Sky Bet League 2 briefing

  • Last Updated: December 31 2013, 13:39 GMT

Team news, statistics and our verdict for the New Year's Day action in Sky Bet League 2.

Sam Winnall: In contention for Scunthorpe
Sam Winnall: In contention for Scunthorpe

Wednesday, January 1

Bristol Rovers (21) v Cheltenham (10)

Bristol Rovers boss John Ward could recall Elliot Richards (knee) to the starting line-up. Seanan Clucas and Danny Woodards will return from injury during January but this local derby comes too soon for the pair.

Cheltenham defender Steve Elliott (ankle) looks unlikely to play any part. Connor Goldson is set to deputise once more while West Brom loanee Kemar Roofe is set for a recall to to the starting line-up having impressed as a substitute in the shock loss to Mansfield.

Last season: Cheltenham 1 Bristol Rovers 1, Bristol Rovers 0 Cheltenham 1

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

Top scorers: John-Joe O'Toole (Bristol Rovers) 7; Byron Harrison (Cheltenham) 8

Referee: Iain Williamson (Berkshire).

Our verdict: Bristol Rovers 1 Cheltenham 3

Dagenham (12) v AFC Wimbledon (15)

Dagenham forward Zavon Hines will miss out through suspension. Billy Bingham (knee) and Matt Saunders (ankle) are expected to remain on the sidelines as the Daggers aim to end a four-match winless run.

AFC Wimbledon will check on Barry Fuller who suffered a dead leg during Sunday's 1-1 draw with Plymouth. George Francomb will be available after the club successfully appealed against the red card he picked up against Southend on Boxing Day.

Last season: Dag & Red 0 AFC Wimbledon 1, AFC Wimbledon 2 Dag & Red 2

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

Top scorers: Rhys Murphy (Dag & Red) 11; Michael Smith (AFC Wimbledon) 10

Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight).

Our verdict: Dagenham 1 AFC Wimbledon 0

Exeter (11) v Wycome (16)

Exeter look set to be without on-loan Bristol Rovers midfielder Matt Gill after he limped off with a hamstring injury in the 3-1 win over Torquay on Sunday. David Wheeler is expected to start despite having three stitches on a head injury at Plainmoor.

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth will be without Dean Morgan (hamstring). Paris Cowan-Hall could start after proving his fitness off the bench but Steven Craig will not feature having been ruled out for six weeks.

Last season: Wycombe 0 Exeter 1, Exeter 3 Wycombe 2

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

Top scorers: Alan Gow (Exeter) 7; Dean Morgan & Matt McClure (Wycombe) 6

Referee: Oliver Langford (W Midlands).

Our verdict: Exeter 0 Wycombe 2

Fleetwood (8) v Accrington (18)

Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander is hopeful Nathan Pond (hip) and Steven Schumacher (groin) will recover in time. The pair had been slight doubts for Sunday's fixture at Wycombe but that game was postponed 20 minutes before kick-off.

Accrington's Danny Webber (illness) could return to the starting XI. George Bowerman (chest pain) should be available to play some part, while defender Rob Atkinson is back in the squad following a hamstring problem.

Last season: Accrington Stanley 0 Fleetwood Town 3, Fleetwood Town 1 Accrington Stanley 3

Last five league matches: Fleetwood Town L D W L L; Accrington Stanley L L W D D

Top scorers: Antoni Sarcevic (Fleetwood Town) 8; Kal Naismith (Accrington Stanley) 6

Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire).

Our verdict: Fleetwood 1 Accrington 1

Hartlepool (13) v Bury (20)

Hartlepool midfielder Andy Monkhouse returns to contention after serving a one-game ban. Jack Compton (calf) remains doubtful so winger Nialle Rodney, who deputised in his absence on Sunday, could be rewarded with his full home debut.

Bury midfielder Danny Mayor is a doubt due to a hamstring injury. Full-back Shaun Beeley recently had his loan cancelled and went back to Fleetwood for treatment on a hamstring tear while midfield duo Craig Jones (groin) and Tom Soares (hamstring) are again very doubtful.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Luke James (Hartlepool) 10; Daniel Nardiello (Bury) 9

Referee: Andy Haines (Tyne & Wear).

Our verdict: Hartlepool 2 Bury 2

Mansfield (19) v Burton (3)

Jamie McGuire (groin) and Matt Rhead (ankle) are injury concerns for Mansfield. Leading scorer Sam Clucas (ankle) and fellow midfielder Ben Hutchinson (hamstring) remain out injured.

Burton boss Gary Rowett expects to have an unchanged squad. Midfielder Lee Bell is fit again after a hamstring injury and has been used as a substitute over the festive period while striker Rene Howe will be fresh to face the Stags after starting on the bench for the last three matches.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Sam Clucas (Mansfield) 11; Billy Kee (Burton Albion) 9

Referee: Trevor Kettle (Rutland).

