Sports Mole previews Saturday’s League Two clash between Accrington Stanley and Wrexham, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
On the hunt for a sixth successive victory across all competitions, Wrexham travel to The Wham Stadium to take on Accrington Stanley in Saturday’s League Two battle.
The hosts enter the contest on the back of an FA Cup first-round replay defeat to Doncaster Rovers, while the visitors most recently overcame Gillingham 2-0 in fourth-tier action.
Twice Accrington Stanley fell a goal down in their opening FA Cup encounter with Doncaster Rovers, and twice they fought back to force a replay courtesy of a 2-2 stalemate, but they were served a slice of humble pie on their return to home comforts this week.
On that occasion, John Coleman‘s side would draw first blood with just seven minutes played thanks to Joe Pritchard‘s effort, but their League Two counterparts were not giving up the ghost as Zain Westbrooke forced extra time, in which Joe Ironside‘s 101st-minute winner condemned Accrington Stanley to an early elimination.
Losing no fewer than three players to injury dampened the Stanley spirits further on Tuesday evening, and the Wham Stadium faithful have now witnessed their side go winless in each of their last four matches across all competitions, losing three of them.
One of those defeats came at the hands of Crawley Town in their last League Two affair, where a second-minute Jack Nolan goal was rendered meaningless by two Danilo Orsi strikes either side of a Will Wright effort, but thanks to October’s winning streak, Coleman’s men are still in the playoff mix in eighth place.
Coleman bemoaned a “lack of quality” from his team as they crashed out of the cup in midweek, which was also the case during their most recent home game in the league – a 1-0 loss to bottom-half Colchester United – and things hardly get easier for the off-colour hosts on Saturday.
In contrast, Wrexham required no replay to see off fellow fourth-tier opposition in Mansfield Town – a Yeovil Town-sized test now awaits Phil Parkinson‘s team as they bid to enjoy another deep run in the tournament – and the Red Dragons have possessed that winning feeling all across the board in recent weeks.
Three days after progressing to round two of the FA Cup, Wrexham confirmed a spot in the second stage of the EFL Trophy – sinking Port Vale 2-1 to maintain their 100% record in Northern Section Group B – before comfortably putting Gillingham to the sword in league action.
Fans were still finding their seats at the Racecourse Ground when Ollie Palmer broke the deadlock just 54 seconds into the contest, and a second-half Ben Tozer effort 19 minutes before the final whistle blew rubber-stamped Wrexham’s fifth win on the trot in all tournaments.
Also revelling in an 11-game unbeaten streak since September’s 5-0 hiding at the hands of league leaders Stockport County, second-placed Wrexham have a five-point gap to make up to their recent conquerors, although both Mansfield and Crewe Alexandra are within touching distance of Parkinson’s men too.
Since shipping five on Stockport soil, Wrexham have largely kept the back door bolted shut on the road – conceding just twice in their subsequent six away games, albeit while scoring just seven across the season on rival turf themselves – but they suffered three defeats from four League Two matches with Accrington between 2006 and 2008.
Accrington Stanley League Two form:
Accrington Stanley form (all competitions):
Wrexham League Two form:
Wrexham form (all competitions):
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As mentioned, a trio of Accrington players were withdrawn injured during Tuesday’s cup defeat, as goalscorer Pritchard – October’s League Two Player of the Month – only lasted until the 33rd minute before succumbing to an unspecified issue.
Rosaire Longelo and Seamus Conneely could not go the distance either, although their status remains unclear, while Birmingham City loanee Josh Andrews was unable to take part in the replay due to illness.
On a much-needed positive note, teenage defender Brad Hills has served a one-game ban for his sending-off against Crawley Town and will likely earn an immediate recall to the hosts’ defence.
While Accrington are unaffected by international call-ups, Wrexham have lost both of Jacob Mendy (Gambia) and James McClean, the latter of whom will make his final appearance for the Republic of Ireland this month.
McClean and Mendy’s absences leave Parkinson short of options on the left-hand side of his 3-5-2 setup, as Bryce Hosannah and Callum McFadzean were not named in the Red Dragons’ league squas for the season, while fellow wide man Ryan Barnett remains in the treatment room.
Eoghan O’Connell and Steven Fletcher are keeping Barnett company in the medical bay, but the visitors’ injury crisis has nevertheless begun to ease since the start of the month, and Parkinson will also have Paul Mullin back from suspension this week.
Accrington Stanley possible starting lineup:
McCracken; Mellor, Gubbins, Hills, Rich-Baghuelou; Nolan, Leigh, Woods, Martin, Whalley; Adedoyin, Lowe
Wrexham possible starting lineup:
Okonkwo; O’Connor, Tunnicliffe, Hayden; Forde, Evans, Jones, Lee, Tozer; Palmer, Mullin
We say: Accrington Stanley 0-2 Wrexham
Wrexham may possess one of the worst attacking records away from home in the top half of the League Two table, but Parkinson’s stingy defence should have no problems keeping an out-of-sorts Accrington team at bay.
With injuries also rearing their ugly heads for the hosts, a replenished Wrexham crop boosted by the return of a well-rested Mullin should stroll to a sixth successive victory this weekend.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.