Saturday, November 12, 2011


I want to say a few words about the Preston North End- Southend United game. I still feel that when everyone is fit, the hosts are a very good League 1 team, but they have had a terrible time with injuries and to lose Hume, Mellor and Proctor all at the same time has been a disaster, it is hard to play 4-3-3, when your front three are all missing ! North End defend from the front and these three put so much pressure on opponents that the system breaks down when they are absent. Phil Brown is further restricted today as on loan Jonathan Forte has been refused permission to play by Southampton. Confidence is a wonderful thing, but Preston who had it in spades two months ago, have now lost their's and are now without a win inside 90 minutes in nine starts and have conceded 27 goals in their last ten outings. United are full of confidence, riding high at the top of League 2, unbeaten in 12 with eleven wins, including six on the road, the last three without conceding. So, what do I think ? PNE will be much better in a couple of weeks and a team to follow when at least two of the big three are back, for now, United look big at circa 3.75.

I want to get one saturday selection out of the way early, so let's start today with that and it is the FA Cup tie between Maidenhead United and Aldershot Town, which will not surprise many of you ! We talked about United on Tuesday ( reproduced below, there is a theme going on here !) , when we opposed them with Dover Athletic, the visitors ran out very comfortable 4-1 winners, although the Magpies did put some pressure on in a 15 minute spell in the second half. I missed that having only stayed to watch the opening 45 minutes as I was passing the ground at that time and as I reported the next day, Dover had no problems getting in behind the home defence, which is really leaking goals. I appreciate that they were distracted by this big cup tie, which, after all, was one of my arguments for opposing them in midweek, but they are going to really struggle to keep the lively Aldershot front players at bay and I have to side with the visitors. The Shots will be without suspended goalkeeper Ross Worner, but replacement Jamie Young played in the first six games of the season and also when I saw them in pre season and I did not really notice him, so that is a compliment in itself. The Shots had a good run in the Carling Cup, but their league form suffered leading up to the huge game against Manchester United, but they seemed back on track with three wins in a row and ten goals scored, before the 2-0 loss with ten men at Rotherham last week. That was a bad day at the office, but it was all credit to them and their fitness levels, which are very high and something I touched upon in pre season, that they tried to take the game to the Millers two down and short one man. The pitch at York Road will be a little sticky and maybe even heavy and that should eventually play into the Shots hands, after they have weathered a bit of a storm from a fired up United. It is far from a trip into the unknown for Aldershot, who played here many times in their non league days, or especially for visiting boss Dean Holdsworth who had great joy here recently with his former club Newport County, around half the crowd ( 1,000) will be noisy Shots fans and I expect them to go home happy. Holdsworth is very ambitious and is on the radar of a lot of bigger clubs, he will not want a loss here on his CV so we can expect them to be equally as motivated as the hosts. 1.5 units Aldershot Town -0.75 asian line 2.0 .

I am going to start in the Blue Square South, where Maidenhead United host Dover Athletic, we discussed the visitors on Saturday (see below ) and they found a very late winner, not enough to win our bet, but it at least saved our stake. Athletic struggled to break down a very negative Weston team, who came for a point and were trying to waste time almost from the kick off. They are very unlikely to face a similar approach tonight, with United favouring an open style, especially here at York Road. The hosts are without a league win in two months and were 3-0 down at Eastleigh very early on saturday and not for the first time this season. They finally lost 4-1 and were defensively a bit of a shambles, with at least one of the backline playing out of position. That aside, the Magpies are very distracted by a big home FA Cup tie with Aldershot Town this weekend, they normally play home games in front of 250 people and will have a close to capacity crowd of around 10 times that and none of the players wants to miss out on their biggest game in years, especially with the chance to impress a league scout or two. Athletic are fully focused only on tonight's fixture and should have enough about them to collect the points. I have just been to the United ground ( it is around two miles from my home) to try and get some confirmed team news, but it is like the match tonight is not taking place, with only the Aldershot game receiving any attention. Dover Athletic -0.25 ball 1.90 asian line.

Good Luck.

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