THE BIG MATCH
Doncaster Rovers remain in pursuit of Tranmere Rovers at the summit of npower League 1 and they will want to maintain the pressure with a win against relegation-threatened Bury this weekend.
Rovers travel to Gigg Lane following a run of six games without a defeat - their latest result being a 2-0 victory over Leyton Orient, in what was Brian Flynn's first game in permanent charge.
Chris Brown was on target for Doncaster in that match and that was his ninth goal of the season - his highest tally since the 2009/10 campaign when he found the net 11 times.
The 28-year-old credits new manager Flynn for his improvement in form, and the boss believes he knows how to get the best out of his attacking players.
He told The Star: "What I say to the players is you've got a licence to thrill.
"When players hear that they will try things. And when they try things and they come off, it's always better for the team.
"I like players to express themselves within the framework of the team."
He will want the attacking prowess to continue this weekend against Bury who are experiencing a lull in form.
The Shakers currently lie 22nd in the League 1 table, three points and two places adrift of Colchester United who lie just outside the drop zone.
Kevin Blackwell's men come into the fixture without a win in nine games but will take confidence from draws in their last two games against Milton Keynes Dons and Shrewsbury Town.
Against the Dons, Steven Schumacher's second-half strike earned the Shakers a valuable point, while they failed to find the net against Shrewsbury last time out, despite having the majority of the possession and chances and the game ended 0-0.
Doncaster were the victors in the reverse fixture but they won it by the narrowest of margins, with Kyle Bennett and Chris Brown cancelling out a Joe Skarz opener.
Bury will certainly be hopeful of more this time around, although they are likely to be up against it.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Two other sides firmly in the promotion picture meet at Huish Park on Saturday as Brentford travel to Somerset to take on Gary Johnson's Yeovil Town.
The Glovers come into the game sitting seventh in the table, three points behind sixth-placed Sheffield United and a Play-Off position, having won their last four league matches.
The most recent of those four victories came against Milton Keynes Dons, when striker Paddy Madden was again the hero after netting twice to take his tally to 14 goals for the season.
Goalkeeper Marek Stech is now targeting a Play-Off place but he believes Brentford are a different team to the one Yeovil beat 3-1 back in August.
He told Glovers Player: "Our target is to beat Brentford and get another three points to go above Sheffield United.
"The Brentford game is going to be hard. We beat them 3-1 at the beginning of the season, it was a great game for us, but they have improved."
One of the players ahead of Yeovil hot shot Madden in the goalscoring chart is Brentford front man Clayton Donaldson. The 28-year-old has notched 19 goals in all competitions so far this term to help the Bees rise up the table.
They currently occupy fourth, level on points with third-placed Swindon Town, and only six points behind the top two, Tranmere Rovers and Doncaster Rovers.
Uwe Rosler's men have lost only once in their last 15 league games and will be buoyant ahead of the fixture having held Premier League club Chelsea in the FA Cup last Sunday.
Rosler has told his side that they must focus on Yeovil, before the think about the replay with the Blues.
The 44-year-old told Bees Player: "Yeovil are five points behind us, this is a six-point game regarding Play-Off places and we have to make sure we don't lose the game.
"We have to make sure we are very difficult to beat, be very organised and brave on the counter.
"We have pace, we have strength, we have technique, we have all the ingredients we need to compete and win at Yeovil.
"Yeovil have win four out of five games, they are the team in form."
ELSEWHERE IN THE DIVISION
All the action in npower League 1 kicks off on Friday, as Sheffield United host Coventry City at 7.45pm.
The two sides harbour ambitions of promotion to the npower Championship this term and they are both in promising positions going into February.
The Blades are sixth, three points inside the Play-Offs, while Coventry are four points behind them in eighth. That could all change after Friday's fixture, though.
Transfer deadline day was relatively quiet for the two clubs although Sheffield United lost their top goalscorer Nick Blackman to Premier League Reading, and it will be interesting to see how they react to his departure. Manager Danny Wilson did manage to replace Blackman however, with the additions of Southampton forward Jonathan Forte on loan and free agent Barry Robson.
While the Blades lost a striker, Oldham Athletic gained two in Chris Iwelumo and Lee Barnard, who joined on loan from Watford and Southampton respectively, and they could both make their debuts when the Latics visit Walsall.
Paul Dickov's men pulled off one of the FA Cup shocks last weekend, beating Liverpool, but League 1 survival will be at the top of the former front man's list and a win this weekend would certainly be a step in the right direction.
Oldham are just a point above 20th-placed Colchester United and the relegation zone, which is currently occupied by Scunthorpe United, Bury, Portsmouth and Hartlepool United.
All of those teams are in action this weekend, too, with the U's on the road to Portsmouth, Scunthorpe away at Crewe Alexandra, Hartlepool hosting ninth-placed Notts County, and Bury entertaining Doncaster.
Shrewsbury Town, Carlisle United and Preston North End are the three teams immediately above Oldham, and they will be eager to ensure they're not dragged into the relegation mire.
This weekend, the Shrews and Graham Westley's North End lock horns at Deepdale and both teams come into the match having drawn one, won one and lost two of their last four.
Carlisle, on the other hand, will be up against it as they make the trip to league leaders Tranmere Rovers, who have won five of their last six, and need another victory to fend off second-placed Doncaster and maintain their standing at the summit.
At the opposite end of the form table is Milton Keynes Dons, who have dropped out of the Play-Offs after a run of just one win in five matches. They were replaced in the top six by Bournemouth, who have lost just once in the league since Eddie Howe's return, and on Saturday two teams meet at stadiummk.
Stevenage are another side who have fell off the pace at the top, and they now find themselves in 14th, alongside Leyton Orient, who they are up against this weekend. It will be an interesting afternoon for defender Ben Chorley, who joined Stevenage from Orient on transfer deadline day.
Wrapping up all of the action on Saturday, at 5.20pm live on Sky Sports, is Crawley Town and Swindon Town. The Robins are third and will be keen to continue their promotion push against the 11th-placed Red Devils, and they will be confident of doing so having put three goals past their opponents without reply in each of the last three meetings. They will be without star man Matt Ritchie, though, who has joined promotion rivals Bournemouth.
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