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League One weekend preview: Opportunity knocks for Bolton

With the FA Cup fourth round taking place over the course of the upcoming weekend, the League One schedule is not quite at full capacity, meaning there is an opportunity available to teams who are in action to try and steal a march on their rivals.

None of the top four sides - Plymouth Argyle, Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich Town and Derby County - are in league action this weekend with the Owls, Tractor Boys, and Rams instead taking part in the FA Cup, so the big focus will be on the battle for the play-off places, as well as the fight to avoid the drop.

Fifth-placed Bolton head to Charlton Athletic at lunchtime on Saturday looking to solidify their place in the top six, with the big aim for Ian Evatt's men to get back to the Championship next season.

The Addicks could prove a tough test, though, with Dean Holden's men having won three in a row.

At the bottom of the table, Forest Green Rovers face a trip to Shrewsbury Town desperate to end a winless run that has now stretched to six games.

Just above them are Burton Albion, who play Oxford United at home. Cambridge United and Morecambe make up the rest of the bottom four, with 20th-placed Accrington Stanley not in action due to their FA Cup clash with Leeds United.

Trotters face tough test in play-off bid

WhatCharlton Athletic v Bolton Wanderers
WhereThe Valley, London
When12:30, Saturday 28th January
How to watchSky Sports Football
OddsCharlton 17/10, Draw 21/10, Bolton 7/4

Bolton's season can be summed up by the word "solid" - they haven't blown too many teams away, but they have rolled along very nicely and find themselves in fifth - the highest-placed team playing in League One this weekend.

Ian Evatt has done a wonderful job with a club who were in crisis when he took over and he could be set to earn a second promotion if everything goes right for them come the end of the campaign.

Defensively, their record in the league is bettered only by Wednesday and Derby and they have become very efficient. As a result, they are priced at 12/5 to keep a clean sheet here.

Charlton promise to make this a tough task, however. Dean Holden was an unheralded choice as manager, but they have started to go through the gears, winning each of their last three games.

Wanderers have a strong head-to-head record though and go into this game having won each of their last three against the Addicks.

Rovers desperate for some inspiration

WhatShrewsbury Town v Forest Green Rovers
WhereThe New Meadow, Shrewsbury
When15:00, Saturday 28th January
OddsShrewsbury 4/5, Draw 5/2, Forest Green 10/3

Forest Green's first-ever campaign in the third tier has been something of a nightmare and they are staring down the barrel of an immediate return to League Two.

Ian Burchnall was selected as the man to replace the outgoing Rob Edwards, but it hasn't worked out and although the board are keeping the faith, Forest Green are four points from safety.

They have picked up only one point in their last six and won five times all season - not since their opening day game at Bristol Rovers have they tasted victory on the road.

Shrewsbury may yield another tricky game for the Nailsworth side, with Steve Cotterill's men now sat ninth in the league after three straight wins.

They have scored ten goals in those three games and are 10/3 to hit Forest Green for over 2.5 goals on Saturday.

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WhatBurton Albion v Oxford United
WhereThe Pirelli Stadium, Burton
When15:00, Saturday 28th January
OddsBurton 15/8, Draw 9/4, Oxford 6/4

Earlier this month, Burton looked as though they were about to embark upon a good run of form having won successive games against Lincoln City and Forest Green.

However, another couple of very heavy defeats have followed, firstly losing 5-0 to fellow strugglers Morecambe before going down 4-0 on their own patch to Shrewsbury.

A poor defensive record has been the main reason for their poor campaign so far, with Dino Maamria's men letting in 54 goals in 26 games a league high. In this game, they are 4/1 to concede at least three goals.

Oxford, therefore, will be licking their lips at the prospect of facing Burton with Karl Robinson's teams renowned for their attacking style of play.

The U's have had a mixed season and are 12th but have won three of their last four games - form that will be needed if they are to salvage a play-off place, with the gap currently at eight points.

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