League Two betting preview: U's can't control the Pack

 

November has been a rather humbling month for Oxford and Cheltenham could be set to compound matters with victory at the Kassam Stadium on Saturday.

The U's came into this season being talked about as promotion contenders after some eye-catching acquisitions in the summer and when the clocks went back at the end of last month, the optimism that surrounded Chris Wilder's men appeared to be well-founded.

Oxford were sitting pretty in fourth position, level on points with third-place Morecambe and, secretly perhaps, entertaining ideas of unseating the top two, against whom they would be up against in their next two league matches.

However, if they went into those game unaware of the standards they need to set in order to get out of the division, they know now. Defeats against leaders Southend (twice) and second-placed Crawley have sandwiched an FA Cup tie at Sheffield United in which the dream of an upset was over inside 20 minutes, leaving Wilder with a fortnight to reflect after Saturday's match and we suspect the Robins might give him just as much to think about as the Shrimpers and the Red Devils.

Whether Cheltenham can stay with the League Two promotion pace is a matter for debate but there's no mistaking the quality of their stride right now as a genuine live threat to the top two.

The Robins have won eight of their last nine matches and while the likes of Dagenham, Accrington, Plymouth and Bradford don't compile the most formidable hitlist, any question marks about their ability to win a fixture of this calibre were well and truly answered by the 1-0 FA Cup win at Tranmere a fortnight ago.

The mood around Whaddon Road is evidently special at the moment with players falling over themselves to tell the media that they've never enjoyed playing the game so much. This week, it was the turn of striker Kaid Mohamed and midfielder Marlon Pack.

Of course, football has habit of kicking people in the teeth when they least expect it and the cynic within us says the current sense of liberation in the Cheltenham ranks won't last, but we'd want want a lot shorter than 11/4 about the away win this weekend before we'd stop short of backing it. We had this selection earmarked as a possibility at the start of the week when the Robins went up at the early price of 5/2.

As is so often the case when a team finds its mojo, the underlying principle is hard work and we like the look of fancy prices about Cheltenham to win 1-0 and Cheltenham to win 2-0 on the promise that the visitors will be prepared to put in a shift that earns them the right to play their football.

Clean sheets have been the bedrock of their success in recent weeks and another one in this game would be their fifth on the bounce away from home, which makes a mockery of the prices available on the above scores.

Recommended bet:

1pt Cheltenham to beat Oxford at 11/4 (Bet365, Victor Chandler)

0.5pt Cheltenham to win 1-0 at 11/1 (Unibet)

0.5pt Cheltenham to win 2-0 at 18/1 (general)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test