Sky Bet League 1 briefing

  • Last Updated: March 8 2014, 18:59 GMT

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

John Welsh: Could return for Preston
John Welsh: Could return for Preston

Saturday, March 8

Brentford v Bradford

Alan McCormack should return to the Brentford squad after missing last weekend's goalless draw at Carlisle with a glute problem. Harlee Dean is on the mend after a groin injury while Sam Saunders (knee) remains out.

Bradford defender Andrew Davies (calf) is expected to be included in the squad. Carl McHugh (calf) should be available along with Rory McArdle, who returns from international duty with Northern Ireland, but Raffaele De Vita (hip) and Matt Taylor (foot) remain sidelined.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Brentford W D W L D; Bradford D L W W L Top scorers: Clayton Donaldson (Brentford) 14; James Hanson (Bradford) 11 Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire)

Our verdict: Brentford 1 Bradford 1

Colchester v Coventry

Jabo Ibehre hopes to be available for Colchester after missing the goalless draw with Rotherham due to injury. Alex Gilbey (hamstring) and Drey Wright (knee) could make the bench provided they came through their Essex Senior Cup semi-final unscathed.

Coventry captain Carl Baker (calf), Franck Moussa (groin) and Andy Webster (neck) will face late fitness tests. Nathan Delfouneso returned from injury in midweek to take his place on the bench and will be pushing for a starting berth having netted a late winner.

Last season: Coventry 2 Colchester 2, Colchester 1 Coventry 3

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

Top scorers: Jabo Ibehre (Colchester) 7; Callum Wilson (Coventry) 16

Referee: Trevor Kettle (Rutland)

Our verdict: Colchester 0 Coventry 2

Gillingham v Crawley

Gillingham are unable to welcome Chris Whelpdale (ankle), Ryan Inniss and Michael Harriman (both hamstring) back for the clash. Danny Kedwell, having recovered from his hernia operation, has also suffered a setback after sustaining a knee injury and he now faces two to three weeks in the treatment room.

Joe Walsh and Rory Fallon return to the Crawley squad after international duty. Boss John Gregory has no injury worries and is likely to rotate his squad, with Dannie Bulman and Jamie Proctor pushing for recalls.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Gillingham L W L L L; Crawley Town D W D W D Top scorers: Cody McDonald (Gillingham) 13; Matt Tubbs (Crawley Town) 7 Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire)

Our verdict: Gillingham 1 Crawley 3

Notts County v Leyton Orient

Dean Leacock and Gary Liddle are closing in on comebacks from injury for County. Kieron Freeman has returned to parent club Derby and Jimmy Spencer is suspended but Mustapha Dumbuya is fit again after an absence with a thigh injury.

Orient will check on Mathieu Baudry after he missed the win over Colchester with a hamstring injury. Veteran striker Kevin Lisbie is likely to start in attack again having this week signed a new one-year contract.

Last season: Notts County 1 Leyton Orient 1, Leyton Orient 2 Notts County 1

Last five league matches: Notts County L W L L L; Leyton Orient L D W W W

Top scorers: Callum McGregor (Notts County) 13; David Mooney (Leyton Orient) 18

Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire)

Our verdict: Notts County 2 Leyton Orient 4

Oldham v Preston

Oldham will have James Wilson available again after illness but Jon Stead has returned to Huddersfield at the end of his loan spell, meaning Rhys Turner (knee) or Kirk Millar (knock) are likely to be among the substitutes after overcoming minor problems.

Captain John Welsh (knee) could make his return for Preston after missing the previous three fixtures. Jack King has not started a game since February 22 but insists his foot problem is being managed and is not affecting his training.

Last season: Preston 2 Oldham 0, Oldham 3 Preston 1

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

Top scorers: Danny Philliskirk (Oldham) 11; Joe Garner (Preston) 18

Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire)

Our verdict: Oldham 1 Preston 3

Peterborough v Crewe

Ben Nugent (hip) and Nathaniel Knight-Percival (facial) look likely to return to the Peterborough squad. Boss Darren Ferguson has hinted he will use Britt Assombalonga more sparingly until the end of the season in an attempt to keep his leading scorer fresh for the play-offs, so the 24-goal striker may remain on the bench.

