many teams can live with us. Steve Evans has got Gillingham playing in his image and they will be a really tough nut to crack, they’ve got great fighting spirit and enough quality to hurt us, but I hope we can start to find a better rhythm with performances and results with a more settled XI.

Prediction: 1-1

Ipswich v Burton

Our Prediction: 1-0

The Experts:

BackingTheBlues: The last three weeks have been a huge disappointed. All I can hope for is a change on Saturday in the first of our many home games. Town need to start winning, and soon, or we can forget about promotion!

Prediction: 2-1

BurtonBible: Another draw on Tuesday extended the winless run and although Clough made multiple changes we still looked dead on our feet in the second half. Despite this poor run, which to be fair to the squad had come against some of the top sides in the division, we are still only 7 points of the playoffs with plenty of games left.

We need to turn things around soon though and what better place to build momentum than away against a promotion rival. Lucas Akins broke his scoring draught in the week and Jamie Murphy continues to find the net almost every game. The new signings have boosted squad depth its time for them to start boosting the results now.

Prediction: 3-2

Oxford v Sunderland

Our Prediction: 1-2

The Experts:

Dale Ventham: We face another difficult task this weekend as we welcome in-form Sunderland.

On Tuesday night, we twice came from behind against Burton Albion to earn what could be a vital point, but we’ve picked up just six points from a possible 21 since the turn of the new year. In that time, Sunderland have won seven and lost just once.

It will be a tricky game for sure, but these are the sort of games we tend to do better in. If we are still serious about promotion, we need to start finding some wins and this could be a great opportunity.

The last four meetings between us have all ended 1-1, so although I’d like three points, I can’t see beyond that scoreline again!

Prediction: 1-1

SunderLad: Fifth placed Sunderland AFC travel to the Kassam Stadium for the second time this season. Last time they visited was a disappointing 1-1 draw in the league cup which led to a penalty shootout that Oxford won. Both teams are in completely different form right now. Sunderland have become watertight at the back and have become almost impossible to break down. Despite Oxford’s late fight back against the barcodes, they should be no match to the red and white Army.

Prediction: 0-2

Portsmouth v Shrewsbury

Our Prediction: 3-0

The Experts:

Sam Stone: Pompey will be looking to bounce back from their first defeat of the year, and the end of their record-breaking run, against a stuttering Shrewsbury side.

Jackett’s men succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to Coventry on Tuesday; a game that looked destined for a rather ugly 0-0 draw. However, the Sky Blues had the last laugh after a sustained period of Pompey pressure, as substitute Matty Godden’s smart finish propelled Mark Robins’ men to the brink of the automatic promotion places.

In all fairness, neither side clearly demonstrated their good recent form. Pompey looked very solid defensively but were stifled going forward, in open play and through the lack of set-pieces. Pompey committed 15 fouls compared to Coventry’s one and they deserve credit for this tactic to prevent Pompey from exhibiting their set-piece prowess. Coventry were a frustrating watch, with plenty of aimless passes. They had a clear desire to play attractive football however it wasn’t necessarily working, creating next to nothing up until the 85th minute. A point would have probably been the right result with Pompey putting in a workman like performance to add to their growing collection of sub-par performances on the road. Coventry taking all three points may have flattered them.

Pompey now start, on paper, a very welcoming run of fixtures over the next two weeks. Three homes games against, Shrewsbury, Rochdale and MK Dons all provide a great opportunity to get straight back on track. Given Pompey’s home record, nine points is a must from these games. Shrewsbury are struggling at the moment and are definitely there for the taking if Pompey perform like they did in their last home game against Sunderland.

Andy Cannon’s absence on Tuesday was a big loss. Pompey couldn’t build any cohesion between the midfield and attack. The former Rochdale man’s close control, energy and bite was clearly missed on Tuesday. If he is fit, he will most likely come back into the midfield for Ben Close or Cameron McGeehan on Saturday.

Aside from Godden’s well taken goal Pompey’s defence was relatively untroubled on Tuesday. As Shrewsbury have struggled for goals this season, it will be another good opportunity for the back five to notch another clean sheet.

Ellis Harrison can count himself extremely unlucky not to be in the starting 11 at the moment. From the bench Harrison immediately influenced the game against Sunderland. Again, on Tuesday he had a similar impact, almost scoring straight away from a cross. John Marquis may have to except playing second fiddle at the moment as Harrison offers the side so much more with his overall game. His heading, physicality, pace and work-rate are invaluable to the side.

I fully expect Pompey to bounce back immediately against the Shrews. After Pompey’s last defeat against MK Dons in December, the team responded with a nine-game winning run and these upcoming fixtures present a realistic chance of making up some ground on the Automatic places which are still only four points away.

Given our home form and a packed ‘Fortress Fratton’ I feel this should be a routine day at the office.

Prediction: 3-0

Rotherham v AFC Wimbledon

Our Prediction: 4-0

The Experts:

Andrew Topham: Rotherham face league one strugglers AFC Wimbledon at home this weekend and most are expecting a home win.

The Millers have been under par in their last two games but still managed to win both. Wimbledon will likely come to contain Rotherham and we will have to be patient to continue our good form and stay top of the league. Don’t expect too many changes to the side and predict a nervy win.

Prediction: 2-0

Southend v Coventry

Our Prediction: 1-3

The Experts:

NiiLampteyShow: We’ve got Southend on Saturday. Southend have won 3 games this season, we have lost three games this season, but you know what? Wouldn’t it just be bloody football for them to beat us! I have a saying about football. I say, ‘it’s a funny old game’. And it really is.

Be if I can be serious for a minute, we’re gonna thrash Southend on Saturday. We’re gonna annihilate them. We’re gonna make them wish they’d never even got into football and instead just made fish or sold sand or whatever everyone else who lives by the coast does.

We’re gonna make mincemeat of them. Both kinds too, the Christmas kind AND the spag bol kind. Then just to really mess with them we’ll put BOTH kinds into a chilli con carne which we will season with their delicious salty tears.

Prediction: 0-1

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