League Two betting preview: No happy homecoming for Paul Sturrock


Paul Sturrock is doing a sterling job at Southend but his association with the club still has some way to go before he reaches the status he achieved at Plymouth and his former employers could do further damage to his promotion bid on Saturday.

Sturrock spent a combined six years at Home Park in two separate spells and he will be using all of the knowledge gained when guiding the Pilgrims to the basement title in 2003 to aid the Shrimpers' attempts to get out of the division this term.

However, their hopes of topping the pile come the end of the season suffered a serious blow at Roots Hall on Tuesday when they were overwhelmed by a rampant Swindon side and that result could really knock the stuffing out of them.

The Essex club had previously suffered defeat on the road at Crawley, Swindon, Cheltenham and Shrewsbury, now a 4-1 defeat on home soil against Paolo Di Canio's men could do some serious damage to their self-esteem and experience tells us that they tend not to bounce back well because two of those previous setbacks were followed by miserable 1-0 home defeats against Burton and Bradford.

We backed a loser when siding with Argyle last weekend and reports suggest they were pretty poor against Port Vale but they deserve another chance based on their prior performances and the 2/1 on Plymouth (draw no bet) is a solid wager in terms of both value and mileage.

Carl Fletcher bolstered his attack with the arrivals of Juvhel Tsoumou from Preston and Alex MacDonald from Burnley on transfer deadline day, taking the total of new arrivals to ten since the beginning of November, eight of whom remain, so this is hardly the team that got the club into the situation they now find themselves.

Meanwhile, Gillingham are all at sea defensively and they look worth opposing at home to Hereford. The Kent outfit have shipped eight goals in their last two matches and the first-half collapse they suffered at Accrington last Saturday is alarming for two reasons.

Firstly, Andy Hessenthaler admitted after the game that the players had worked intensively all week on defending as a unit in the wake of their capitulation against Wimbledon, which can only mean that individuals aren't taking enough responsibility.

Secondly, Hessenthaler and the players have since taken the laughable stance of offering to reimburse the Gills fans who travelled up to the Crown Ground from their own pockets, which essentially removes the sense of debt the team might have felt on the back of that performance.

By easing their own conscience in that manner, they have merely diluted the fuel that might trigger a backlash against the Bulls, so the psychological stakes are definitely in favour of the visitors who will be out to avenge a 6-1 defeat on their own ground back in September.

Indeed, with all of this in mind, it's hard to resist the 10/1 that Bet365 and SkyBet are offering on Hereford to score three or more goals.

Jamie Pitman's men are by no means the most formidable outfit around but they are capable of going to town on sloppy opposition when the mood takes them. They hit this marker five times on their travels last season and have managed it twice more so far this term

Recommended bets:

1.5pts Plymouth to beat Southend (draw no bet) at 2/1 (Bet365)

1pt Hereford to beat Gillingham at 9/2 (general)

0.5pt Hereford to score three or more goals at 10/1 (SkyBet)

For more betting news and views, please visit Bestofthebets.com. You can also follow Mike Holden on Twitter: @Miguel_BOTB

Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home