Crewe midfielders Bradden Inman (hip) and Anthony Grant (foot) have missed training sessions this week and their respective problems will be assessed nearer kick-off.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Britt Assombalonga (Peterborough) 24; Chuks Aneke (Crewe) 12 Referee: Gary Sutton (Lincolnshire)

Our verdict: Peterborough 2 Crewe 1

Port Vale v Carlisle

Anthony Griffith (hip) has forced his way into the thinking of Vale manager Micky Adams after making a dramatic recovery. Vale are more cautious about the fitness of Rob Taylor (knee).

Carlisle boss Graham Kavanagh is hoping James Berrett (hamstring) and Matty Robson (back) return to contention. Sean O'Hanlon remains doubtful after missing out last week through injury and on-loan Manchester United teenager Sam Byrne (hamstring) will be assessed. Nacho Novo could make his first start for the club.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Tom Pope (Port Vale) 13; David Amoo (Carlisle) 11

Referee: Scott Duncan (Tyne & Wear)

Our verdict: Port Vale 0 Carlisle 1

Shrewsbury v Bristol City

Shrewsbury hope Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Tom Eaves (both hamstring) will be fit. Luke Summerfield and Aaron Wildig are closing in on their returns from respective thigh injuries but the clash is likely to come too soon, while loan signing Sam Foley is available to make his debut.

Bristol City boss Steve Cotterill will wait on goalkeeper Simon Moore (groin) before naming his side, with Frank Fielding ready to continue if required. Scott Wagstaff rejoined training this week having been sidelined for a month with a shoulder injury and could be involved.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Jon Taylor (Shrewsbury) 6; Sam Baldock & Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Bristol City) 18

Referee: Graham Horwood (Bedfordshire)

Our verdict: Shrewsbury 1 Bristol City 2

Stevenage v Tranmere

Filipe Morais (thigh) is Stevenage's only injury doubt for the match. Sam Wedgbury, Dean Parrett and Peter Hartley are among those pushing for recalls while striker Lucas Akins will be hoping to keep his place against his former club.

Junior Brown could make his Tranmere debut after joining on loan on Thursday. Rovers' only injury absentee will be winger Abdulai Baggie, who may not play again this season after sustaining a knee injury in a reserve match.

Last season: Tranmere 3 Stevenage 1, Stevenage 1 Tranmere 1

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

Top scorers: Francois Zoko (Stevenage) 16; Ryan Lowe (Tranmere) 18

Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)

Our verdict: Stevenage 2 Tranmere 1

Swindon v MK Dons

Swindon will check on the fitness of Yaser Kasim and Massimo Luongo following their respective returns from international duty. Alex Pritchard looks set to be back in the squad having missed the Robins' last three matches with a medial ligament strain but Ryan Mason (ankle) misses out.

Dean Bowditch (groin) may return to the bench for MK Dons. Stephen Gleeson is likely to be in the side if he has recovered from the thigh problem that ruled him out against Sheffield United last time out.

Last season: Milton Keynes Dons 2 Swindon 0, Swindon 1 Milton Keynes Dons 0

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

Top scorers: Michael Smith (Swindon) 13; Ben Reeves (Milton Keynes Dons) 10

Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire)

Our verdict: Swindon 1 MK Dons 0

Walsall v Wolves

Walsall defender Andy Taylor (knee) hopes to be back in contention having not featured since mid-January. Midfielder Sam Mantom serves the second game of his three-match ban after his appeal was rejected.

Wolves striker Leon Clarke (heel) has a good chance of returning - he has managed just one appearance following his January switch from Coventry. Should Clarke be available, head coach Kenny Jackett will face a welcome selection dilemma with an unchanged side having triumphed in each of the last three games.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Craig Westcarr (Walsall) 13; Leon Clarke (Wolverhampton) 18

Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire)

Our verdict: Walsall 2 Wolves 1

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