Free football tips, best bets and analysis for Saturday’s English Football League 3pm matches.
3pts 11-10 Betway
2pts 9-5 Betfair, Betfred, Paddy Power
2pts 2-1 bet365, Betfred
Cardiff draw no bet
2pts 7-4 general
Crawley Town v Stevenage
Stevenage have rolled the dice once more in a bid to conjure up a great escape but don’t expect an instant return at Crawley.
With Borough bottom of Sky Bet League Two, Graham Westley quit Broadhall Way this week to be replaced by Alex Revell, who had been assistant to Mark Sampson earlier on this season.
Revell, who has turned to old hand Russell Slade for some guidance, is embarking on his first tilt as a manager and is Stevenage’s fourth gaffer this term.
They are the lowest scorers in the top five divisions, have lost their last six games and have taken just ten points out of a possible 51 on their travels.
In contrast, Crawley have been transformed under John Yems and a mid-table finish looks inevitable.
The Reds have suffered only three defeats in the last three months and none of them were on their own patch, where they have seen off Northampton, Bradford and Grimsby.
They drew at Plymouth and Salford recently and gave Crewe a real test. They should be able to overcome fragile Stevenage.
Lincoln City v Gillingham
Steve Evans has got a tune out of Gillingham in Sky Bet League One and a team who had looked relegation candidates in the autumn are suddenly just four points outside the playoffs.
The quality of the eight teams above them suggests they may fall short but they can inch closer by winning at Sincil Bank.
The Gills won 1-0 against the Imps in November and are unbeaten in 14 in the league, a sequence which has included draws at Fleetwood, Peterborough and Ipswich.
Lincoln have lost their way since Danny Cowley’s exit.
Under Michael Appleton they are on a run of no wins in six – they even lost at struggling Southend – and are still without the suspended Joe Morrell, who was missed in last weekend’s defensively awful 4-3 loss at Accrington.
Walsall v Port Vale
Port Vale are taking 2,000 fans down the M6 to Walsall and they can roar League Two’s in-form side on to another three points.
John Askey’s men have taken 13 points from the last 15, all against teams in the top half of Sky Bet League Two.
Exeter, Northampton and Forest Green were all beaten before the Valiants turned on the style last Saturday with a 3-0 dismantling of Colchester.
Askey has a clean bill of health with Jake Taylor and David Amoo declared fit and Tom Pope and James Gibbons back from bans, although only Gibbons would expect to go straight back into the side.
Walsall have picked up over the last couple of weeks, but they have suffered eight home defeats this term – only basement boys Stevenage have suffered more.
Stoke City v Cardiff City
It’s hard to know what constitutes a surprise in the inconsistent world of the Sky Bet Championship, but Cardiff avoiding defeat at Stoke probably wouldn’t be much of an eyebrow-raiser.
The layers are right behind Stoke yet Michael O’Neill’s are way too erratic to be trusted. Overwhelmed at QPR last weekend, they won’t find Cardiff easy to shake off.
The Bluebirds have been much improved since Neil Harris took the reins from Neil Warnock in November.
They have lost just two of their last 21 and are unbeaten in five on their travels including winning their last two.
Saturday football acca
MK Dons 4-6
A £1 accumulator returns £7.70 with Betfred
Best first-goalscorer bet
Barnsley v Middlesbrough
1pt 5-1 bet365, Betway, BoyleSports
Cauley Woodrow’s goals are keeping Barnsley interested in survival. His brace in last Saturday’s 3-0 romp at Fulham made it five in five for the 25-year-old who will fancy himself against a Boro back-line without a clean sheet in nine games.
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