Sky Bet League 2 briefings

  • Last Updated: December 24 2013, 15:12 GMT

Team news, statistics and our verdict for the Boxing Day action in Sky Bet League 2.

Marc Richards: Chesterfield's leading goalscorer
Marc Richards: Chesterfield's leading goalscorer

(Current league positions in brackets)

Thursday, December 26

AFC Wimbledon (15) v Southend (7)

AFC Wimbledon could have skipper Alan Bennett available following an ankle injury.

Sammy Moore is back after serving a one-match ban but Harry Pell (knee), Will Antwi (hip) and Chris Arthur (ankle) remain sidelined.

Luke Prosser is a doubt for Southend's trip to AFC Wimbledon due to concussion, with Mark Phillips ready to deputise.

Long-term absentee Julian Bennett remains the only other player in the treatment room as he continues his rehabilitation from a knee injury.

Last season: Southend 1 AFC Wimbledon 3, AFC Wimbledon 0 Southend 4

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

Top scorers: Michael Smith (AFC Wimbledon) 9; Kevan Hurst (Southend) 8

Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire).

Our verdict: AFC Wimbledon 0 Southend 0

Accrington (17) v York City (21)

Accrington hope Danny Webber will return from illness for the clash.

Rob Atkinson was back in the squad on Saturday following a hamstring injury and both he and Andrew Dawber (groin) are now considered fit enough to feature.

Ryan Bowman is available again for York after completing a four-match suspension.

Boss Nigel Worthington must choose between Michael Ingham and Aaron McCarey in goal but defenders Chris Smith (ankle) and Dan Parslow (knee) both remain sidelined.

Last season: York 1 Accrington Stanley 1, Accrington Stanley 0 York 1

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

Top scorers: Kal Naismith (Accrington Stanley) 6; Ryan Jarvis (York) 8

Referee: Mark Heywood (Cheshire).

Our verdict: Accrington 1 York City 1

Burton (5) v Northampton Town (24)

Burton boss Gary Rowett will check on Damien McCrory's hamstring injury, with Zander Diamond ready to deputise.

Lee Bell (hamstring) and Alex MacDonald (virus) are both expected to return.

Andy King is without injured trio Mathias Kouo-Doumbe, Ian Morris and Clive Platt as he takes charge of his first match as Northampton caretaker manager.

Stuart Dallas has been recalled by Brentford, forcing King to recall Cobblers trio Ben Tozer, Matty Harriott and David Moyo from their loans.

Last season: Northampton 1 Burton Albion 0, Burton Albion 3 Northampton 3

Last five league matches: Burton Albion W W W D D; Northampton L D W D L

Top scorers: Billy Kee & Adam McGurk (Burton Albion) 8; Luke Norris (Northampton) 6

Referee: James Adcock (Nottinghamshire).

Our verdict: Burton 2 Northampton Town 0

Bury (23) v Scunthorpe (3)

Bury are likely to be without captain Craig Jones as he struggles with the groin injury which forced him off at the weekend.

On-loan full-back Shaun Beeley and midfielder Tom Soares are both major doubts for the game due to hamstring problems.

Scunthorpe hope to have captain Michael Collins (calf) and Matt Sparrow (hamstring) available.

Defender Andy Dawson is not expected back until early in the new year after being sidelined since November with a hip injury.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Daniel Nardiello (Bury) 8; Connor Jennings (Scunthorpe) 17

Referee: Geoff Eltringham (Tyne & Wear).

Our verdict: Bury 0 Scunthorpe 2

Cheltenham (11) v Exeter(12)

Cheltenham are without defender Steve Elliott, who has been ruled out over the festive period with an ankle injury.

Young midfielder Kemar Roofe is back from an ankle problem of his own while fellow loanee Connor Goldson is expected to retain his place in the side.

Exeter remain without captain Danny Coles (knee) and midfielder Matt Oakley (ankle).

Alan Gow and Matt Grimes are expected to start after being named on the bench on Friday.

Last season: Exeter 0 Cheltenham 1, Cheltenham 3 Exeter 0

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

Top scorers: Byron Harrison (Cheltenham) 8; Alan Gow (Exeter) 6

Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire).

Our verdict: Cheltenham 1 Exeter 1

Chesterfield (1) v Hartlepool (14)

Chesterfield defenders Liam Cooper and Nathan Smith have both resumed training following ankle problems and could feature.

Sam Morsy is ready to play following a knee injury while Gary Roberts (hamstring) is nearing a return.

Hartlepool could recall 17-year-old Brad Walker after coming off the bench to score the leveller against Burton on Saturday.

Jordan Richards (double hernia) and Dan Jones (ankle) are both unavailable as Pools chase their first win in five league games.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Marc Richards & Ollie Banks (Chesterfield) 6; Luke James (Hartlepool) 10

Referee: Gary Sutton (Lincolnshire).

