Derby vs Cheltenham
Derby collapsed at Barnsley at the weekend and need a response as they return to the creature comforts of Pride Park to face a Cheltenham side who’ve travelled dreadfully in League One this season.
On home soil, The Rams have been beaten just twice this season, winning 11/16 matches. Their metrics improve nicely on their own turf, they average a hefty 1.96 xGF, compared to 1.73 at home and they restrict their opponents to just 0.92 xG, compared to 1.26 away.
The feeling is that this side possess a level of quality above that of League One. McGoldrick, Hourihane, Collins and Mendez-Laing are all well versed in higher tiers and also provide this Derby side with a steely experience which has helped them grind out results where necessary.
Cheltenham are 23 points behind Derby and have won just 1 of their last 8 league games. Away from home they’ve lost 5 of their last 6 and shipped 4 against both Plymouth and Portsmouth.
They’re poor at creating chances, an issue that is magnified on the road. They’ve scored just 12 away goals in 17 outings. A stat that makes grim reading given Derby’s ability to limit their opponents chances.
Wrexham vs Chesterfield
This is probably the most favourable price you’ll get on a Wrexham home win this season. Although Chesterfield are a good calibre of opposition; they travel here in woeful form. At one stage a real contender, they’ve now slipped to 5th and risk a real scrap for their place in the play-offs with just a 4 point gap to teams outside.
The Spireites have now gone 8 NL games without a win, which is quite remarkable given how well they’d done in the league up until the rot started. 3 straight draws perhaps showed some signs of recovery, but a 1-0 home defeat to Oldham on Saturday is nothing short of embarrassing.
Looking ahead to this game a few months ago, it could’ve been an opportunity for the visitors to stake their claim to top spot but after that dreadful run, they’re now 26 points behind Wrexham. In that 8 game run, where Chesterfield haven’t won, the hosts have churned out an incredible 7 wins and a draw. Which really shows how that gap has been allowed to open up.
It’s a huge night for the star-owned Welsh side. Despite their relentless form, they’re still 2nd in the league as Notts County have refused to budge for so long at the summit. County have played 2 extra game and don’t play tonight. Not only that, they lost at the weekend meaning Wrexham can finally get ahead; provided they win tonight.
And, I’m very confident they will. As decent as Chesterfield are, Wrexham are a cut above. Thanks to the fame and the money, they’ve built a squad that would be competitive in League One. Paul Mullin and Ollie Palmer in attack could trouble any defence, in this division, they’ve tortured them.
In 16 home games, Wrexham have knocked in an astounding 54 goals. As a result they’ve won 15/16 and remain unbeaten in front of their own fans. It’s expected to be a big attendance tonight at The Racecourse and that should drive Wrexham on to take top spot in the National league.
Boreham Wood vs Dorking
As much as I love Dorking. Their gung-ho style of play is glorious for betting on goals and as effective as they can be in attack, when your own manager simply states ‘we’re just sh** at defending’ you know things aren’t great.
He’s right though, Wanderers have conceded 76 goals in the league this season; the highest of any side in the National League. Their early season ability to outgun their defensive issues has tailed off and now relegation is a real threat for Marc White’s side.
It’s 1 win in 8 and that came against lowly Torquay. On the road it’s 6 straight losses and no wins on their travels since September of last year.
Boreham Wood’s style is pretty contrasting, but a lot more effective. Their games tend to be lower scoring but that’s got to be seen s a positive given that they’re now 10 league matched without defeat. They’re now just 2 points outside the play-off and if they’re to make their way in to that equation, they simply have to be beating a side like Dorking.
The hosts are brilliant at keeping things tight and slowing the game down where necessary. Dorking thrive from chaos, they won’t feel comfortable with the style of play they’ll face here from a calculated and measured side.