Will it be a Keane return as Sunderland face Doncaster?

Defoe to star in anticipation of Keane arrival?

Sunderland v Doncaster Rovers
Saturday 4th February, kick-off 15:00

Following Sunderland’s sacking of Lee Johnson in the aftermath of the shocking 6-0 defeat to Bolton, the sensational news greets League One this week that Roy Keane is set to be interviewed for the management role at the Stadium Of Light – 13 years on from when he resigned at the club.

There’s no doubting the box office pull of Keane on Sky TV, but the you sense the burning desire still ruminates inside his mind to have one last go to prove to himself and to other people that he can manage. And manage successfully. Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman outlined his vision for the future incumbent, and while Keane is still feted on Wearside, he has to satisfy that question whether or not the game has passed him by in relation to the modern player.

That’s no criticism of either, but myself as a player, I would have loved to have played for someone like him as a captain.

Other names in the frame are Neil Warnock and Grant McCann, but they don’t have the kudos of Keane, and it will be a risk for both sides if the club can pull it off.

It certainly livens up this weekend for the home clash against probably the worst travellers in the history of third tier football. Doncaster have been appalling on the road this term – winning just once, scoring just eight times, losing 12 with a goals against column of 33. It’s no surprise the Black Cats are 1.331/3 favourites. Donny are 12.011/1.

The Black Cats have just signed the excellent midfielder Jay Matete from Fleetwood, although his move was somewhat eclipsed by Jermaine Defoe returning to the club at the grand age of 39. The former England international is dancing one last dance following a spell in Scotland – where he was averaging almost a goal a game. He remains a hugely popular figure on Wearside, and just as popular in the First Goalscorer market on the Sportsbook, as he is 5/2 for that, and 5/6 to Score First.

Jermaine Defoe pre season 1280 .jpg

I don’t think we should look any further than Defoe to combine with our Betbuilder options, as Sunderland’s home defensive record was strong under Johnson – as they have conceded just nine all season with the most wins of any team in the division at home (11). According to Opta, Sunderland have scored 5+ goals in three games this season (5-0 wins over Cheltenham, Morecambe and Sheffield Wednesday) and also conceded 5+ goals in three games (5-1 defeats to Rotherham and Arsenal, 6-0 defeat to Bolton), the first Football League side to do that in all competitions in a season since Peterborough United in 2010-11. We’ll focus on the former.

Backing Sunderland -1 at 10/11 hopefully can see us home as the second part of the bet. All we need now is Micah Richards to join as Keane’s assistant. We need this to happen!

KEY OPTA STAT: Sunderland have won seven of their nine Football League games against Doncaster Rovers (D2), only against Port Vale (first 10), Shrewsbury (first 10) and West Brom (first 12) have they gone their first 10 Football League games against an opponent unbeaten.

Shrews won’t be tamed at home

Shrewsbury Town v Fleetwood Town
Saturday 5th February, kick-off 15:00

We collected with an outright draw on Shrewsbury last week with the 1-1 at Wimbledon, and Steve Cotterill’s team are proving somewhat hard to beat with just one defeat in their last eight league matches.

Their home form has been solid for a while, and their run includes 1-0 wins against Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday, along with a creditable 1-1 with Sunderland. I’d certainly be looking to Under 2.5 Goals again with the Shrews, although for their game last week they were 1.774/5, but it’s a 1/10th of a point shorter at 1.664/6, so it could be one to sit out or consider the 1.5 Goals.

Beating Wednesday in early January showcased their usual solid defensive play, proving once again how difficult they are to peg back when they take a lead. Shrewsbury’s last six league matches have seen only four goals scored in total (2 for, 2 against) with the Shrews keeping four clean sheets but also failing to score on four occasions in this run, so that does back up a potential play on the Under 1.5 Goals, but I’d rather take the risk on going for a 1-0 home win on the Correct Score market.

Stephen Crainey is doing well since replacing Simon Grayson at Fleetwood and they have some fine young players at the club, including Paddy Lane, who scored the equaliser in Saturday’s 1-1 against Cambridge, but he’s been starring with assists and is second in the League One table.

However, the Cod Army don’t score many on their travels and have won just twice on the road, so Shrewsbury’s resolve should be enough to take the 2.1211/10 win.

KEY OPTA STAT: Fleetwood have won four of their last 20 matches in all competitions (D5 L11) and won just three of their last 18 on the road (D5 L10).

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Jackson’s Addicks should ease past Wombles

Charlton Athletic v AFC Wimbledon
Saturday 5th February, kick-off

Charlton got their counter-attacking mojo back on Monday in front of the Sky cameras and were worthy 1-2 winners at Fratton Park. A victory that inches them further up the table.

“The performance and the way that we’ve gone about our business to get that win is really pleasing. It will do my squad’s confidence the world of good,” said manager Johnnie Jackson afterwards, who hasn’t deviated from his style favoured style of play despite one or two recent wobbles.

A return to the Valley excites me as a betting proposition, as there are some very short prices around this weekend, but the Addicks are acceptable at 1.9310/11. We can back up the bet with their last four home results; winning 2-0, 1-0 and 2-0 with a defeat against Wycombe (0-1).

I don’t envisage too many goals as recent Wimbledon games have been somewhat drab affairs, although if you are looking for a trading option, backing the draw to lay back makes sense as the Wombles have drawn five of their last six and wouldn’t carry the same attacking threat as Portsmouth. With Wimbledon losing nine of their last 13 away matches in all competitions (W2 D2) and only scored eight goals across these matches since a 4-3 win at Morecambe in September, I am firmly with the hosts.

We can also play on the Betbuilder on the Sportsbook with Charlton to win and Under 2.5 Goals that pays 3.67.

KEY OPTA STAT: AFC Wimbledon have lost nine of their last 13 away matches in all competitions (W2 D2) and only scored eight goals across these matches since a 4-3 win at Morecambe in September.

Author: wpadmin

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