Our verdict: Chesterfield 3 Hartlepool 1

Morecambe (9) v Fleetwood (4)

Morecambe are waiting on the fitness of Marcus Marshall and Chris Doyle as the duo look to return from their respective knocks which saw them miss Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Scunthorpe.

Kevin Ellison (eye) and Ryan Williams (hamstring) could both return to the Shrimps' starting XI.

Fleetwood top scorer Antoni Sarcevic is back from suspension.

Nathan Pond and Junior Brown (both rested) and Jeff Hughes (ankle) return to contention but Jamille Matt (ankle) remains sidelined.

Last season: Fleetwood Town 1 Morecambe 0, Morecambe 0 Fleetwood Town 4

Last five league matches: Morecambe D W L W L; Fleetwood Town W L D W L

Top scorers: Kevin Ellison & Padraig Amond (Morecambe) 6; Antoni Sarcevic (Fleetwood Town) 8

Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire).

Our verdict: Morecambe 1 Fleetwood 2

Oxford (2) v Plymouth (16)

Oxford boss Chris Wilder could name an unchanged side for the third successive match.

Injured trio Alfie Potter, Jon Meades and Andy Whing all remain sidelined until February with ankle problems.

Plymouth skipper Conor Hourihane returns from suspension and will take his place in the Argyle midfield.

Sheffield Wednesday loanee Caolan Lavery is set to continue in attack alongside top scorer Reuben Reid as the Pilgrims look to end a run of four successive away defeats.

Last season: Plymouth 0 Oxford Utd 1, Oxford Utd 2 Plymouth 1

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

Top scorers: James Constable (Oxford Utd) 9; Reuben Reid (Plymouth) 9

Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire).

Our verdict: Oxford 3 Plymouth 0

Portsmouth (20) v Dagenham & Redbridge (10)

Andy Barcham and Shaun Cooper are doubtful for Portsmouth after both being forced off at the weekend with knocks.

Bondz N'Gala is suspended after collecting a fifth booking, Danny East (neck) and Tom Craddock (knee) are injured while on-loan left-back Dan Potts has returned to West Ham.

Dagenham are not expected to have any new injury or suspension concerns.

Luke Wilkinson and Josh Scott are pushing for recalls but Matt Saunders (ankle) and Billy Bingham (knee) remain out.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Patrick Agyemang & David Connolly (Portsmouth) 5; Rhys Murphy (Dag & Red) 11

Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire).

Our verdict: Portsmouth 1 Dagenham & Redbridge 2

Rochdale (8) v Mansfield (19)

Peter Cavanagh is in contention for his first Rochdale start since August after a couple of substitute appearances following his return from an Achilles problem.

Manager Keith Hill could recall midfielders Gary Dicker and Andrew Tutte to his squad as he chases a first league win in five matches.

Mansfield will have an unchanged squad as John Dempster serves the final game of his two-match suspension.

Sam Clucas (ankle) and Ben Hutchinson (hamstring) remain absentees.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Rochdale W L D L D; Mansfield L L L D L

Top scorers: Scott Hogan (Rochdale) 8; Sam Clucas (Mansfield) 11

Referee: Mark Haywood (W Yorkshire).

Our verdict: Rochdale 1 Mansfield 2

Torquay (22) v Bristol Rovers (18)

Torquay have Jayden Stockley available after he was passed fit following a calf injury.

Jordan Chapell could feature at some point having returned from a toe problem.

Bristol Rovers boss John Ward must choose between Mark McChrystal, who has just returned from a knee injury, and the recently-suspended Tom Lockyer at centre-back.

With no new injury worries, Ward may opt to bring in Ellis Harrison or Preston loanee Chris Beardsley, who are both pushing for recalls.

Last season: Torquay 3 Bristol Rovers 3, Bristol Rovers 3 Torquay 2

Last five league matches: Torquay L D L W W; Bristol Rovers L D W L W

Top scorers: Jordan Chapell (Torquay) 5; John-Joe O'Toole (Bristol Rovers) 7

Referee: Phill Gibbs (West Midlands).

Our verdict: Torquay 3 Bristol Rovers 2

Wycombe (13) v Newport (6)

Wycombe will have Josh Scowen available following suspension but he may struggle to force his way into a winning team.

Gareth Ainsworth is unlikely to make many changes from the 4-1 victory against Northampton at the weekend.

Newport are waiting on the fitness of Ismail Yakubu (hip) and fellow defender Andrew Hughes (hamstring) ahead of the game.

Byron Anthony, Max Porter and last season's top scorer Aaron O'Connor all remain on the comeback trail from long-term problems.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Dean Morgan & Matt McClure (Wycombe) 6; Chris Zebroski & Conor Washington (Newport County) 7

Referee: Iain Williamson (Berkshire).

Our verdict: Wycombe 1 Newport 2

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