League One Preview – Steel City Derby takes centre stage at Bramall Lane

Surely the tastiest fixture of the weekend must be the Steel City Derby as Sheffield United host Sheffield Wednesday at Bramall Lane which kicks off at lunchtime on Sunday. Sheffield Wednesday, under the tutelage of Gary Megson, will probably be feeling most confident after a 3-1 home win against Chesterfield last week, which confirms their best home start to a season for 30 years, whilst Sheffield United have sealed loan deals for Blackpool winger Matt Phillips and striker Billy Clarke in time for the match. A fierce contest will be inevitable as two of the top seven lock horns.

Leaders Charlton face a tough test as they travel to Stevenage, who have suffered a recent dip in form following their impressive start following successive promotions to League One. The Addicks meanwhile are still boasting an unbeaten record twelve games into the season, but will be looking for three points after dropping two in their 1-1 draw with Tranmere Rovers last weekend.

Tranmere are back at Prenton Park and face near neighbours Oldham Athletic in a mid-table clash which manager Les Parry sees as a crucial game. Opposite number Paul Dickov was delighted after his side turned over high-flying MK Dons on Monday night and will be hoping that the momentum will continue.

Notts County, buoyed by a 3-0 success over Hartlepool last weekend, travel to the B2Net Stadium to take on a struggling Chesterfield side languishing outside the relegation places. Manager Martin Allen has handed an 18-month contract to Gavin Mahon after impressing in a pay-as-you-play deal which began at the start of the season. The Spireites will have to line up with manager John Sheridan in the stands after he was given a two-match touchline ban and a £2,000 fine for his outburst over a controversial penalty decision against Charlton a couple of weeks ago.

After recent comments claiming he was underwhelmed at his side being placed in 2nd, manager Karl Robinson is presumably somewhat apoplectic with rage after MK Dons slipped to their second defeat of the season at Boundary Park which sees them slide to 4th. Nonetheless Robinson insists his team will not change their footballing philosophy after losing in driving rain on Monday. They are back in action at Stadium:MK facing Bournemouth who have been boosted by the news that goalkeeper Shwan Jalal has signed a new three-year contract.

Scunthorpe United travel to Griffin Park aiming to end their inconsistent run of form which hit the trough in a 3-2 home defeat to strugglers Leyton Orient last weekend. However they face a strong Brentford side that are on the cusp of the play-off places and in a positive frame of mind after a last gasp equaliser which meant they took a point from their long, arduous journey up to Carlisle the previous Saturday.

A toothless display at Bury last weekend meant that Exeter are now bottom of the division and they will be glad to be back at St James Park for the visit of Huddersfield, who themselves are on an astonishing 36 match unbeaten run. Manager Lee Clark is not underestimating his opponents however, telling BBC Radio Leeds: ‘I think it’s similar to Leyton Orient, they (Exeter) are in quite a false position’. If he is to be proved right Paul Tisdale will need to get his misfiring forwards to start finding the net, with front line Daniel Nardiello and Guillem Bauza having just three league goals between them this season.

Hartlepool United have surprised most with their strong start to the season with the club currently in 9th place on the back of a season ticket initiative which saw over 4,500 supporters buy into the club’s offer. Facing them on Saturday are Wycombe, who will still be smarting from two points thrown away at home to Walsall last week after a late, suicidal back-pass was intercepted. Nonetheless they will be pleased that the experienced, dangerous winger Nobby Solano is injured for the match.

Rochdale come up against Colchester United at Spotland with both sides having drawn their previous fixtures. The U’s were held at home by Yeovil whilst the hosts picked up a useful point at Bournemouth courtesy of a controversial penalty decision which helped edge the Dale a little further from the dreaded drop zone.

The final two fixtures see Walsall host Preston and Yeovil facing Carlisle at Huish Park. Preston will be looking to keep up with the pace setters after a disappointing reversal at Brisbane Road in the previous round of fixtures, whilst Walsall need the points for different reasons as they struggle towards the bottom of the division. Alongside them are Yeovil in 21st and they could give a debut to new loan signing Marek Stech in goal against the Cumbrians, who themselves have landed Manchester City utility man Jeremy Helan on a one-month loan.

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