ENGLAND ....JOHNSTONES PAINT TROPHY
SHREWSBURY TOWN - DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE
OK, it is always very difficult to be 100% certain nowadays, about what exact line up teams will field in this competition. League rules dictate that over half the starting eleven should be made up from the players that competed in the last league fixture, but there are always ways around this. However, I assume that both will be interested in this game, neither has a league fixture for at least 10 days, with the FA Cup first round taking place this weekend and the hosts will certainly want to keep the momentum going after returning to form big time, with a fine 3-0 win over Luton at the weekend. In that game, they had 20 attempts at goal, with an incredible 15 on target, a fantastic ratio. This will also be their last home start for over three weeks, so it is difficult to see them lacking in motivation.
Boss Paul Simpson has had huge success in the lower leagues and seems to have recovered from his spell in charge at Preston, where he lost the plot, blaming, in turn, supporters and then the pre match music, for his side's poor form ! He has already completed the double, of promotion and a money earning final appearance in this competition, whilst at Carlisle and the fact that MK Dons won both last season, has already been commented on at Town this week. Therefore, I am fairly sure that they will give of their best, in addition to the 19 goals they have scored in their last six home starts, they notched seven (!) at fellow promotion challengers Wycombe in the last round. That was a stunning performance, as Wanderers have conceded just 6 in 14 league starts !
Not only are Town a classy outfit and worthy favourites to win League 2, they have a real touch of steel and were very physical in the recent game at Griffin Park, where they tried to kick my beloved Bees into submission ! Loathe as I am to say it, that will serve them well at this level, where there is far less protection from officials.
Dagenham are an enigma, last season they couldn't create an attempt on goal worthy of the name, for much of the season, twice failing to register a single shot on home soil, do not think I have ever seen that before. But then, they went on a scoring rampage and hit a run of form, which preseved their league status, this season they caught everyone by surprise and were early leaders. I think the true D&R is somewhere between the two extremes and a mid table finish seems the most likely result come next May. The goals have dried up and apart from a 4-0 thumping of struggling Grimsby, they have played poorly for the past month, visitors Accrington had much the better of a 0-0 draw in London at the weekend, where Dagenham are usually strong, on the road they have conceded more goals that anyother top ten side apart from Gillingham. They lost 4-0 here last season, both have progressed since then, but Town are the much stronger team and in better form and with home advantage , they should take the spoils.
6 points Shrewsbury -1/2 ball 1.98 asian line..... CURRENTLY 1.87