Support Shakers for victory

  • Last Updated: August 15 2014, 15:22 BST

Our Sky Bet League 2 preview package has the best two bets for the weekend's action and team news.

David Flitcroft's Bury are good value to beat Hartlepool
David Flitcroft's Bury are good value to beat Hartlepool

Nick Hext's best bets for the weekend's games in Sky Bet League 2 are here. Match-by-match score verdicts and team news are available too.

Back Bury to beat Hartlepool

Bury started the season with a surprise home defeat to Cheltenham but don't lose faith in the Shakers. David Flitcroft has recruited really well over the summer and his side deserve to be ranked as one of the promotion contenders. Bury look a good price to build on the encouraging display at Bolton in the Capital One Cup - they lost in extra-time after an equaliser for the Trotters in the seventh minute of added time - and should be backed to win.

Back Oxford to beat Mansfield

Oxford are feeling better about life after a surprise 2-1 victory at Bristol City in the Capital One Cup. It will take time for head coach Michael Appleton to implement his ideas after a late arrival this summer but the early signs are good. I backed Mansfield to lose at Northampton last weekend and I think it will be more disappointment for the Stags this time out.

Team news & score verdicts (league position in brackets)

Saturday, August 16

Burton Albion (3) v Dagenham (24)

Burton's Billy Kee could be in line for a start after returning from a knee injury to make substitute appearances in both of the Brewers' opening two games. Left-back Damien McCrory, plus midfielders Jimmy Phillips and Lee Bell are all still recovering from respective knee injuries.

Dagenham boss Wayne Burnett will have been happy to see Joss Labadie and Matt Partridge come through their midweek Capital One Cup match unscathed. Labadie and teenager Partridge were both unused substitutes last week after suffering knocks in pre-season, with injured striker Rhys Murphy the other notable absentee.

Last season: Burton Albion 1 Dag & Red 1 Dag & Red 2 Burton Albion 0

Last five league matches: Burton Albion W D L L W; Dag & Red W L L

Top scorers: Stuart Beavon (Burton Albion) 1 Lucas Akins (Burton Albion) 1 Dominic Knowles (Burton Albion) 1

Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Lancashire)

Our verdict: Burton 2 Dagenham 0

Cheltenham (5) v Accrington Stanley (16)

Cheltenham captain Matt Taylor is set for a return after being rested for the Robins' midweek Capital One Cup defeat at Brighton. But boss Mark Yates will be without Asa Hall (calf) for another four to six weeks.

Will Hatfield is in contention to start again for Accrington after overcoming a knock, while Stoke loanee James Alabi, who made his first start in midweek, may also feature at Whaddon Road. Goalkeeper Luke Simpson could restrict new signing Jay Lynch to a place on the bench after impressing in the opening games.

Last season: Cheltenham 1 Accrington Stanley 2 Accrington Stanley 0 Cheltenham 1

Last five league matches: Cheltenham L W L L W; Accrington Stanley D L W W L

Top scorers: Joe Hanks (Cheltenham) 1 ; James Gray (Accrington Stanley) 1

Referee: Kevin Johnson (Somerset)

Our verdict: Cheltenham 1 Accrington 1

Hartlepool (19) v Bury (17)

Hartlepool's summer signing Stuart Parnaby faces a late fitness test after sustaining an ankle injury in the opening-day defeat to Stevenage. Tommy Miller is in line for a first start since returning to Victoria Park while Ryan Brobbel, Matthew Bates and Michael Woods could make their home debuts.

Bury goalkeeper Shwan Jalal is a doubt after injuring his groin during the midweek Capital One Cup defeat to Bolton. Craig Jones (back) missed that fixture and will be assessed again, while midfielder Kelvin Etuhu is still building up his fitness.

