Date: 2nd January 2016 at 7:55am
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Going into 2016, league leaders Walsall will start the New Year by welcoming Rochdale to Bescot Stadium.

After five straight wins, the Saddlers are level on 48 points with Burton but have a far superior goal difference. Sean O’Driscoll’s men have taken 24 points at home this season and in their current form could be a match for any opposition.

The Dale are in a far less favourable position, 12 places and 17 points behind the team in top spot. A 1-1 draw against Scunthorpe on Monday has not helped Keith Hill’s men who, with a number of teams below picking up points, need to start securing results.

20th October 2015 - Sky Bet League 1 - Rochdale v Coventry City - Rochdale manager Keith Hill - Photo: Simon Stacpoole / Offside.

Keith Hill’s Rochdale have only won three of their last 13 league matches

Keeping Walsall honest, Burton will be disappointed to surrender the lead they had going into Christmas. Unbeaten in six with five wins, Albion have eight victories at home from 12 attempts making them difficult for any team to travel to.

In contrast, having only taken eight points on the road all season, Blackpool face a tough uphill battle to take anything against the joint leaders. In 18th on 25 points, they succumbed to a 4-2 loss to fellow strugglers Barnsley on Monday and are now two points above the drop.

Elsewhere, third-placed Gillingham, just a point behind the top-two, are also at home to Bradford in 10th. The Gills dispatched bottom club Colchester 1-0 on Monday, giving them three straight victories. Justin Edinburgh’s men also have the best home record in the league with 29 points out of 36.

With only one win in their last four, Bradford have dropped four points off the play-offs. The Bantams were overtaken by Sheffield United after losing 3-1 to them earlier in the week.

Survival is on the minds of these two teams stuck at the bottom, as Oldham host Colchester. Both on 20 points in 22nd and 24th, a ‘six pointer’ is a bit of an understatement as they are four points from safety. Athletic are without a win in five, while United have lost nine league games on the bounce.

With one win in their last six league matches, Coventry in fourth lost more ground to the three teams above. With 16 points on the road, City will want to get back on track and have the perfect opportunity to this weekend when they face Crewe, despite boss Tony Mowbray having a touchline ban.

Alex are sandwiched between the U’s and the Latics at the foot of the table, and are without a win since November. With the New Year signalling the second half of the season, Steve Davis’ side are starting to run out of time to save themselves.

Dangling a single point above the relegation zone, Chesterfield are without a win in eight. New first-team coach Chris Morgan swapped Sheffield United for The Spireites which will boast the ailing side, but moving into the New Year they will want to find a resolution to their problems.

Shrewsbury are the visitors and, after a 2-1 victory against Crewe, are three points above the drop. Now in 17th, Town have the chance to climb further away against another struggling team.

25 August 2015 - Capital One Cup -Round 2 - Crystal Palace v Shrewsbury Town - Micky Mellon, Manager of Shrewsbury Town - Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Micky Mellon’s Shrewsbury face another big clash against fellow strugglers Chesterfield

A 2-0 loss to leaders Walsall halted Peterborough’s progress up the division. The Posh are in the top-six by the skin of their teeth, 11 points behind first.

Sheffield United are their hosts this weekend and are a point and two places behind their opponents. Off the back of three wins, another three points will leapfrog the Blades into the play-offs.

All League One Matches:
Barnsley vs Millwall
Burton vs Blackpool
Chesterfield vs Shrewsbury
Crewe vs Coventry
Fleetwood vs Bury
Gillingham vs Bradford
Oldham vs Colchester
Port Vale vs Swindon
Scunthorpe vs Wigan
Sheff Utd vs Peterborough
Southend vs Doncaster
Walsall vs Rochdale

 
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