EFL League Two Preview: Matchweek 3

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League Two preview
MACCLESFIELD, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07: Moss Rose Ground during the The FA Cup with Budweiser Second Round match between Macclesfield Town and Brackley Town at The Moss Rose Ground on December 7, 2013 in Macclesfield, England. (Photo by Tim Keeton/Getty Images)

Welcome back to Last Word On Football’s EFL League Two previews. We’re now into the third week of the Football League’s return and we’ve also had the first round of the Carabao Cup to contend with, meaning teams are now fully settling into their seasons. Let’s take a closer look at what’s in store for Matchweek 3.

League Two Preview: Matchweek 3

Key Games

Forest Green Rovers v Grimsby Town

While Forest Green Rovers’ fast start to the season was somewhat expected due to their play-off campaign last season, Grimsby Town were not expected to be in a similar position, even on the eve of just the third game of the season.

It’s too early to read too much into the table, but for those that want to, this is a fourth v fifth clash and, as early as it is, a win at this stage is where confidence breeding will start to begin. If you’re unbeaten after three games, particularly with two of those being wins, it’s potentially a massive springboard for success.

Forest Green will probably hope home advantage can carry them over the line in this one, but Grimsby have won away from home, drawn against one of the relegated League One sides and then knocked a League One team out of the Carabao Cup. It certainly looks like they’re not messing about this season.

Northampton Town v Macclesfield Town

After making such a positive start to the season, Macclesfield Town will likely go into this game managerless after they parted company with Sol Campbell by mutual agreement.

Campbell had guided his side to one loss and one win in the league as well as knocking Blackpool out of the cup on penalties. He also managed to secure the Silkmen’s EFL status against all the odds last season, defying his own critics as well as the team’s.

It’s not yet clear why he left, but what will be interesting is how Macclesfield cope without Campbell, starting from Saturday.

Northampton were disappointing in League Two last season after dropping down from the third tier and will be hoping to mount some sort of siege on the top seven this time around to get back up to League One. There’s no better place for them to start with that than against a side with nobody in charge.

Predictions

Bradford City v Oldham Athletic

Both sides are still searching for their first win this season, but Bradford’s overall quality and home advantage should help them get it. Expect a scrappy game with limited chances, though. It certainly won’t be one to remember.

Bradford City 2-1 Oldham Athletic

Carlisle United v Mansfield Town

All three of Mansfield’s games this season have finished 2-2; two of them at home to Morecambe, although they lost on penalties in the cup fixture. Attacking wise they seem the same as last year but their leaky defence is causing issues. With Carlisle at home, it’s hard to see past another entertaining draw.

Carlisle United 2-2 Mansfield Town

Colchester United v Cambridge United

Cambridge are unbeaten so far this season with two draws in the league and then pulling off a shock at Brentford in the cup, and they are up against a Colchester side yet to get going in League Two. Cambridge’s luck has to run out eventually though, and Colchester should get off the mark here.

Colchester United 2-0 Cambridge United

Crewe Alexandra v Walsall

Walsall are widely tipped to do well this season and they have responded accordingly with a win and a draw so far. Crewe have made a good start too and are even outsiders for the play-offs in the eyes of some, but this may be a step too far at the moment after their exhausting cup tie at Middlesbrough.

Crewe Alexandra 1-2 Walsall

Exeter City v Swindon Town

Exeter City and Swindon Town are two of the three sides to have made 100% starts in the league and there’s every chance they’ll be in roughly the same positions come the end of the season. We can’t separate them.

Exeter City 1-1 Swindon Town

Forest Green Rovers v Grimsby Town

Grimsby will be hoping they can surprise everyone and get a result here, but Forest Green are one of the stronger sides in the division while Grimsby are likely just riding on an early wave. This should be comfortable for the hosts.

Forest Green Rovers 2-0 Grimsby Town

Leyton Orient v Stevenage

Leyton Orient were brought crashing back down to earth following their opening day win with 3-0 and 2-0 losses respectively. However, Stevenage have made a dire start to the season under Dino Maamria and Brisbane Road has been a fortress for the O’s for some time. It’ll be narrow, but they should get the win.

Leyton Orient 2-1 Stevenage

Morecambe v Cheltenham Town

Morecambe’s home form is what keep them alive in the Football League more often than now, and against a side not expected to trouble the upper echelons of the table is where they need to be picking up points.

Morecambe 1-0 Cheltenham Town

Newport County v Plymouth Argyle

Plymouth Argyle have matched the expectations against them so far. They’re already looking like one of the favourites and they should have too much for Newport County.

Newport County 1-2 Plymouth Argyle

Northampton Town v Macclesfield Town

Macclesfield are dealing with this game without Sol Campbell, and although they have made a positive start, his influence will be missed. This could be the start of another downfall for them.

Northampton Town 2-0 Macclesfield Town

Salford City v Port Vale

Salford City were soundly beaten in their glamour tie against Leeds United in the week and that will have taken a lot out of them. They look like they’ve adapted to the step-up in quality in recent weeks, but Port Vale will be scrapping for points and could take a share of them here.

Salford City 1-1 Port Vale

Scunthorpe United v Crawley Town

The shock of League Two so far has been Scunthorpe United’s start, and they currently sit bottom of the table. A Championship side in recent history, the Iron will be desperate to put points on the board against Crawley and turn their fortunes around.

Scunthorpe United 1-0 Crawley Town

 

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