* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
Friday 19:45 – Oxford United v Lincoln City
Sky Sports Football
Lincoln looked like a safe bet for promotion at the end of February, but a damaging defeat at Plymouth precipitated an even more hurtful run of results that has seen them manage just one win in their last eight games. Lincoln now find themselves four points off the automatic promotion places having held a one-point cushion over third-placed Hull City with two games in hand a month ago.
Their return of six points from their last available 24 has not been good enough and they simply must arrest their downward momentum if they are to have any hope of breaking back into the top two. Oxford, on the other hand, are in desperate need of a win themselves if they are to keep their faint hopes of making the play-offs alive.
Karl Robinson’s side have lost three of their last four games – winning just two in their last 10 – but still find themselves just three points off the top-six thanks to an extremely congested league table.
However, with several teams above them boasting multiple games in hand, Oxford can ill afford further slip-ups. The two out-of-form sides might just cancel each other out in their desperation to claim a vital three points here.
Oxford and Lincoln find themselves in an unwanted slump for very different reasons. Lincoln have been plagued by defensive issues in recent weeks, conceding 18 goals in their last 10 league fixtures and managing just one clean sheet in that 10-game period.
Oxford, on the other hand, have failed to score in seven of their last 10 games and badly need to rediscover their goalscoring touch in the last nine games of the season.
One unwanted record has to give on Friday night and Oxford will be slightly more confident of scoring a goal than Lincoln will be of keeping a clean sheet.
They will struggle to keep Lincoln out at the other end, with the Imps boasting one of the best goalscoring records in the league and scoring in eight of their last nine games despite their poor run of form.
Lincoln are on the highest scorers in League One, but they funnily lack an out-and-out goalscorer up front. Anthony Scully and Tom Hopper have managed just 14 goals between them in 64 league appearances and a prolific striker might have helped turn the tide during their end-of-season slump.
Michael Appleton will therefore be delighted to see Callum Morton recover from a long-term injury in time for the run-in. The West Brom loanee returned to action at the beginning of March after spending nearly six months on the sidelines, and he has already bagged two goals in six games.
He has also started his last three games and has clearly earned the trust of his manager to lead the line at the business end of the season.
He recently secured his side a point with an equaliser against Sunderland last weekend and may just bag another goal in another draw on Friday.
- Man United keen on Suez canal container ship as new partner for Maguire
- Boxing tips: Our best bets from Dillian Whyte v Alexander Povetkin on Saturday