Sky Bet League 1 briefing

  • Last Updated: February 28 2014, 17:43 GMT

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

Callum Wilson: Back in Coventry squad after dislocated shoulder
Callum Wilson: Back in Coventry squad after dislocated shoulder

Saturday, March 1

Bradford v Stevenage

Bradford striker Aaron Mclean (hamstring) is hoping to prove his fitness while Matthew Bates (hip) remains doubtful. Raffaele De Vita could be involved after having an injection in his troublesome hip, but Matt Taylor and James Meredith are definitely unavailable due to respective foot injuries.

Stevenage will check on John Mousinho after he missed Tuesday night's 1-0 win over Crewe with a calf problem. Filipe Morais (thigh) and Lucas Akins (hip) shrugged off knocks to make substitute appearances against the Alex and are expected to be involved again.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: James Hanson (Bradford) 10; Francois Zoko (Stevenage) 15

Referee: Christopher Sarginson (Staffordshire).

Our verdict: Bradford 1 Stevenage 0

Bristol City v Gillingham

Bristol City's Scott Wagstaff (shoulder) will not be considered despite stepping up his recovery. Stephen Pearson could make his first start of the season following an ankle injury, but boss Steve Cotterill will once again be without fellow midfielder Marvin Elliott.

Gillingham will be without Chris Whelpdale (ankle), Ryan Inniss and Michael Harriman (both hamstring). Striker Danny Kedwell is also unlikely to be included in the squad as he is still recovering from hernia surgery.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Bristol City L D W D L; Gillingham W L W L L

Top scorers: Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Bristol City) 18; Cody McDonald (Gillingham) 13

Referee: Gary Sutton (Lincolnshire).

Our verdict: Bristol City 1 Gillingham 1

Carlisle v Brentford

Carlisle striker Nacho Novo is hoping to make his first start for the club after stepping off the bench for his first appearance in last week's home defeat to Rotherham. Midfielders James Berrett (hamstring) and Paul Thirlwell (calf), plus defender Conor Townsend (foot) are not expected to play any part.

Brentford's Sam Saunders faces another month on the sidelines after undergoing minor surgery to fix a knee problem. Boss Mark Warburton is unlikely to make too many changes despite the Bees slipping to their first defeat in 20 matches against Wolves last weekend.

Last season: Carlisle 2 Brentford 0, Brentford 2 Carlisle 1

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

Top scorers: David Amoo (Carlisle) 11; Clayton Donaldson (Brentford) 14

Referee: Michael Naylor (Sheffield).

Our verdict: Carlisle 1 Brentford 3

Crawley v Peterborough

Crawley will be without Billy Clarke as he serves the second game of a two-match ban after receiving his second red card of the season at Walsall last weekend. Andy Drury will be checked over after the midfielder limped off following a hefty challenge during Tuesday night's 1-1 draw against Swindon.

Jack Payne will be back in the Peterborough squad after missed the 1-0 win at Stevenage with a groin strain. Kyle Vassell will be the only injury absentee for the Johnstone's Paint Trophy finalists after suffering a broken toe in training.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Crawley Town W D D W D; Peterborough W L W D W

Top scorers: Matt Tubbs, Billy Clarke & Joe Walsh (Crawley Town) 5; Britt Assombalonga (Peterborough) 24

Referee: Lee Collins (Surrey).

Our verdict: Crawley 1 Peterborough 1

Crewe v Swindon

Crewe boss Steve Davis will hope his lengthy injury list clears a little. The Alex were able to name just five substitutes against Stevenage in midweek. Midfield pair Abdul Osman and George Evans (both foot) and forward Uche Ikpeazu (ankle) are out.

Swindon's Tyrell Belford will continue in goal after impressing during his home league debut on Tuesday night against Crawley. Australian midfielder Massimo Luongo and former Tottenham defender Troy Archibald-Henville could return after being rested but Ryan Mason, Nile Ranger, Grant Hall and Alex Pritchard all remain sidelined.

Last season: Swindon 4 Crewe 1, Crewe 2 Swindon 1

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

Top scorers: Chuks Aneke (Crewe) 12; Michael Smith (Swindon) 13

Referee: Rob Lewis (Shropshire).

Our verdict: Crewe 1 Swindon 2

Leyton Orient v Colchester

Kevin Lisbie could return to the Leyton Orient starting line-up after shrugging off a back injury to appear as a substitute last weekend. Elliot Omozusi also made his comeback against Swindon so boss Russell Slade has a fully-fit squad with the exception of goalkeeper Jamie Jones, who has a long-term back injury.

Colchester skipper Brian Wilson will be assessed after being forced off at half-time in Tuesday's defeat to Sheffield United nursing a hamstring injury. Alex Gilbey (also hamstring) missed the game altogether and is unlikely to have recovered in time while Sanchez Watt serves the final game of his three-match ban.

Last season: Colchester 2 Leyton Orient 1, Leyton Orient 0 Colchester 2

Last five league matches: Leyton Orient L L D W W; Colchester W L D L L

Top scorers: David Mooney (Leyton Orient) 17; Jabo Ibehre (Colchester) 7

Referee: David Webb (County Durham).

