Sky Bet League 1 briefing

  • Last Updated: December 21 2013, 15:04 GMT

Team news, statistics and our verdict for Saturday's action in Sky Bet League 1.

Nahki Wells: Bradford youngster is top scorer in League 1
Nahki Wells: Bradford youngster is top scorer in League 1

Saturday, December 21

Crewe v Shrewsbury

Crewe hope to have last season's top scorer Mathias Pogba back at some point over the festive period, but he is expected to miss this clash. Boss Steve Davis, who also has forward Vadaine Oliver back from suspension, is likely to start teenager Ben Garratt in goal, but Ryan Colclough (stomach), striker Max Clayton (ankle) and defender Ollie Turton (knee) remain sidelined.

Shrewsbury manager Graham Turner is set to ring the changes after being less than impressed with his side's abject display last weekend as they fell to a 1-0 home defeat against Midlands neighbours Walsall. The likes of Nicky Wroe, Dave Winfield, David McAllister, Tom Bradshaw, Jon Taylor and John Marsden are all in contention for recalls.

Last season: Crewe 1 Shrewsbury 1, Shrewsbury 1 Crewe 0

Last five league matches: Crewe L L L W D; Shrewsbury L W L W L

Top scorers: Chuks Aneke (Crewe) 4; Tom Bradshaw (Shrewsbury) 5 Referee: Brendan Malone (Wiltshire)

Our verdict: Crewe 1 Shrewsbury 2

Leyton Orient v Crawley

Leaders Leyton Orient will be without David Mooney and Elliot Omozusi through suspension. Gary Sawyer is likely to step into the back four in Omozusi's absence, while Mooney's strike partner Kevin Lisbie is poised to return to the starting line-up.

Crawley will be without captain Josh Simpson after he suffered a hamstring tear in the warm-up at Bristol Rovers a fortnight ago. Veteran striker Gary Alexander will be hoping for a recall, but boss John Gregory has no fresh injury concerns as he looks for his first win since taking over from Richie Barker earlier this month.

Last season: Leyton Orient 0 Crawley Town 1, Crawley Town 1 Leyton Orient 0

Last five league matches: Leyton Orient L W D D D; Crawley Town D D D L D

Top scorers: David Mooney (Leyton Orient) 15; Billy Clarke & Joe Walsh (Crawley Town) 5

Referee: Trevor Kettle (Rutland)

Our verdict: Leyton Orient 1 Crawley 0

MK Dons v Port Vale

MK Dons boss Karl Robinson is hopeful Antony Kay (hip) will be fit enough to return to action after featuring on the bench last time out. Daniel Powell could return, but Dele Alli, Luke Chadwick (foot) and Dean Bowditch (hip) are still out.

Adam Yates (back) and Rob Taylor (thigh) are injury concerns for Port Vale. Left-back Daniel Jones, who came off the bench against Stevenage following his recovery from a foot injury, could start.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Milton Keynes Dons W L L L W; Port Vale W W L W D

Top scorers: Patrick Bamford (Milton Keynes Dons) 14; Tom Pope (Port Vale) 10

Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear)

Our verdict: MK Dons 2 Port Vale 0

Notts County v Bristol City

Notts County boss Shaun Derry will check on the availability of striker Danny Haynes (tonsilitis). Marcus Haber has returned to parent club Stevenage after his loan spell at Meadow Lane expired.

Bristol City manager Steve Cotterill will be without winger Stephen McLaughlin, who has returned to parent club Nottingham Forest due to a knee injury. Striker Ryan Taylor is hoping for a recall after the former Rotherham striker was replaced in the starting line-up by Simon Gillett last week.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Notts County L D L W W; Bristol City D L D L L

Top scorers: Callum McGregor (Notts County) 11; Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Bristol City) 15

Referee: Charles Breakspear (Surrey)

Our verdict: Notts County 0 Bristol City 1

Oldham v Colchester

Oldham midfielder James Wesolowski will be missing after fracturing a cheekbone in Latics' midweek FA Cup win over Mansfield. Manager Lee Johnson said it had left his squad looking thin ahead of the hectic Christmas period with striker Charlie MacDonald (thigh) and defender Edijs Joksts (back) still missing.

Colchester's Sanchez Watt is likely to be named on the bench at Boundary Park as he builds up his match sharpness having spent several months on the sidelines. Captain Brian Wilson also returns after missing out last weekend through suspension, but Freddie Sears, Gavin Massey, Marcus Bean (all hamstring), Josh Thompson (ankle) and Drey Wright (knee) are out.

Last season: Oldham 1 Colchester 1, Colchester 0 Oldham 2

Last five league matches: Oldham D W W D L; Colchester L D W L L

Top scorers: Danny Philliskirk (Oldham) 10; Jabo Ibehre & Freddie Sears (Colchester) 4

Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland)

Our verdict: Oldham 1 Colchester 1

Peterborough v Bradford

Peterborough have Danny Swanson available following his return from suspension. Gaby Zakuani should be ready after an Achilles problem, but fellow defender Craig Alcock (calf), midfielder Danny Kearns (hip) and skipper Tommy Rowe (knee) miss out.

