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League Two Saturday preview: Top-two showdown at Stevenage

Another big weekend of League Two action is approaching and there is a massive match at the top of the table as second-place Stevenage host top dogs Leyton Orient at Broadhall Way.

Both teams have defied expectations this season and their points tallies mean they are looking likely for automatic promotion, even at this relatively early stage of the season.

Behind them are Northampton, who host play-off chasing Mansfield at Sixfields on Saturday afternoon while there is another top seven battle at Holker Street with Barrow facing a home contest against Salford City.

At the bottom of League Two, Gillingham grabbed a huge 2-0 win over fellow strugglers Hartlepool last weekend and now face a trip to Colchester, who have markedly improved in the past few weeks.

Cream of League Two meet in Hertfordshire

WhatStevenage v Leyton Orient
WhereBroadhall Way
WhenSaturday 21st January, 15:00
OddsStevenage 11/10, draw 9/4, Leyton Orient 11/4

Few would have predicted this to be a top-two clash at the beginning of the season but both Richie Wellens and Steve Evans have excelled in their respective roles this term.

Orient are top of the table with 57 points from 26 games and are on course to reach a ton of points by the end of the campaign.

A wonderful defensive record has been at the heart of their success, conceding just 13 goals in their 26 games.

Their recent form has dipped slightly, which is why Stevenage may relish this game. Leyton Orient have won only one of their past five matches in League Two and Stevenage are closing the gap with just five points separating them.

Pound for pound, there are few managers who have done a better job than Evans in the country and he has taken a team that were heading for the National League last season to the brink of League One.

Their physicality means they are an incredibly tough side to play against and Evans will relish this big contest - Stevenage have kept clean sheets in four of their last six games and are 5/4 to shut Leyton Orient out. 

Cobblers lead the chasing pack

WhatNorthampton v Mansfield
WhereSixfields
WhenSaturday 21st January, 15:00
OddsNorthampton 11/8, draw 9/4, Mansfield 21/10

Third-place Northampton will be hoping for both Stevenage and Leyton Orient to take points off each other so they can pounce and close the gap.

Jon Brady's side have enjoyed another strong campaign and they will be hoping this one ends in the top three as opposed to the heartbreak suffered on the final day of last season when they lost out via goals scored to Bristol Rovers. 

The Cobblers have been largely steady away this season, but their form has declined in recent weeks with three losses from their last four games.

However, they host a Mansfield side who have also seen a drop off of late with the Stags managing to win only one of their last six games.

Nigel Clough's men were beaten in the play-off final last season by Port Vale and the top seven again looks like the most realistic aim. Right now, they are just a point away from seventh place Bradford and a win over Northampton would inject new confidence into the camp.

Both teams have scored in each of Mansfield's last five games and 5/6 is the price for that to happen again in the Both Teams to Score market. 

Related League Two News

League Two weekend preview: Leaders Orient may have to grind it out again

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

League Two Weekend Preview: New Year means new hope for Leyton Orient’s chasers

Thursday's League Two preview: Carlisle to maintain top-three charge

Salford keen to prolong play-off push

WhatBarrow v Salford
WhereHolker Street
WhenSaturday 21st January, 15:00
OddsBarrow 29/20, draw 9/4, Salford 2/1

Salford have had a few close calls with the play-offs since being promoted to the EFL in 2019 but have never made it. However, they look to be in a better position this time around under Neil Wood, with the club 11/10 to Finish in Top 7. 

Currently, the Ammies lie fifth in the table and have won three of their last four games in League Two, including an impressive win at home to automatic promotion-chasing Northampton.

Barrow started the season wonderfully under Pete Wild but things have become trickier since for the Cumbrian club.

However, they sit eighth and are still in a great position to have a tilt at promotion, though having managed to win only one of their last seven games, their form does need to improve.

Gills look to build on Hartlepool triumph

WhatColchester v Gillingham
WhereThe Colchester Community Stadium
WhenSaturday 21st January, 15:00
How to watchiFollow
OddsColchester 11/8, draw 2/1, Gillingham 12/5

This season has, for the large part, been a tough one for Gillingham and Neil Harris. Relegated from League One last term, the Kent club look to be in danger of suffering a double-whammy and heading down to the National League.

Goalscoring has been the biggest issue at the club with only nine scored in 24 League Two matches.

However, they recently had a takeover and have been very active in the transfer market, bringing in some proven players at League Two level.

Striking addition Tom Nichols - 3/1 First Goalscorer - found the back of the net in the win last week and they will be hoping their new signings can help turbo charge them up the table.

However, they go to a Colchester side who have also been very active in the market and who have also had a renaissance in terms of form.

Matt Bloomfield's men have won three on the bounce and are well on the road to safety.

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