Our verdict: Mansfield 1 Burton 1

Newport (7) v Oxford (5)

Newport could be without goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley who has a broken thumb. With fellow shot-stopper Jamie Stephens (hamstring) also out, 18-year-old Connor Christie or defender Andy Sandell, who has been the back-up to Pidgeley in recent weeks, could start in goal.

Oxford striker Dave Kitson serves the second of his two-game ban after picking up his 10th yellow card of the campaign. Injured trio Alfie Potter, Jon Meades and Andy Whing remain sidelined until February.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Newport County D W W W L; Oxford Utd D W D L L

Top scorers: Chris Zebroski & Conor Washington (Newport County) 7; James Constable (Oxford Utd) 9

Referee: Rob Lewis (Shropshire).

Our verdict: Newport 0 Oxford 1

Northampton (24) v Chesterfield (1)

Northampton will assess Roy O'Donovan (ankle), Luke Norris (thigh) and Izale McLeod. Darren Carter returns from suspension but Mathias Kouo-Doumbe, Ian Morris, Clive Platt, Kelvin Langmead, Lewis Hornby and Alex Nicholls all remain sidelined.

Chesterfield are without suspended defenders Sam Hird and Ian Evatt so Liam Cooper and Matty Brown will start in central defence. Leading scorer Marc Richards (hamstring) is a doubt, while midfield trio Jimmy Ryan, Sam Morsy (knee) and Gary Roberts (hamstring) are fighting to be fit.

Last season: Chesterfield 3 Northampton 0, Northampton 0 Chesterfield 0

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

Top scorers: Luke Norris (Northampton) 6; Marc Richards (Chesterfield) 7

Referee: Graham Horwood (Bedfordshire).

Our verdict: Northampton 1 Chesterfield 1

Plymouth (14) v Torquay (23)

Plymouth defender Ben Purrington looks set for his first senior Home Park start. Caolan Lavery is expected to be involved in the final match of his loan spell from Sheffield Wednesday.

Torquay are expected to be without striker John Marquis after he returned to parent club Millwall for treatment on a cyst in his groin. On-loan forward Jayden Stockley is expected to return from Bournemouth ahead of the clash after treatment on a back problem.

Last season: Plymouth 1 Torquay 1, Torquay 0 Plymouth 0

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

Top scorers: Reuben Reid (Plymouth) 12; Jordan Chapell (Torquay) 5

Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).

Our verdict: Plymouth 1 Torquay 0

Scunthorpe (2) v Rochdale (4)

Scunthorpe's leading goalscorer Sam Winnall will return to contention following suspension. Matt Godden (ankle) and Andy Dawson (hip) are out, while teenage winger Hakeeb Adelakun (knock) is doubtful and Michael Collins (calf) could start.

Rochdale striker George Donnelly is hoping to make his first appearance in over two months following his recovery from an ankle injury. Midfielder Gary Dicker is still nursing an unspecified injury after missing the last three games.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Connor Jennings (Scunthorpe) 17; Scott Hogan (Rochdale) 11

Referee: Andy Woolmer (Northamptonshire).

Our verdict: Scunthorpe 2 Rochdale 1

Southend (6) v Portsmouth (17)

Southend boss Phil Brown will contemplate freshening things up, with the likes of Barry Corr, Freddy Eastwood, Marc Laid and Conor Clifford all pushing for recalls. Long-term absentee Julian Bennett (knee) remains on the sidelines.

Danny East is Portsmouth's latest injury worry after he limped off towards the end of Sunday's goalless draw with Northampton. East is set to join Simon Ferry, Shaun Cooper (both hamstring), Andy Barcham (thigh) and Tom Craddock (knee) on the sidelines.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Kevan Hurst (Southend) 8; Patrick Agyemang & David Connolly (Portsmouth) 5

Referee: David Phillips (West Sussex).

Our verdict: Southend 3 Portsmouth 0

York (22) v Morecambe (9)

York boss Nigel Worthington is expected to make several changes. Goalkeeper Michael Ingham is hoping to prove his fitness in time after being sidelined with a hip injury since mid-November.

Morecambe boss Jim Bentley must decide whether to recall Jack Sampson (knee) to his starting XI. Midfielder Andy Wright has a groin strain so is unlikely to feature while Ryan Williams, struggling with a hamstring injury recently, was absent from the squad on Sunday.

Last season: York 1 Morecambe 4, Morecambe 2 York 2

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

Top scorers: Wes Fletcher & Ryan Jarvis (York) 8; Padraig Amond (Morecambe) 7

Referee: Nigel Miller (Durham).

Our verdict: York 0 Morecambe 0

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