League Two Preview: Portsmouth face table toppers Northampton
18th December 2015

League leaders Northampton will hope to secure top spot for Christmas when they take on promotion chasing Portsmouth this weekend.

Town are two points clear at the summit on 43 after seven wins and a draw in their last eight league matches. Manager Chris Wilder, will be pleased with their form which has seen them overtake their nearest challengers in time for the festive period.

Portsmouth are six points and three places behind their opponents. Winless in four attempts, Pompey will want to reverse this poor form or be at risk from teams who are itching to get into the play-offs.

High-flying Oxford are second in League Two, on 41 points. Unbeaten in six and having lost just twice this season, United will want to keep the pressure on Northampton beyond the New Year. The U’s are on the road again this weekend, at Wycombe, and with the best away record will fancy their chances.

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

Michael Appleton’s Oxford are unbeaten in six

Their hosts will want to make an impression on the top-seven. In 10th, two points outside of the promotion places, Wanderers have only won twice in the league since the start of October. Still, with a game in hand they have the opportunity to jump above the teams around them and into the play-offs.

Plymouth have surrendered a commanding lead in the last few weeks and are now third, three behind the leaders. Without a victory in four, Argyle cannot afford any more dropped points or their season may fall apart. Boss Derek Adams needs to turn his sides fortunes around and fast.

The Green Army travel to Hartlepool, who are facing their fourth top-seven club in a row. Successive losses to Mansfield, Oxford and most recently a 4-0 demolition at the hands of Portsmouth has made it a tough few weeks for United, despite knocking Salford City out of the FA Cup. In 20th, eight points above the drop, they need to put more distance between themselves and the teams below.

At the foot of the Football League on goal difference are York, on a miserable 12 points. With seven league defeats on the bounce, there is little to get excited about on the run up to Christmas for City. The Minstermen need to take full advantage of the busy festive period otherwise they face the real prospect of relegation.

Their visitors are Morecambe, who are 15 points better off than their opposition. A 1-0 victory against Dag & Red over a fortnight ago ended a run of five without a win. Should they take all three points it may put the Shrimps within striking distance of the play-offs.

Yeovil match York for points, but a superior goal difference of -15 to -21 puts them in 23rd on merit. Still without a victory in the league since September 19, interim manager Darren Way earned a 2-2 draw against Barnet on Saturday but will need wins to survive. With just five points collected on their travels all season, Way has his work cut out to deliver what Town want.

The Glovers travel to Leyton Orient, who are set to have a much more pleasant Christmas. Ian Hendon’s men are 20 points ahead of their opponents, and just a single point off the top-seven.

Just one point above the drop, Dag & Red will be hoping not to fall back into the bottom-two for Christmas. With two straight defeats to Morecambe and Crawley, Redbridge are the only team yet to win at home this season but have a perfect opportunity to give their fans an early present.

16 December 2015 - Sky Bet Championship - The FA Cup 2nd Round (replay) Whitehawk FC v Dagenham and Redbridge - Ayo Obileye of Dagenham and Redbridge (CR) celebrates scoring  a goal to make it 2-3 among team mates - Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Dagenham needed 120 minutes to see off Whitehawk in the FA Cup on Wednesday

Bristol Rovers are the visitors and have collected 20 points on their travels this season. Back to back wins see’s them in eighth on goal difference and Darrell Clarke’s men, who will hope to capitalise on the Daggers’ tough extra-time FA Cup win at Whitehawk on Wednesday, will hope that victory sends them into a play-off place.

After suffering a 4-3 defeat to Notts County that ended a seven-match unbeaten run, Newport will want to return to winning ways. With 13 points collected, County are now on 19 and seven clear of the drop, showing that a run of form can clear you from the bottom-two.

They take on Wimbledon, who are nine points better off than their opponents. Without a victory in five, they have been slipping down the table but will want to stop the rot in time for Christmas to go with the good news that they are set to return to their Plough Lane home in the next few years.

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

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