Sky Bet League 1 briefing

  • Last Updated: March 21 2014, 16:27 GMT

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

Simon Grayson's Preston travel to Swindon
Simon Grayson's Preston travel to Swindon

Saturday, March 22

Sheffield United v Wolves

Sheffield United boss Nigel Clough is short on left-backs after Bob Harris (thigh) and Matt Hill (hamstring) were both forced out of Monday night's draw with Preston. Kieron Freeman, switched flanks to cover at at Deepdale.

Boss Kenny Jackett could ring the changes with Wolves having failed to win either of their last two matches after nine wins in a row. Leon Clarke could replace Michael Jacobs, while Dave Edwards and Matt Doherty are among Jackett's other options.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Jose Baxter & Chris Porter (Sheff Utd) 9; Leon Clarke (Wolverhampton) 19

Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)

Our verdict: Sheffield United 2 Wolves 0

Brentford v Coventry

Brentford will be without James Tarkowski following the defender's sending off against Leyton Orient last weekend. Harlee Dean, who is playing on despite a groin problem, replaced Tarkowski and is set to start.

Coventry welcome back Dan Seaborne from a one-match suspension. Andy Webster watched last weekend's draw with Port Vale from the bench as boss Steven Pressley preferred Jordan Clarke and Jordan Willis as his centre-back pairing and he faces a battle to get back into the team.

Last season: Coventry 1 Brentford 1, Brentford 2 Coventry 1

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

Top scorers: Clayton Donaldson (Brentford) 16; Callum Wilson (Coventry) 19

Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey)

Our verdict: Brentford 1 Coventry 0

Colchester v Bristol City

Freddie Sears could miss out again for Colchester with a hamstring problem. Leading goalscorer Jabo Ibehre has returned to action in the last week and the U's will be hoping for a repeat of his match-winning performance against Shrewsbury on Tuesday.

City will again be without Bobby Reid due to the knee injury which has sidelined him since March. Aden Flint, who has undergone an operation on his dislocated knee, and the suspended Adam El-Abd also miss out

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Jabo Ibehre (Colchester) 8; Sam Baldock (Bristol City) 20

Referee: Steven Rushton (Staffordshire)

Our verdict: Colchester 1 Bristol City 3

Gillingham v Crewe

Gillingham boss Peter Taylor has been forced to tell some of his players to stay at home as a bug hampers his preparations. Steven Gregory is back in contention following illness but Charlie Lee is among a number of players who have felt under the weather this week.

Crewe defender Mark Ellis should be fine despite coming off last weekend with a neck injury. Alex boss Steve Davis should also have Adam Dugdale in his squad following a toe problem.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Cody McDonald (Gillingham) 14; Chuks Aneke (Crewe) 15

Referee: Steve Bratt (W Midlands)

Our verdict: Gillingham 1 Crewe 2

Notts County v Carlisle

Dean Leacock is battling to be fit for Notts after missing the defeat to Tranmere with a thigh injury. Magpies manager Shaun Derry has signed Josh Vela on a month-long loan deal from Bolton and he could make his debut.

Pascal Chimbonda is expected to miss out with a calf injury sustained in Carlisle's goalless draw against Stevenage. He joins Sean O'Hanlon (thigh), Matty Robson (back), Paul Thirlwell (calf) and Liam Noble (ankle) in the treatment room.

Last season: Notts County 1 Carlisle 0, Carlisle 0 Notts County 4

Last five league matches: Notts County L L D L L; Carlisle L D L L D

Top scorers: Callum McGregor (Notts County) 13; David Amoo (Carlisle) 11

Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)

Our verdict: Notts County 0 Carlisle 1

Oldham v Crawley

Oldham will assess captain Korey Smith's knee injury and fellow midfielder John Paul Kissock's hip problem.

Defender Genseric Kusunga (thigh) and midfielder Anton Rogers (knee) are definitely out, while Latics boss Lee Johnson must choose between Mark Oxley and Paul Rachubka in goal.

Crawley will check on Rory Fallon's heel complaint ahead of the trip. John Gregory could name the same side for a third consecutive game following victories over Colchester and Wolves.