Bradford pair James Hanson (calf) and Raffaele De Vita (thigh) are both doubtful. Forwards Caleb Folan (hamstring) and Oliver McBurnie (leg) are also struggling, while defender Andrew Davies remains sidelined as he recovers from knee surgery.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Peterborough L L L W D; Bradford D W D D D

Top scorers: Britt Assombalonga (Peterborough) 16; Nahki Wells (Bradford) 15

Referee: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire)

Our verdict: Peterborough 1 Bradford 2

Preston v Brentford

Preston have top scorer Joe Garner back from suspension. Garner has scored seven goals in the last five games he has played in so with Paul Gallagher completing a three-match suspension himself, the leading marksman's return is very welcome. Jack King (foot) is still out.

Brentford boss Mark Warburton has no new injury concerns. Full-back Scott Barron is the only absentee and he is stepping up his training as he continues to recover from a hip injury.

Last season: Brentford 1 Preston 0, Preston 1 Brentford 1

Last five league matches: Preston W D W W D; Brentford W D W W W

Top scorers: Joe Garner (Preston) 8; Clayton Donaldson (Brentford) 10

Referee: Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire)

Our verdict: Preston 1 Brentford 0

Rotherham v Wolves

Rotherham manager Steve Evans has confirmed Michael O'Connor (thigh), David Worrall (groin), Joe Skarz (thigh) and Rob Milsom (back) are all fit and available. But the Scot will have to decide whether to make changes after his side's impressive win over Bristol City last week consolidated their position in the play-off places.

Wolves will be without Kevin McDonald as the midfielder serves a one-game ban after receiving his fifth booking of the season in last weekend's 2-0 home defeat to MK Dons. Matt Doherty misses out again due to his hamstring injury, but the right-back is scheduled to return to training on Monday.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Rotherham W D W W W; Wolverhampton W D W L L

Top scorers: Kieran Agard (Rotherham) 11; Leigh Griffiths (Wolverhampton) 12

Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

Our verdict: Rotherham 3 Wolves 2

Stevenage v Sheffield United

Stevenage midfielder Simon Heslop and winger Filipe Morais return after missing out last week through suspension. But Michael Doughty was sent off in that match and serves a one-match ban along with Roarie Deacon, who collected his fifth booking. Skipper Jon Ashton (ankle) is sidelined.

Sheffield United midfielder Stephen McGinn is hoping to return to contention after missing last week due to a knee injury. Nigel Clough has no new injury or suspension problems and is likely to stick with the same line-up, but striker Shaun Miller and winger Febian Brandy are pushing for recalls.

Last season: Stevenage 4 Sheff Utd 0, Sheff Utd 4 Stevenage 1

Last five league matches: Stevenage L W L L D; Sheff Utd L W D D W

Top scorers: Francois Zoko (Stevenage) 10; Harry Maguire & Jose Baxter (Sheff Utd) 5

Referee: David Phillips (West Sussex)

Our verdict: Stevenage 1 Sheffield United 2

Swindon v Coventry

Swindon boss Mark Cooper will leave Nile Ranger out of the matchday squad unless he shows "a bit more respect" to his Robins team-mates. Long-term injury absentees Alex Smith, Troy Archibald-Henville and Tijane Reis are closing in on a return to full training but will not be involved.

On-loan pair Chris Dagnall and Chris Maguire return to contention for Coventry after they were refused permission to play in the FA Cup. Defender Jordan Willis (knee) is the only Sky Blues player currently out injured.

Last season: Coventry 1 Swindon 2, Swindon 2 Coventry 2

Last five league matches: Swindon W L D W L; Coventry D L L W D Top scorers: Nick Ajose (Swindon) 9; Callum Wilson & Leon Clarke (Coventry) 14

Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey)

Our verdict: Swindon 2 Coventry 2

Walsall Carlisle

Walsall have a fully-fit squad to select from as they aim to record back-to-back league wins for the first time since October. Last weekend's 1-0 victory at near-neighbours Shrewsbury was Walsall's first success in five attempts.

Carlisle manager Graham Kavanagh is expected to name an unchanged starting line-up as his side chase a third straight win. Right-back Pascal Chimbonda (calf) remains doubtful, while winger Dave Symington (thigh) is expected to miss the Christmas schedule.

Last season: Carlisle 0 Walsall 3, Walsall 1 Carlisle 2

Last five league matches: Walsall W D D L W; Carlisle D D W L W

Top scorers: Craig Westcarr (Walsall) 10; David Amoo (Carlisle) 8 Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire)

Our verdict: Walsall 1 Carlisle 1

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