BLUE SQUARE BET PREMIER AND FA TROPHY BETTING PREVIEW
Wednesday Feb 1, 2012
BY ALAN ALGER FROM BLUE SQUARE
Weather permitting, five Blue Square Bet Premier fixtures will take place on Saturday afternoon alongside eight games from the third round of the FA Trophy.
First the league matches and leaders Fleetwood Town aren't anticipating any problems at their Highbury home where frost covers should once again come to the rescue.
The Cod Army's promotion season from the Blue Square Bet North could largely be attributed to their ability to get games ‘on' during periods of bad weather thus avoiding a fixture pile up.
Micky Mellon's team have the chance to move four points clear of nearest pursuers Wrexham, who have a free weekend. Tamworth are the visitors to Lancashire and they are quoted as 7/1 outsiders to shock the title favourites with an away win.
Fleetwood are the strong odds-on favourites at 3/10, with a draw offered at 4/1. Tamworth ended their seven game winless league run with a 1-0 victory at Cambridge United last week, their first clean-sheet in that period too. Fleetwood are unbeaten in their last 15 league matches and look extremely likely to add to that here. Southport can move up to 4th in the table if they beat Kettering Town at Haig Avenue. The Sandgrounders will be odds-on to do so, despite Kettering winning their last two games to ease relegation fears at Nene Park. Mansfield Town host Darlington at Field Mill where a home win will also be the strongly favoured outcome by the market.
After tough consecutive home games against the top two, Forest Green Rovers travel to AFC Telford United this weekend.
The New Lawn side are 11 points off the play-off places and still with plenty of work to do after beating Wrexham but succumbing to a late Fleetwood winner last Saturday. Dave Hockaday's team are the 7/5 favourites to complete a double over their opponents after a 2-1 home win back in October.
That 1-0 victory over Wrexham is their only success in their last seven league games though, but with two wins in 19 Telford are in even worse form. That's why even with home advantage they are quoted as the 7/4 outsiders.
Braintree Town are level on points with Forest Green in the table and they travel to Lincoln City. The Imps failed in their quest for rare back-to-back wins when losing 1-0 at Kettering last weekend but are 6/5 favourites for a home win here. Braintree are quoted at 2/1 to win their first away game since the end of September, the draw is offered at 23/10.
Six of the Blue Square Bet Premier's top ten teams feature in the third round of the FA Trophy. 2008/09 beaten finalists York City are the 5/1 favourites to win the competition outright.
he Minstermen have been drawn at home against 2007/08 winners Ebbsfleet United. A home win for Gary Mills' team is quoted at 1/2. York have already completed a double over Liam Daish's side, the second of those league games at Bootham Crescent just over a week ago saw a 10-man York team run out 3-2 winners. Four-time finalists Kidderminster Harriers host Luton Town in the tie of the round.
The Harriers having won the trophy back in 1986/87 have been runners-up on three occasions since then. Most recently in 2006/07 in a thrilling game which marked the opening round of matches at the New Wembley Stadium. Since that Wembley final has been back on the table we've seen sides from the top-half of the Blue Square Bet Premier dominate and it would be no surprise to see the victor in this tie go a long way. Luton will no doubt take the chance to spread some appearances through their large squad. Consequently we are offering a best price of 6/4 for The Hatters. Kidderminster are also 6/4 shots and should make home advantage tell.
Elsewhere in the FA Trophy in-form Grimsby Town travel to Twerton Park to take on Bath City. The Mariners having scooped a January double in the Blue Square monthly honours could have one eye on a push for the play-offs but still rate very worthy favourites at 4/5 for an away win. Cambridge United have dropped away from the pace that had them as short as 5/1 for promotion at one stage of the season. Their recent form of three wins in 11 league games dropping them from 3rd in the table to 10th.
Home advantage is a plus for the U's against a very capable Guiseley outfit from the Blue Square Bet North. The Yorkshire side defeated just once in 14 matches as they climbed to second in their table and saw their odds slashed for the title. We're taking no chances on a cup shock here and quote an away win at 4/1, favourite backers are offered an added incentive with a 4/7 quote on a home win.
Gateshead and Alfreton have already met twice in the league this season, with the former winning their home game and drawing on the road. Ian Bogie's team are the 4/5 favourites to make it a trio of unbeaten games with a home win in this tie. Alfreton are the 11/4 outsiders for their second visit to the International Stadium this season.
Justin Edinburgh's Newport County side host Carshalton Athletic from the lower reaches of the Ryman Premier. If anything the Surrey side have been better away from home this season so a quote of 2/5 for a home win may need plenty of faith behind it. Another Ryman Premier side Wealdstone shocked recent Trophy winners Barrow in the previous round and have secured a trip to in-form Dartford of the Blue Square Bet South. A home win is odds-on at 4/11. The remaining tie sees troubled Northwich Victoria host Hampton & Richmond of the Blue Square Bet South. The home side are the 5/6 favourites despite coming from one rung lower in the Non-League pyramid.
Alan's Best Weekend Treble:
KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS to beat Luton Town
DRAW in Cambridge United v Guiseley
FOREST GREEN ROVERS to win at AFC Telford United
You can follow me on Twitter - @AlanBlueSquare