League Two Preview: Leaders Oxford host Carlisle
11th December 2015

It could not be closer at the top of League Two, as Oxford, Plymouth and Northampton are all tied on 40 points going into this weekend.

Thanks to a superior goal difference of +15, one better than Argyle and five ahead of Town, United are top on merit after four wins and a draw from their previous five league games.

Fresh from the news they will face Premier League side Swansea in the cup, the season is shaping up nicely for Michael Appleton’s men as they put together a promotion push.

06 September 2014 - Sky Bet League Two - Southend United v Oxford United - Oxford United manager Michael Appleton. Photo: Ryan Smyth/Offside

Michael Appleton’s U’s are flying high

The Us welcome Carlisle who have also enjoyed a good run coming into this weekend. After two wins and a draw in their last three, United have risen into sixth with a win all but confirming their place in the play-offs going into the busy festive period.

Plymouth are also at home on Saturday, after seeing their cushion at the top eradicated in recent weeks. Manager Derek Adams has seen his side collect just two points out of the last nine and needs to turn things around if the Pilgrims want to remain in the hunt for top spot.

Cambridge are the visitors to Home Park, in 15th position and 14 points shy of their opponents. United have bounced back from three straight defeats as they secured two wins against Morecambe and Notts County before this weekend.

Northampton are unbeaten in seven with six victories in the impressive run, the only blemish being a 2-2 draw with Newport at the end of October. After snatching victory from the jaws of defeat against non-league Northwich Victoria in the FA Cup, things are looking brilliant on the pitch and slightly brighter off of it after the club’s future was secured this week.

They travel to Luton who have not won in the league in three attempts. On 26 points in 14th, The Hatters will want an early Christmas present with some points against the form side of League Two.

At the foot of the Football League, Yeovil are without a win since mid-September and are alarmingly losing ground to those who are currently safe. After consecutive losses to promotion pushers Wycombe and Northampton, the Glovers will want to take advantage of a crunch match against a side lower down the table.

Barnet are 10 points to the good of their opponents in 19th, but are winless in four and anything but three points this weekend could spell a relegation battle. Knocked out the FA Cup against fellow League Two outfit Newport, the Bees can now focus on their league campaign.

Portsmouth are six points from the summit but have faltered in the last few weeks, with a win and three draws in their last four games. Despite the victory an impressive 6-0 against relegation fodder York, their draws have seen them lose ground on those above, and closer into the chasing pack.

They take on Hartlepool who are eight points and three places above the drop. With a woeful four losses in five, United need to change their fortunes soon or risk non-league football next season.
Currently York are on the worst run of form in the league, with six defeats on the bounce. In 23rd on 12 points, they conceded 11 goals in their last two matches and have released their last player of the season Keith Lowe by mutual consent. Things need to change soon if the Minstermen are to survive.

Hosting them are Bristol Rovers who are 18 points and 13 places ahead of their opposition. The Pirates are enjoying a more enjoyable promotion push as they are just two points outside the play-offs.

A 12 minute hat-trick from striker Matty Taylor against Wycombe last weekend moved Darrell Clarke’s men level with their opponents, but with a woeful home record of just three wins from 10 games it is crucial they improve their form if they desire a top-seven finish.

A point better off than Rovers on 31, Leyton Orient also have aims for the play-offs but an average away record has prevented them from moving above eighth place so far.

They have the perfect chance to both improve their form on the road and claim a top-seven spot when they visit Manfield, who are seventh on 32 points.

The Stags have had a patchy form as of late and have been dealt a blow that journeyman defender Luke Jones may be forced to retire because of an Achilles injury, the 28-year-old helped the club to promotion back to the Football League in 2012/13.

All League Two Matches:
Accrington vs Wycombe
Bristol Rovers vs York
Crawley vs Dag & Red
Luton vs Northampton
Mansfield vs Leyton Orient
Morecambe vs Exeter
Notts County vs Newport
Oxford Utd vs Carlisle
Plymouth vs Cambridge
Portsmouth vs Hartlepool
Wimbledon vs Stevenage
Yeovil vs Barnet

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