Written by Connor Lawson
As the thirteenth game of the 16/17 League One season approaches, many team have sprung some surprises. Scunthorpe have caught the eyes of many after their table-topping start to the campaign, whilst teams like Millwall, MK Dons and Charlton, some of the pre-season favourites for promotion, are massively under-performing. In this preview, another one of the early high flyers, Bury, feature alongside a bruised Charlton Athletic.
Rochdale vs Bury
The M66 Derby this season has the potential to be a very exciting one. Rochdale will enter the tie unbeaten in six league games, having won their last five. Their home form is fantastic. They have only lost twice at home all season, with the most recent of those defeats coming against MK Dons in the middle of August. That game against MK Dons was also the only home game in which they have failed to score. On the topic of goals, they aren’t short of players to score them, with nine different players netting for Dale so far this season. Better still, they haven’t conceded in their last three league games. So what about their opponents? Bury will be looking to beat Rochdale at home in the league for the first time since 2007. However, overall in this derby which dates back to 1946, Bury have won 26 of the 63 games between the two, nine more than their opponents. The Shakers have lost both of their two league games in October so far, a sharp contrast to September, where they had a 100% record. Despite this, they are still in third, five points off leaders Scunthorpe and two points ahead of their opponents at Spotland. Bury certainly haven’t been short of goals, and they are the second highest scorers in the whole division. That statistic is mainly thanks to star striker James Vaughan, who has notched five this season. In terms of head-to-head, Bury haven’t won a league encounter between the two in the last six (L4, D2) and will be hoping they can put an end to their poor start to the month with some derby delight away to Rochdale.
My Prediction: 3-1
credit Connor Turner
Charlton vs Coventry
This fixture is a really fascinating one for me, as just fifteen years ago this was a Premier League fixture and, just seven years ago, a Championship one. It’s safe to say both of these clubs have fallen from grace since their glory days and, although they fell at different rates, they have both ended up in the same place. Both sets of fans will also be able to relate to each other in terms of the ownership of their club, which has been a contributing factor for both clubs’ downfall. Having said that these two were in the Premier League together a decade-and-a-half ago, and the Championship seven years ago, you’d think that both Charlton and Coventry would be battling it out at the top of the table. You’d be wrong. Both sides find themselves doing quite the opposite, struggling towards the bottom. The two should also be quite fresh having had a two week break due to international call ups. Charlton were, as I previously mentioned, promotion candidates pre-season, but are nowhere near that feat currently, sitting eighteenth without a win since 20th August. However, they haven’t lost many of the games since then, just two in fact, and they have the most draws in the league alongside Bradford, Northampton, Oldham and, Saturday’s opponents, Coventry. Remarkably, they have conceded the least amount of goals out of any team in the bottom half, bar Coventry again. It is goals they lack and their top scorer this season, Johnnie Jackson, has only managed three goals. A win could see them up to fifteenth, and I’m sure it would be a welcome reward for their long suffering fans. Coventry’s statistics pretty much match up with the statistics of the Addicks. However, they have only won once all season, but that came in their last game away to Port Vale, the team with the best home record in the league. City fans will be feeling optimistic that the sacking of Tony Mowbray will see a change in fortune, and they need it. They have scored the second least amount of goals in the whole league with just eight, but striker Marvin Sordell has proved he can be a handful at times. It is bound to be an exciting tie between two fallen giants of the league.
My Prediction: 2-1
Scunthorpe vs MK Dons
The final game of the three is between the side who haven’t lost a home game all season and the side who have only lost once on the road all season. Scunthorpe are sitting pretty on top of the table at the moment, and they have impressed many with just one loss in the league this season. They have also scored 27 league goals, an average of 2.25 goals per game. They have midfielder Josh Morris to thank for the bulk of that as he has scored twelve goals in as many games, a fantastic record for a striker, let alone a midfielder. Couple 27 goals scored with twelve conceded and the Irons have the best goal difference in the league with fifteen. Despite the positives, which there is an abundance of, Scunthorpe have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last four games. We have already touched on how brutal they are in front of goal, and even more so are they at home, having slammed four past Southend and five past Gillingham at Glanford Park. Their opponents, MK Dons, were beaten in front of the Sky cameras at home to Port Vale last Sunday, and are without a home win this season. On the road, however, they have been impressive, winning four of their six away games so far this campaign. Their recent home form has been a huge cause of concern among MK Dons fans, and many are calling for boss Karl Robinson to be sacked. Loanee Ryan Colcough has scored the most goals for MK Dons with four, but Karl Robinson is yet to reap the rewards of spending big on Kieran Agard, who has only scored three times this season. They have scored as many as they have conceded with fifteen, and will be hoping to spring up to eighteen points with a win on Saturday, which would put them just outside the play-off places, but it will be no easy task against a Scunthorpe side in fantastic form.
My Predciton: 1-1
What are your predictions for these games? Let us know in the comments below!