Last season: Hartlepool 0 Bury 3 Bury 1 Hartlepool 0

Last five league matches: Hartlepool L W D L L; Bury W L D D L

Top scorers: Neil Austin (Hartlepool) 1 Jonathan Franks (Hartlepool) 1 ; Ryan Lowe (Bury) 1 Jimmy McNulty

Referee: Gary Sutton (Lincolnshire)

Our verdict: Hartlepool 1 Bury 3

Luton (6) v AFC Wimbledon (10)

Luke Rooney (suspension) will miss Luton's first Football League game at Kenilworth Road in over five years against AFC Wimbledon. Alex Lawless could be fit but fellow midfielder Shaun Whalley (toe) is expected to remain sidelined.

Jack Smith is a major doubt for Wimbledon after being stretchered off during their Capital One Cup defeat at MK Dons in midweek. But on-loan defender Adam Barrett will be back in the squad after he was ineligible to play on Tuesday night, while Matt Tubbs is likely to continue up front after scoring two goals in as many games.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Luton L W W W W; AFC Wimbledon D W L L D

Top scorers: Mark Cullen (Luton) 1 Luke Rooney (Luton) 1 ; Matt Tubbs (AFC Wimbledon) 2

Referee: Oliver Langford (W Midlands)

Our verdict: Luton 2 AFC Wimbledon 1

Mansfield (20) v Oxford United (21)

Mansfield manager Paul Cox is waiting on Martin Riley (groin) and Liam Hearn (knee), who are both set for scans. Liam Marsden and captain/assistant manager Adam Murray are in line to start, but there are still question marks over Ollie Palmer's fitness.

Alex Jakubiak could be handed a debut by Oxford boss Michael Appleton after he joined on loan from Watford. Danny Hylton will offer competition though following his midweek goalscoring exploits. Defender Michael Raynes will be assessed having missed out in midweek after taking a knock to his head on the opening day.

Last season: Oxford Utd 3 Mansfield 0 Mansfield 1 Oxford Utd 3

Last five league matches: Mansfield D L L W L; Oxford Utd L L L L L

Top scorers: Alex Fisher (Mansfield) 1 ; Carlton Morris (Oxford Utd) 1 Danny Hylton (Oxford Utd) 1

Referee: Richard Clark (Northumberland)

Our verdict: Mansfield 1 Oxford United 3

Morecambe (1) v Newport County (23)

Ryan Edwards is a certain absentee for Morecambe after undergoing surgery on a fractured finger. New forward Paul Mullin is pushing for a start after coming off the bench during both of the Shrimps' first two matches following his arrival from Huddersfield.

Newport boss Justin Edinburgh is set to stick with his new 4-3-3 formation, meaning Darren Jones, Kevin Feely and Ismail Yakubu look set to keep their places at the back. Captain Andy Sandell (shoulder) and last season's top scorer Chris Zebroski are hoping to return to action.

Last season: Morecambe 4 Newport County 1 Newport County 2 Morecambe 3

Last five league matches: Morecambe D L W D W; Newport County D D L W L

Top scorers: Jack Redshaw (Morecambe) 1 Padraig Amond (Morecambe) 1 Kevin Ellison (Morecambe) 1 ; Shaun Jeffers

Referee: Seb Stockbridge (Tyne & Wear)

Our verdict: Morecambe 0 Newport 1

Plymouth (22) v Exeter (12)

Plymouth boss John Sheridan has no fresh injuries despite his team having played 120 minutes on Tuesday night against Leyton Orient. Blackburn loanee Anthony O'Connor made his debut in that 3-3 draw and will hope to keep his place, while youngsters Tyler Harvey and River Allen also impressed.

Exeter's Pat Baldwin, Danny Butterfield, Aaron Davies and David Wheeler should all recover from a bout of sickness, but Jordan Moore-Taylor and Jamie Reid are definitely out. Grecian's boss Paul Tisdale has concerns over the fitness of midfielder Liam Sercombe (groin).

Last season: Plymouth 1 Exeter 2 Exeter 3 Plymouth 1

Last five league matches: Plymouth L L D D L; Exeter D L W W D

Top scorers: Reuben Reid (Plymouth) 2; Tom Nichols (Exeter) 1

Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire)

Our verdict: Plymouth 3 Exeter 0

Portsmouth (13) v Cambridge United (4)

Ricky Holmes could be added to Portsmouth's squad after recovering from a thigh problem. Back-up goalkeeper Michael Poke faces a spell out with an Achilles injury and joins Patrick Agyemang (hamstring), Danny East (groin), Tom Craddock and Wes Fogden (both knee) on the sidelines.

