Peterborough to put pressure on League One leaders with TV win
Walsall will be hoping to breathe life into their faltering League One campaign with a win against Peterborough in front of the Sky cameras and their own fans.
The Saddlers beat struggling Shrewsbury last time out in the FA Cup, but Posh will need no motivation ahead of this tie after Leyton Orient’s home loss against Preston.
Peterborough to win @ 6/4
Posh come into this clash with renewed confidence after Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and FA Cup home wins in the last two matches.
Their nine-match unbeaten run in League One came to an end with successive losses at Colchester and at home against Orient, but a win in the west Midlands would move Darren Ferguson’s men to within three points of the second-placed O’s.
Ferguson could hardly have picked more accommodating hosts for his charges than Walsall, as only four teams have lost more League One home games than Dean Smith’s outfit this term.
Three of their last six matches at the Bescot Stadium have ended in defeat and Smith’s side have now won just twice in their last eight in the league.
Peterborough have won three of their last four games on the road in the division and can keep the pressure on the top two by claiming maximum points from this fixture.
Britt Assombalonga to score first @ 5/1
Posh’s 20-year-old number nine was brought in to replace last year’s top-scorer Dwight Gayle after the latter’s summer move to Crystal Palace, but Assombalonga has struggled for goals of late, with a single strike registered in his last eight League One appearances.
Grant McCann and Tyrone Barnett have chipped in with two goals each during that period and the former appeals at the same 5/1 odds to score at any time, as McCann has converted four times from the penalty spot in all competitions this term.
However, Assombalonga came back to form in the last two cup games, with the opener against Exeter and the only goal at home to Dagenham and Redbridge in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy southern area quarter-final.
The Zaire-born striker scored eight goals in his first eight league games for Posh, after Ferguson broke the club’s transfer record to land Assombalonga from Watford over the summer and he can confirm his return to form by breaking the deadlock here.
Under 2.5 goals @ 8/11
Walsall have maintained a decent pitch in League One this term despite scoring just 17 goals, which is the lowest strike-tally of any side in the top 12.
The Saddlers have found the back of the net less than half as many times as Coventry, who sit a place below them in the table thanks to a 10-point deduction and promotion-chasing Orient in their 15 outings since the start of the campaign.
Two of their last three matches have been decided by a solitary effort and Smith has only managed to cajole more than one goal out of his players twice in Walsall’s last nine League One matches.
Peterborough have hardly been involved in a string of classics themselves, with six of their last seven outings failing to produce more than a couple of strikes apiece, so this outcome is tipped with some confidence again here.