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Saturday's League Two preview: Can Northampton build on Orient success?

The FA Cup will grab the headlines on the first Saturday of 2023 but there are also seven games in League Two with huge implications at either end of the table.

The star of the show could be the early match, as Northampton look to kick on from their win over leaders Leyton Orient when they head to Salford.

Brady bunch braced for trial by TV

WhatSalford City v Northampton, League Two
WhereMoor Lane, Salford
When12:30, Saturday 7th January, 2023
How to watchSky Sports Main Event and Football
OddsSalford City 9/5, Draw 11/5, Northampton 8/5

Sky's cameras will be at Moor Lane where 11th placed Salford take on third placed Northampton.

The Cobblers travel well this season, Jon Brady's 8/5 shots having only lost one of 11 on the road.

They signed off 2022 with a disappointing home loss to Swindon but bounced back in style, ringing in the New Year with a 1-0 triumph over leaders Leyton Orient.

Fifteen-goal Sam Hoskins, the division's top scorer, failed to find the net against the Os but is 6/1 as the First Goalscorer at Salford.

Salford are 9/5 in the Full Time Result market and know they have the measure of Northampton having won at Sixfields 1-0 in October. They have scored in each of their last seven and have their own in-form poacher in Matt Smith, who has six goals in his last eight and is 7/1 to be the First Goalscorer.

O's need defensive reinforcements as they look to end winless run

WhatLeyton Orient v Doncaster, League Two
WhereBrisbane Road, London
When15:00, Saturday 7th January, 2023
OddsLeyton Orient 7/10, Draw 13/5, Doncaster 17/4

Former Doncaster player and manager Richie Wellens is the man masterminding Leyton Orient's promotion bid, a bid that has stalled over the festive period.

The Os have picked up two points out of a possible nine and failed to score in all three games against Stevenage, Newport and Northampton, losing the last of those 1-0.

Centre-back Omar Beckles was sent off at Sixfields so misses the showdown with eighth-placed Doncaster, who head to East London on the back of a pair of entertaining home wins against Rochdale and Carlisle.

Wellens needs two new central defenders against Rovers because he is also without Dan Happe, who dislocated his knee at Northampton.

Orient are 7/10 shots and their success has been built on the meanest defence in the section, so it will be interesting to see if the Yorkshiremen can expose Wellens' rebuild.

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Cumbrians could struggle on trip to Field Mill

WhatMansfield v Barrow, League Two
WhereField Mill, Mansfield
When15:00, Saturday 7th January, 2023
OddsMansfield 10/11, Draw 5/2, Barrow 16/5

Barrow need to stop the bleeding though a trip to ambitious Mansfield won't be the easiest place to arrest their slump.

The Bluebirds have plunged out of the playoff places and down to tenth on the back of a five-game winless run in the league.

Jordan Stevens is the only Barrow player to have found the net since 19th November – he's 9/2 Anytime Goalscorer at Field Mill – while top scorer Josh Gordon is struggling so much he was benched during Monday's dull 0-0 home draw against Rochdale.

Mansfield are maintaining their two steps forward, one back approach. After stringing together a decent run they lost 2-1 at Walsall on Sunday but are still in the playoff places and there's always a sense a rush of wins is coming soon with Nigel Clough's talented but frustrating group.

The Stags have won twice at Barrow this season, once in the FA Cup, once in League Two. Both games ended 1-0 and it's 11/2 they complete a hat-trick of 1-0 Correct Scores.

Dale need upturn in quest to avoid drop

WhatRochdale v Newport County, League Two
WhereSpotland, Rochdale
When15:00, Saturday 7th January, 2023
OddsRochdale 12/5, Draw 9/4, Newport County 5/4

There are a couple of big games at the wrong end of the division featuring four of the bottom seven clubs.

Harrogate, in 19th, are 23/20 to beat 12/5 Colchester, who are two places below them.

And at Spotland, 23rd plays 18th with Rochdale guesting Newport County.

The Exiles are beginning to ease themselves away from danger with just one win in six, a run that includes a 0-0 draw at home to Leyton Orient.

Dale, in contrast, have collapsed with just one point to show from their last six outings.

They have lost eight of the 11 they have played in front of their own fans, four of those by 2-1 scorelines. Another 2-1 loss is a 17/2 chance in the Correct Score market.

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