Cambridge strengthened their squad ahead of the trip with the signing of midfielder Sam Whittall on a six-month contract. The 20-year-old former Wolves trainee caught the eye when on trial in several pre-season friendlies and has been handed a deal by the U's.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Portsmouth W W D D D; Cambridge Utd L L L L W

Top scorers: Jed Wallace (Portsmouth) 1 Miles Storey (Portsmouth) 1 ; Josh Coulson (Cambridge Utd) 1 Ryan

Referee: Darren Sheldrake (Surrey)

Our verdict: Portsmouth 0 Cambridge United 0

Shrewsbury (11) v Tranmere (14)

Defender Mark Ellis is doubtful for Shrewsbury after sustaining a knee injury in Tuesday's Capital One Cup win over Blackpool. Young forward Jordan Clark impressed in that victory and the 20-year-old will be looking to keep his place alongside Jim Collins up front.

Tranmere captain Marcus Holness is a doubt after pulling his hamstring during the opening-day home draw against York. Jake Kirby (back) will be assessed, but Liam Ridehalgh is out for another few weeks after he suffered an ankle injury during pre-season.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Shrewsbury L L L D D; Tranmere L D L L D

Top scorers: James Collins (Shrewsbury) 2; James Rowe (Tranmere) 1

Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire)

Our verdict: Shrewsbury 2 Tranmere 0

Southend (8) v Stevenage (9)

Southend look set to be without Will Atkinson (eye) while David Worrall, who also suffered a knock in that fixture, is expected to be fit. Teenage midfielder Jack Payne could be pushing for a league start after impressing in the Capital One Cup match against Walsall in midweek.

Stevenage have Simon Walton available to make his debut after he was suspended for the start of the season. But fellow summer signings Calvin Zola and Ronnie Henry may need more time to recover from their respective injuries.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Ryan Leonard (Southend) 1 Lee Barnard (Southend) 1 ; Chris Whelpdale (Stevenage) 1

Referee: Christopher Sarginson (Staffordshire)

Our verdict: Southend 1 Stevenage 0

Wycombe (2) v Carlisle (18)

Wycombe look set to have midfielders Stuart Lewis and Josh Scowen available. Gary Doherty is set to be out for another seven weeks, but the Blues have no fresh injury worries and could give more game-time to Aaron Holloway.

Carlisle winger David Amoo remains doubtful due to the ankle injury that kept him out of the midweek Capital One Cup defeat to Derby. Central defender Sean O'Hanlon will be in contention despite having stitches in a head wound, while Stephen Elliot, Alex Marrow, Gary Dicker and defender Danny Grainger are all hoping to start.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Peter Murphy (Wycombe) 1 Paris Cowan-Hall (Wycombe) 1 ;

Referee: Charles Breakspear (Surrey)

Our verdict: Wycombe 0 Carlisle 2

York (15) v Northampton (7)

York boss Nigel Worthington could be forced to hand teenage striker Ben Hirst his debut after Ryan Jarvis (ankle) was stretchered off in midweek. Fellow forwards Wes Fletcher and Jake Hyde (both knee) are out while centre-half Keith Lowe is in contention to return. Summer signing Luke Summerfield could also make his first start but Josh Carson (knee) remains sidelined.

Northampton will have midfielders Chris Hackett (achilles), Emile Sinclair (groin) and Darren Carter (hamstring) back in their squad. But Kelvin Langmead (Achilles), Lewis Hornby (tendonitis) and Connor Roberts (groin) are all sidelined.

Last season: Northampton 0 York 2 York 1 Northampton 0

Last five league matches: York W W W D D; Northampton D L W W W

Top scorers: Keith Lowe (York) 1 ; Lawson D'Ath (Northampton) 2

Our verdict: York 1 Northampton 1