The Promotion Race: Some tasty midweek clashes as Coventry host leaders Rotherham and Fleetwood travel to Sunderland
We take a look at midweek fixture list with several of the teams who feature in the Promotion Race in action. Coventry host leaders Rotherham at St Andrews with the two only separated by goal difference. Meanwhile, fourth placed Sunderland host sixth place Fleetwood. Joey Barton’s men have seemingly hit form at the right time and head to the Stadium of Light on the back of a fine win against Portsmouth.
Coventry v Rotherham
Our Prediction: 2-1
NiiLampteyShow: Despite the win on Saturday, the performance against Rochdale brought us right back down to earth. In the first twenty minutes we looked like we were going to win 4-0, but slowly as the game went on we became complacent and had not fortune been in our favour we could have easily thrown the three points away.
Rotherham have the second best away form in the division behind, errr, us, but our home form all season has been formidable. Much will be decided by what Rotherham want out of the game. If they come to St Andrews looking for three points they will likely get none, but if they play for a draw they could very well get it or possibly more if they get a touch of the luck Rochdale didn’t.
Avoiding defeat would see us set a new club league record of 12 undefeated in a row, but more importantly it would be a statement that we really are contenders for winning it this season ahead of another potentially season defining game against Sunderland on Sunday.
The other thing to bear in mind is that Rotherham are one of only three teams to beat us in the league this season and the only team to really dismantle us. I’m very used to Cov looking awful every game but this season its only the reverse fixture where this has happened. It might mean nothing or it might mean something. We’ve literally no way of knowing
Andrew Topham: It’s first vs. second as the Millers face Coventry in Birmingham on Tuesday night. Coventry have only lost 3 games all season, one of which was a 4-0 drubbing at the New York Stadium. They will be looking to avenge this defeat and take top spot from the Millers.
Expect an unchanged Rotherham side with top scorer Ladapo being used as an impact sub. It’s the business end of what is going to be a very tight League One season and I expect a tight affair at St Andrews.
Oxford v Accrington Stanley
Our Prediction: 3-0
Dale Ventham: After an impressive win away at promotion rivals Ipswich Town, (sorry), we now face back to back home games which are games we should really be picking up maximum points.
On Tuesday, we welcome a fairly in form Accrington Stanley side. Before an unfortunate late defeat against league leaders Rotherham at the weekend, Stanley had won their last we three games.
We meanwhile have won two on the bounce, scoring six and conceding zero. Matty Taylor has scored four in his last four and it looks as though our dip in form is behind us.
Portsmouth v MK Dons
Our Prediction: 4-1
Sam Stone: It is starting to feel like a pivotal point in the season for Pompey. Form since Christmas has been good, however two defeats in the last three has increased the gap to the top two. Saturday’s defeat to an in-form Fleetwood was easily Pompey’s worst performance of 2020. In inability to create good quality chances away from home has become an issue. If Jackett’s men fail to take the lead, they really do struggle to carve out any clear-cut opportunities on goal.
On Tuesday night MK Dons make the trip to Fratton looking for their first away win in five months, whilst Pompey will be looking to make it 14 wins out of their last 15 Fratton Park games; the main reason they are threatening near the top of the table. I mentioned earlier that this is a crucial run of fixtures. Pompey have five home games coming up against favourable opposition, whilst some of the other big hitters in League One will be facing up against each other, so it’s an ideal chance to cement a place in the play-offs, and put pressure on the top two. Sunderland v Fleetwood and Coventry v Rotherham both playing on Tuesday means some ground can be gained with a win against Russel Martin’s men.
In the previous fixture Pompey failed to capitalise on a good opening 30 minutes before some sloppy defending gifted the Dons two easy goals before they put in a good display in the 2nd period to win the game 3-1. They have proven to be a good side, especially at home. However, away from home has been a different story for them and on paper it should be another dominant display at home from Pompey. Ellis Harrison and Andy Cannon are still slight doubts. Cannon has been badly missed. In my opinion if he had played against Coventry and Fleetwood Pompey have gained a point at the very least in both fixtures. That is how crucial he has been to the Blues. He provides energy, bite and can link the midfield and forward line so effectively. It is a must win game on Tuesday, with the teams who are facing each other and the games in hand Pompey have, a winnable game like this must not be passed up.
I do feel that MK will be a tough side to break down but eventually the pressure from Pompey will see them breakthrough and see out a comfortable 2-0 win with Ronan Curtis and Marquis both getting on the scoresheet.
Sunderland v Fleetwood
Our Prediction: 2-1
SunderLAD: Sunderland AFC take on Fleetwood Town for the second time in 2020. Their last meeting being a 1-1 draw at Fleetwood. The visitors have been on a good run, clawing their way into the playoff positions, but Sunderland’s form is even better and they are within striking distance of the top. There is no love lost between these two.
Fleetwood were one of the few teams to enjoy victory at Sunderland last season and their manager, Joey Barton is about as popular as Harvey Weinstein at a #MeToo event. He hates Sunderland (being an ex-Mag) and our hatred is mutual. It will be a close one, but one the home team should win.
Alexander Redford: We make a long journey in some awful weather to Sunderland yet we have seemed to handle the previous conditions well. Both of our last two matches were played in poor weather and we won both against teams of similar strength to Sunderland. Our last match ended in a deserved draw the goals both coming from penalties.
However this team are on great form and a changed side from back in early January and we will be extremely lucky to continue the win streak however I believe that we could scavenge a point at the stadium of light if we can deal with their attack and the conditions.