League Two Preview: Luton travel to Stevenage, Portsmouth host Colchester
Top of the table Luton Town travel to Stevenage, heading the list of four rather unfamiliar names sitting unbeaten at the summit of League Two.
Stevenage are at the other end of the division, one place off rock-bottom. The temperature is likely to be at boiling point as the pride of Bedfordshire enter into deepest darkest Hertfordshire for this encounter – who will end up with the bragging rights though and who will end up with the cold shoulder once this battle between near neighbours is over?
Colchester United are in second place right now, whilst pre-season favourites Portsmouth have fallen down to 20th without a win to their name.
Third-placed Mansfield Town travel to 19th placed Plymouth Argyle. Portsmouth and Plymouth have simply not got started so far this season, like a lumbering sprinter stumbling out of the blocks, they will hope to get quickly into their stride otherwise this early stutter could prove fatal to their aspirations of getting over the line in a promotion place.
As the table currently stands, there is some early season appeal in seeing who wins in the game between fourth placed Crawley Town and sixth placed Barnet at Broadfield Stadium. The Bees are buzzing, but will the Red Devils be their undoing?
Sat between those sides in fifth are Morecambe. Jim Bentley’s Shrimps will hope to enjoy their summer day out at Huish Park, Yeovil Town, but the Glovers will be seeking to bounce back from their defeat to Mansfield in midweek.
Fourth from bottom, Notts County, are another big side struggling to get to terms with life in League Two this term.
They are unlikely to get much respite as they travel to a Hartlepool United, the team occupying the final play-off spot. Craig Hignett is something of a legend in the North East given his long service and hard work as a player at nearby Middlesbrough, but as a manager, his Pools side have been gaining plaudits in their own right.
Expect Victoria Park to be rocking again as the John Sheridan’s Magpies look to upset the form book.
Eighth-placed Crewe Alexandra travel to a Newport County side who were only beaten by a late penalty last time out against table-toppers Luton. Manager Warren Feeney will want to show that the controversial comments of Hatters’ midfielder Cameron McGeehan in the wake of that ill-tempered victory have done nothing but inspire his side to better things.
McGeehan will likely suffer some official sanction for his outburst, but the well-liked Feeney must settle his players and get them focused back on the job in hand.
Carlisle United are lurking behind Crewe in the table and will want to put Cambridge United to the sword in the battle of the Uniteds. Cambridge are third from bottom, without a win, and will hope home support at the Abbey Stadium will count for something.
The U’s have signed Bristol Rovers midfielder Jake Gosling on loan until January, the Gibraltar international had played 49 times for Rovers, helping them win promotions from non-league to League One, but has found his game time severely restricted this campaign.
There are three more games which will see some mid-table jostling as Cheltenham Town take on Doncaster Rovers, Blackpool host Wycombe Wanderers and Grimsby Town welcome Leyton Orient, but the match which will certainly contain intrigue, guile and goals is Accrington Stanley against Exeter City.
Manager Paul Tisdale will feel his Grecians have been hard done by thus far, but three defeats from three are hard statistics to argue against. The only silver lining to the dark clouds of Exeter’s league campaign was that 15-year-old Ethan Ampadu played like a seasoned professional when the teenager became the club’s youngest player in a 1-0 extra-time EFL Cup victory against Brentford.
Classy and composed, certainly, but can a 15-year-old starlet really carry the hopes and responsibility for his underperforming team-mates?
One thing is for sure, if Stanley can sense blood today they will be likely looking for the kill.