League One Preview: Gameweek 3

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Macauley Bonne

Here are The Football Lab’s thoughts on 3 of Tuesday night’s League One fixtures. Bury and Fleetwood look for their first win of the season, while Colchester do the same when they face Oldham, who look to build on a promising start. Wigan, another side yet to win, host Scunthorpe United, who recorded a comfortable victory over Crewe last time out.

Bury v Fleetwood

Thanks to the help of reasonable financial backing, both Bury and Fleetwood have recently won promotion from League Two. What’s more, both clubs look likely to at least stabilize themselves in England’s third tier.

Bury drew 2-2 with Swindon Town on Saturday, having thrown away a 2-0 lead with 16 minutes to play. As Shakers manager David Flitcroft said after the match, they played very well for two thirds of the game, but simply switched off in the latter stages. This may have been down, in part, to the hamstring injury to Kelvin Etuhu with 20 minutes to go. Etuhu is a midfielder with a tireless work ethic, and gives Bury a degree of strength and tenacity in the middle of the park, which they missed when he came off.

If the hosts are without him tonight, they may struggle against a Fleetwood side who were unlucky to lose 1-0 at Oldham on Saturday. Cod Army hit the target 9 times, they had 10 corners and attacked with real intensity, but could not find the elusive goal. However, if striker Declan McManus’s goal on the opening day against Southend is anything to go by, Graham Alexander’s side should not struggle too much for attacking quality in future.

Should Fleetwood continue to play as well as they did at Oldham, they may enjoy a more prosperous trip to Greater Manchester this time around.

Colchester v Oldham

FourFourTwo magazine predict that both Colchester United and Oldham Athletic will suffer relegation come May time, but this blog believes that the two clubs will finish comfortably midtable.

Colchester’s capacity to develop home-grown players is truly impressive, and they look to have found another promising youngster in Macauley Bonne. The striker had often made an impact from the bench over the last couple of years, but had rarely been trusted to start games as the main striker. However, Bonne did start at Peterborough after an injury to Chris Porter, and found himself on the scoresheet, albeit in a 2-1 defeat for the U’s. In one of the rare games that the 19-year-old did start last season, Colchester beat champions Bristol City 3-2, and that says something about the contribute he could make this term.

Oldham Athletic, on the other hand, picked up 1-0 win over Fleetwood Town on Saturday, thanks to a fine performance from goalkeeper Joel Coleman. The 19-year-old came into the team in the latter stages of last season, and has now conceded just 13 goals in 13 appearances for Oldham. If he continues his impressive form, he will become a key player for the Latics. This blog predicts a tightly-fought draw in Essex.

Wigan v Scunthorpe

Wigan Athletic have had a poor start to the season. They are yet to score their first goal in League One, and exited the League Cup when they lost to Bury last Tuesday.

Wigan’s lack of goals was a major factor behind their relegation last season, and while some people might criticize their strikers, one has to wonder whether they are given the supply they need. In the last year or so, the club have had a number of forwards who either performed well at other clubs – or went on to do so – but could not score consistently for Wigan. At the moment, there is a danger that the same will happen to Will Grigg. At MK Dons, he was in a team that played at a high tempo and were willing to commit men forward in support of him, but so far that is not happening at Wigan, as the striker is yet to score from open play.

Gary Caldwell might be tempted to throw caution to the proverbial wind, and play 2 up front with natural wingers on both flanks. That might be a brave move in normal circumstances, but Wigan have more individual quality in their team than most other sides in League One, and now is the time for them to play on the front foot.

Opponents Scunthorpe picked up a 2-0 win over Crewe Alexandra on Saturday. It will have pleased their manager, Mark Robins, to see his team keep a rare clean sheet, which they managed to do on only 3 occassions last season, with no League One side keeping fewer during the 14/15 campaign.

With key striker Paddy Madden scoring a brace, Scunthorpe were deserved winners on Saturday. However, we can expect Wigan’s defence to be a lot stronger than Crewe’s, and although this blog has doubts about the home side’s chances this season, they should pick up their first 3 points of the season here.