League One Preview: Bolton entertain Fleetwood, Scunthorpe host Gillingham
The pick of today’s League One fixtures sees early pacesetters Bolton Wanderers take on Fleetwood Town at fortress Macron [Stadium].
Phil Parkinson’s side have hit the front early, and are the only side with their 100% record still intact in the division. Three wins from three games suggest the points could be heading that way in this North West derby.
Fleetwood won’t be there just to make up the numbers though and are still unbeaten in the league with one win and two draws on their current resume. Uwe Rosler will be looking towards Ashley Hunter to add to his two goals this season after the young striker signed a new three-year deal earlier this week.
Five teams sit below Bolton on seven points, and two of them will meet at Glanford Park as Scunthorpe United welcome Gillingham both hoping to remain unbeaten.
Gills will have to do without striker Joe Quigley, as the on-loan Bournemouth youngster will be out for the rest of the season after suffering anterior cruciate ligament damage, and has therefore returned to Dean Court prematurely.
Second-placed Chesterfield travel to Shrewsbury Town confident of stretching their own undefeated sequence, having seen off a decent Walsall team earlier in the week.
The Shrews on the other hand approach the game after a 3-0 humbling at Charlton Athletic, with only one point on the board, sitting deep in the mire with only the pointless AFC Wimbledon below them. The aforementioned Walsall and Charlton meet at the Bescot Stadium this weekend.
AFC Wimbledon travel to equally winless Northampton Town, desperate to get something from the match. The Cobblers have made a steady start to life in League One with three straight draws, but may have been guilty of being a little too cagey in their early matches.
They’ll be hoping Sam Hoskins can break the shackles and get the win machine in motion, recreating the form that propelled them so effectively out of League Two last season.
Swindon Town sit one point and one place above Northampton, and only have one win to their name – they know wins are three times better than a draw and their recent capture of former Aston Villa striker Nathan Delfouneso on a contract until the end of the season (following his release from Blackburn Rovers) is a clear signal of their intent.
The Robins welcome fifth-placed Port Vale to the County Ground, Bruno Ribeiro’s Valiants another of the sides yet to lose a game in this already tight division.
Bradford City are the last of the unbeaten sides looking down from on high, they will hope that Coventry City will be the latest side to succumb to the power of the Bantams at Valley Parade. Coventry so far have no wins to their name, and are stuck on two points towards the foot of the table, however it says something that their predicament is not as bad as that of two of the other big names in the division.
Oxford United (One point) will be aware that a loss at home to a Peterborough United side sat poised just outside the play-off places will leave something of a mountain to be climbed, and Sheffield United (also One point, but one goal less) are an even bigger surprise given their player roster and ambitions, their struggle makes 13th placed Millwall’s plight seem positively rosy. A loss at the The Den couldn’t mean the exit door for Chris Wilder, could it?
Elsewhere, 16th takes on 17th as Southend United host Bristol Rovers at Roots Hall. Shrimpers manager Phil Brown conjuring up the bizarrest story of the transfer window so far as he confirmed he is considering a move to sign out-of-favour Posh midfielder Jack Payne to replace Southend’s very own Jack Payne (who has upped and left to join Huddersfield Town).
Sadly for Brown, and trivia writers, the move has yet to be completed so the Pirates game will be a Payne-less experience for all concerned.
In the final game today, we have another North West derby as Oldham Athletic travel to take on Bury. The Latics sit in 19th place and need three points if they are going to trouble the movers and the Shakers.
It might be the beautiful game, but for those teams struggling at the bottom, they’d settle for winning ugly right now.