THE BIG MATCH

Two sides at the wrong end of the npower League 2 table meet on Saturday at Underhill as Barnet take on AFC Wimbledon.

The Wombles will start the day in 21st hoping for a win which would help them pull away from the danger zone, while Barnet sit rock bottom. A three-point haul could see the Bees climb out of the bottom two, though, providing other scores go in their favour.

Neal Ardley's men make the short trip to North London having not won in their last three games, but they will take confidence from their narrow 2-1 loss against Milton Keynes Dons in an emotionally-charged FA Cup tie last time out.

Although Saturday's game is against a side also struggling in the division, Ardley doesn't believe it is more important than any other match, telling www.afcwimbledon.co.uk: "All the games are big for us now, not just Barnet because they are at the bottom of the table.

"We have set the players targets that we need to meet. The match on Saturday is not going to define our season.

"The coaching team have sat down and watched DVDs of the opposition so that the players can work on how we are going to attack the game.

"We will go there to try and take something from the game."

Although Barnet sit bottom of the table, they have tasted defeat just twice in their last eight league games.

They also have a good historical record against AFC Wimbledon, a side they are yet to lose to. The two clubs have only met twice - both of them games coming last season - the most recent of which ending in a 4-0 triumph for the Bees in April.

New signing Melvin Holwijn believes it is a vital match, commenting on www.barnetfc.com: "Wimbledon are three points above us so no matter who is playing we need to win this game. Especially with it being a home game.

"So I think everybody must get behind Barnet, not just the players but the fans, too, so we have not just 11, but 12 men out there. No matter what we need these three points."

KEEP AN EYE ON

Cheltenham Town travel to Northampton Town this weekend hoping to secure three points which would fend off the chasing pack behind them in the league.

The Robins currently sit third in the npower League 2 table and anything but a win against the Cobblers would leave their place in the automatic promotion places under threat.

Fourth-placed Rotherham United are the closest, just a point behind, but Southend United or Bradford City could overtake Cheltenham with a win, if Mark Yates' men lose at Sixfields.

And Yates is aware of the challenge he and his team are up against, particularly Northampton striker Adebayo Akinfenwa, who has 12 goals so far this term.

The 42-year-old explained to www.ctfc.com: "Adebayo Akinfenwa seems to have a good record against us and he's a big part of how they play. We won't be concentrating on him but he will be part of our plans and we have to be aware of him because he does have such a decent record against us.

"Northampton are only a few points behind us and they are in a really strong position. Aidy [Boothroyd] is a top manager and I know him personally, too.

"He is driven and he'll be desperate for his team to beat us but we must deal with our last two poor away performances and we know we can be a threat."

Aidy Boothroyd's side sit 11th in the table and could make a move into the Play-Offs with three points, but they would need other results to go their way if they are to do so.

The Cobblers haven't been in action in the league since a defeat to Oxford United two weeks ago but were involved in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy in midweek, suffering a 3-0 loss at the hands of League 1 Leyton Orient.

Boothroyd believes his team will come back stronger, against a side he respects.

"This is a game I'm really looking forward to," the former Coventry City boss told www.ntfc.co.uk.

"We were disappointed after the defeat on Wednesday night but we will come back fighting. When you lose a game you just have to take it on the chin and all you can try and do is win the next game.

"Cheltenham are a really good side and I've got a lot of time for Mark Yates as a manager and as a person.

"This game is a real benchmark for us, Cheltenham are a top three team but we've shown this season that we are good enough to trouble anybody."

ELSEWHERE IN THE DIVISION

Two sides locked on 30 points just outside the Play-Off contingent meet at Spotland on Saturday as Rochdale entertain Exeter City.

The Dale have the upper hand and sit ninth with a one-goal advantage over the 10th-placed Grecians. Both sides come into the match off the back of losses, though - Rochdale losing to York City and Exeter going down 1-0 to Rotherham United.

That win for the Millers lifted them up to fourth and just a point outside the automatic promotion places. They face leaders Gillingham, who have just one victory in five. The Gills will want to get back on course to fend off the challenge of second-placed Port Vale, who are just two points adrift.

The Vale are on form, too - unbeaten in five and winning their last two- and their next assignment is against 13th-placed Chesterfield.

The Spireites are just three points off the Play-Off places and they are one of six teams who could move into the top seven after this round of fixtures.

As well as the aforementioned Rochdale, Exeter and Northampton; Burton Albion and Torquay United could also move into the Play-Offs with a win.

The Gulls travel to sixth-placed Bradford City knowing three points would take them above the Bantams in the standings, while Burton host Accrington Stanley on Sunday afternoon.

Fleetwood Town currently occupy seventh and they start life with former Scotland international Graham Alexander at the helm with a home game against in-form Southend United, who sit fifth. Paul Sturrock's Shrimpers have won four of their last six so will travel with plenty of confidence.

Micky Mellon was sacked as boss of the Cod army after an FA Cup defeat against Aldershot Town last weekend. Attention is now on the league for Dean Holdsworth's Shots, who currently sit in the relegation zone, and they travel to Oxford United.

Plymouth Argyle and Bristol Rovers are both on 18 points at the foot of the division and either could find themselves in the relegation zone come full-time. The Pilgrims host York City, while the Pirates welcome Dagenham and Redbridge to the Memorial Ground.

Finally, Wycombe Wanderers have improved significantly of late and, after three successive wins, have moved away from trouble slightly to sit 19th. Next up for Gareth Ainsworth's Chairboys is a home game against Morecambe, in the remaining npower League 2 match this weekend.

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