Our verdict: Leyton Orient 3 Colchester 1

MK Dons v Sheffield United

MK Dons will be without Stephen Gleeson, who is nursing a thigh problem and will join fellow midfielder Samir Carruthers (knee), on the list of absentees. Ben Reeves is doubtful due to a calf complaint on-loan Fulham midfielder Larnell Cole is likely to make his full debut.

Sheffield United striker Chris Porter is hoping to return to the starting line-up despite being on the bench for their last two outings. Ryan Flynn could return following a knock, but Stephen McGinn remains doubtful with the back problem that has sidelined him in recent weeks.

Last season: Sheff Utd 0 Milton Keynes Dons 0, Milton Keynes Dons 1 Sheff Utd 0

Last five league matches: Milton Keynes Dons W W D L W; Sheff Utd L W W W W

Top scorers: Ben Reeves (Milton Keynes Dons) 10; Jose Baxter & Chris Porter (Sheff Utd) 8

Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire).

Our verdict: MK Dons 1 Sheffield United 2

Preston v Walsall

Preston captain John Welsh underwent a precautionary scan on his injured knee on Tuesday and remains a doubt having missed the last two games. Defender Scott Wiseman will also be assessed after taking a knock during the 3-3 draw with Rotherham in midweek.

Walsall's Andy Taylor faces a fitness test having been sidelined since mid-January with a knee injury while Dean Holden continues to struggle with a similar problem. Boss Dean Smith has no other injury or suspension concerns as the promotion-chasing Saddlers look to end a four-match winless run.

Last season: Preston 1 Walsall 3, Walsall 3 Preston 1

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

Top scorers: Joe Garner (Preston) 18; Craig Westcarr (Walsall) 13

Referee: Seb Stockbridge (Tyne & Wear).

Our verdict: Preston 2 Walsall 1

Rotherham v Notts County

Rotherham's Mark Bradley and Rob Milsom (both back) could be in contention while Craig Morgan is ready to go after a bout of tonsillitis. Should boss Steve Evans opts for changes, Michael O'Connor and Nicky Adams could feature as the Millers aim to continue their hunt for automatic promotion.

Notts County will be without the suspended Jimmy Spencer, who begins a three-match ban. Enoch Showunmi, Kwesi Appiah and Ronan Murray all pushing for starting roles, but Dean Leacock and striker Callum Ball (ankle) are not expected to return just yet.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Rotherham W W W W D; Notts County L L W L L

Top scorers: Kieran Agard (Rotherham) 16; Callum McGregor (Notts County) 13

Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex).

Our verdict: Rotherham 1 Notts County 0

Tranmere v Oldham

Tranmere strike-duo Ryan Lowe (hip) and Jake Cassidy (chest) are expected to overcome respective knocks. Abdulai Baggie could miss two months after sustaining a knee injury, while on-loan Everton pair Matthew Kennedy and Matthew Pennington returned to their parent club in midweek.

Oldham captain Korey Smith could feature after returning to training following a knee injury. Defender Genseric Kusunga (thigh) is expected to be out for several weeks, while Anton Rodgers will be sidelined for around six weeks because of a knee problem.

Last season: Tranmere 1 Oldham 0, Oldham 0 Tranmere 1

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

Top scorers: Ryan Lowe (Tranmere) 17; Danny Philliskirk (Oldham) 11

Referee: Charles Breakspear (Surrey).

Our verdict: Tranmere 1 Oldham 3

Wolves v Port Vale

Wolves head coach Kenny Jackett could stick with the same starting XI for a third successive game after beating Brentford so emphatically last weekend. Right-back Kevin Foley will be unavailable having joined Blackpool on a month-long loan deal.

Port Vale hope Jack Grimmer (knee) will be fit to retain his place despite being carried off on a stretcher during last weekend's defeat to Crewe. Richard Duffy has not played since suffering an ankle injury in early January, but came through 90 minutes of a reserve-team game and could feature. Anthony Griffith (hip) will definitely miss out.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Wolverhampton W W W W W; Port Vale L W D L L

Top scorers: Leon Clarke (Wolverhampton) 18; Tom Pope (Port Vale) 13

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).

Our verdict: Wolves 2 Port Vale 0

Sunday, March 2

Coventry v Shrewsbury

Coventry's Callum Wilson (dislocated shoulder) returns after eight weeks on the sidelines as the Sky Blues look to arrest a run of four defeats in five games. Loanee Chuba Akpom missed last weekend's 3-1 defeat at Tranmere having been temporarily recalled by parent club Arsenal but should feature, while Nathan Delfouneso (thigh) remains doubtful.

Shrewsbury's David McAllister, Jon Taylor and Tom Eaves were recalled for last week's win at Notts County and will be hoping to start again. Luke Summerfield and Aaron Wildig (both thigh) continue to be monitored, striker Tom Bradshaw (knee) is out and on-loan Fraser Fyvie has returned to parent-club Wigan.

Last season: Coventry 0 Shrewsbury 1, Shrewsbury 4 Coventry 1

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

Top scorers: Franck Moussa & Callum Wilson (Coventry) 15; Jon Taylor (Shrewsbury) 6

Referee: Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire).

Our verdict: Coventry 1 Shrewsbury 1

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