Last season: Oldham 2 Crawley Town 1, Crawley Town 1 Oldham 1

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

Top scorers: Danny Philliskirk (Oldham) 11; Matt Tubbs (Crawley Town) 8

Referee: Mark Heywood (Cheshire)

Our verdict: Oldham 1 Crawley 1

Peterborough v Rotherham

Danny Swanson comes back into the reckoning for Peterborough following the completion of a two-match suspension. On-loan winger Lloyd Isgrove is also competing for a starting spot having made his debut as a late substitute against MK Dons.

Rotherham will be without Mark Bradley for Steve Evans' 100th game in charge after the right-back was ruled out for the season with a knee injury. James Tavernier will return to the side at right-back after recovering from an ankle problem.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Britt Assombalonga (Peterborough) 27; Kieran Agard (Rotherham) 17

Referee: Carl Berry (Surrey)

Our verdict: Peterborough 1 Rotherham 3

Port Vale v Tranmere

Vale will be without the suspended Chris Lines, who starts a two-match ban after picking up his 10th booking of the campaign. Liam Chilvers is the only injury absentee as he recovers from a groin operation.

Tranmere are likely to be without midfielders Steve Jennings (knee), Jason Koumas (foot) and James Wallace (groin). Stand-in manager John McMahon is also missing Abdulai Baggie, whose knee problem could force him to miss the rest of the campaign.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Tom Pope (Port Vale) 14; Ryan Lowe (Tranmere) 19

Referee: Richard Clark (Northumberland)

Our verdict: Port Vale 0 Tranmere 1

Shrewsbury v Bradford

Aaron Wildig has returned to training for Shrewsbury following a quad injury that has kept him sidelined since early January. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (hamstring) and Luke Summerfield (thigh) both face a race against time to be fit.

Bradford striker James Hanson is expected to overcome a back problem in time for the game, while skipper Gary Jones (virus) will be assessed. James Meredith, Matty Taylor (both foot), Raffaele De Vita (hip/groin) and Kyel Reid (knee) all remain long-term absentees.

Last season: No Corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Jon Taylor (Shrewsbury) 6; James Hanson (Bradford) 12

Referee: Darren Sheldrake (Surrey)

Our verdict: Shrewsbury 1 Bradford 3

Stevenage v MK Dons

Stevenage captain Jon Ashton will miss the game having suffered a leg injury last weekend. Roarie Deacon and Joe N'Guessan (both ankle) are also absentees but winger Filipe Morais is fit again after a month out with a thigh problem.

MK Dons will be without Stephen Gleeson, who begins a two-match ban after picking up 10 yellow cards. Boss Karl Robinson welcomes back Ben Reeves from a hamstring injury and fellow forward Daniel Powell, who has overcome a bout of illness.

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

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

Top scorers: Francois Zoko (Stevenage) 16; Ben Reeves (Milton Keynes Dons) 10

Referee: Fred Graham (Essex)

Our verdict: Stevenage 1 MK Dons 0

Swindon v Preston

Swindon will be without Alex Pritchard, who begins a three-match ban following his dismissal against Bristol City. Captain Darren Ward should return after being rested but Nathan Byrne (hamstring) is a major doubt.

Preston skipper John Welsh could be recalled to their midfield after boss Simon Grayson went with Josh Brownhill and Neil Kilkenny against Sheffield United. Josh King (foot) hopes to return but Iain Hume has left to join Fleetwood on loan.

Last season: Swindon 1 Preston 1, Preston 4 Swindon 1

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

Top scorers: Michael Smith (Swindon) 15; Joe Garner (Preston) 20

Referee: Iain Williamson (Berkshire)

Our verdict: Swindon 1 Preston 2

Walsall v Leyton Orient

Ben Purkiss will miss out for Walsall through suspension following his red card at Rotherham, with Paul Downing set to deputise. Dean Holden continues to work his way back from the knee injury picked up in training at the start of February.

Orient will check on Mathieu Baudry, who has missed the last four matches due to a hamstring injury. If Baudry does return, Scott Cuthbert will likely revert to full-back with Gary Sawyer dropping to the bench.

Last season: Leyton Orient 2 Walsall 1, Walsall 1 Leyton Orient 2

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

Top scorers: Craig Westcarr (Walsall) 13; David Mooney (Leyton Orient) 18

Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex)

Our verdict: Walsall 1 Leyton Orient 2

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