Burnley vs Huddersfield
Vincent Kompany’s side are bound for a Premier League return and nothing looks to be stopping them. They moved 12 points clear at the summit after claiming a good point at Millwall in midweek.
They’ve been beaten just twice all season, neither of which have came at Turf Moor.
They’ve won 12, drawn 5 out of 17 games on their own turf and only Millwall have conceded fewer goals (12) than the 13 The Clarets have suffered here this season.
Already storming clear, that didn’t stop Burnley strengthening further with the signings of Michael Obafemi, Lyle Foster and Swedish centre-half Hjalmar Ekdal.
Their metrics are superb, especially at home where they average an xG of 1.68 and an xGA of just 0.90.
Huddersfield have had a torrid season; despite making it to the play-offs last season, the loss of Carlos Corberan was catastrophic.
Mark Fotheringham endured a tough stint and now 74 year old Neil Warnock is at the helm. Things have started well too with a win over Birmingham but this trip presents a task too great, even for a legend liek Warnock.
The Terriers have the single worst away record in the division. They’ve taken 10 points on the road from a possible 48.
They’ve only scored 14 goals and have blanked in 3 of their last 4. Against the likes of Stoke and Wigan, who are far weaker sides than Burnley.
Under Warnock’s stewardship, there’s every chance Huddersfield do begin an upward trajectory but the reality is; these two are streets apart in terms of quality and you’ve got a side who’ve won 2 away games all season travelling to a side who haven’t lost a single home game.
Bolton vs Port Vale
Ian Evatt’s Bolton side are flying right now, particularly at home and sit 4th in League One.
On their own turf, they’ve won 4 on the spin and have been beaten just twice all season. Largely down to how mean their defence is, incredibly they’ve allowed just 8 goals at home all season.
They’ve kept a clean sheet in 71% of their home matches, which is pretty remarkable.
Get this – it’s now been 898 minutes since they last conceded a goal at home. A goals scored by Bristol Rovers in the 2nd minute has been followed up by 9, yes NINE straight clean sheets at home in all comps.
Vale have won just 1 of their last 6 on their travels and barring a trip to Hillsborough, their recent away fixtures have been pretty favourable with trips to Morecambe, Cheltenham and Forest Green.
Bolton are allowing away sides just 8.41 shots per game, with only 2.4 hitting the target. It’s pretty difficult to imagine an away side causing any damage here, especially one faltering like Vale are.
Fleetwood vs Morecambe
Things finally seem to be clicking for the Cod Army under the guidance of former Celtic skipper Scott Brown.
Their recent surge up the league is the greatest turnaround the club has seen since Brown rocked up with a full head of black hair.
They’ve won 3 of their last 4 and haven’t conceded a goal in their last 3 outings. Their 1-0 win at home to Cambridge moved them up to 13th; 9 points of daylight now separates them from the relegation zone and there’s a new feel good factor around the side.
It’s been a real show of character in a tough set of fixtures too with Town knocking off Charlton and Peterborough whilst holding firm to a 0-0 against joint league leaders Plymouth.
By comparison, Morecambe have been having a bit of a tough time. They did break their poor run with a win over Port Vale, however they fluked that – producing just a 0.27 xG to Vale’s 1.39.
Things have been particularly alarming on the road, where they’re averaging an xG of just 0.72 but a huge 2.19 xGA. Their last 4 away games have all been defeats, by an aggregate scoreline of 13-0.
In fact, they’re 10 without an away win in League One, taking just 2 points from the 30 on offer.
‘win either half’ effectively allows us 2 attempts at a positive result for Fleetwood here. I can’t see how they don’t come out on top in one the 45 minute periods.