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Match Previews

League 2 Preview: March 25th

22 March 2016

Elliott Horne takes a look at what's in store this weekend

EXETER CITY welcome Barnet to St James Park this weekend, where a win for the Grecians would give them the possibility of going as high as tenth in Sky Bet League 2.

The Grecians will be in search of a win to take another three points and hopefully take them higher in the Sky Bet League 2 table. With two games to play over the Easter weekend, six points would be the best possible preparation for the Devon derby against Plymouth a week Saturday.

Here’s a full schedule of the games being played in the Sky Bet League 2 on Friday. All games are to kick off at 3pm:

Friday 25th March

Accrington Stanley v Leyton Orient
Barnet v Exeter City
Bristol Rovers v Cambridge United
Hartlepool United v AFC Wimbledon
Luton Town P-P Dagenham & Redbridge (postponed due to international call-ups)
Morecambe v Plymouth Argyle
Northampton Town v Newport County AFC
Oxford United v Stevenage
Portsmouth v Notts County
Wycombe Wanderers v Mansfield
Yeovil Town v Carlisle United
York City v Crawley Town

Northampton Town host Newport County AFC at Sixfields this Friday. A win may see the hosts go sixteen points clear at the top of Sky Bet League 2, and put them well and truly in the driving seat with regards to securing automatic promotion. The Cobblers are just three wins away from guaranteeing that they will be in League 1 next season, and, should they continue to win, their first opportunity to seal the League 2 title will be when they visit St James Park on April 16th.

Oxford United sit comfortably in second place and will be confident of joining Northampton in the automatic promotion slots. They have played one more game than the Cobblers, so catching them looks an increasingly difficult task. If the unlikely happens and they miss out on the top three, they will be amongst the favourites for the play-offs, but a win this weekend would take them to seventy-four points, meaning the teams  behind them would be left with just eight games to turn around the six-point gap. Stevenage are the guests at the Kassam Stadium, and they most certainly still have something to play for, as just seven points separate them in 22nd and York City in 23rd.

Bristol Rovers look to hold on to their newfound position in the top three when the U’s of Cambridge United travel to the Memorial Stadium, as their hopes of back-to-back promotions look all the more promising. Darrell Clarke’s side have now won their last five in a row, and usurped Plymouth Argyle into the automatic promotion places when they won 4-1 at Newport County AFC last weekend.

Plymouth, who are joint on points with the Gas, will be looking for a win away to eighteenth-placed Morecambe. Plymouth are without a win in their last four, so will need to rediscover their early-season form if they are to return to the top-three positions which they have occupied for the majority of the season.

Sixteenth-placed Crawley Town travel to York City this week, and a win for the Red Devils would take them within three points of the Grecians. Things are looking difficult for York at the moment, as they have tasted defeat seven times in the last ten games. Jackie McNamara will need to arrest the slide if they are to have any hope of catching Stevenage and making a great escape.

Dagenham & Redbridge will be unable to make up any ground on the sides ahead of them for a while, with their next scheduled game looking a long time away (a home match against Morecambe on April 5th).   They had been due to travel to Luton on Friday, with the Hatters fresh off their success against Plymouth. Boss Nathan Jones’s side are in a good position for a late assault on the play-offs, and are one of the sides that City have to overcome if they are to reach the top seven.

Two sides in the play-offs meet when Accrington Stanley play host to Leyton Orient. Kevin Nolan’s Orient need a win if they are to be sure of remaining in the play-off positions going into Monday’s fixtures. City recorded a league double over Orient this season, but the Matchroom Stadium club are being closely chased by two sides who have done the double over City this season in Wycombe Wanderers and AFC Wimbledon.

Neal Ardley’s Wimbledon head to Hartlepool, who are still to secure their League 2 status for next season. On paper it looks a more comfortable challenge than Wycombe’s home match against Mansfield, who are level on points with the Grecians in mid-table. Finally, Portsmouth’s goal difference means they look quite likely to remain in the play-off positions come Monday. They play host to Notts County (who are under Mark Cooper’s management for the first time) at Fratton Park.

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