There is a familiar look to this weekend’s ‘Home Heroes’ treble, with Swindon Town looking good for a win against Scunthorpe United, while Port Vale should be too strong for Wycombe Wanderers and Gillingham should be backed against Burton Albion.
As Sean Connery learnt to his dismay with the 1983 James Bond ‘Thunderball’ remake ‘Never Say Never Again’, there really are some things you should never go back to – particularly when you are a 53-year-old trying to play the world’s best secret agent.
But for every dud, there are a few gems – I for one enjoyed Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, especially the bit where Harrison Ford survived a nuclear explosion – and believe that when it comes to football there should always be room for manoeuvre.
Earlier this year, I pledged to never to back Micky Adams’ Port Vale or Paolo Di Canio and the Swindon Town project after they let me down. But here I am, staring down the barrel of a pretty tasty-looking treble that features both of the aforementioned teams.
Last time out, I was minutes away from claiming a famous treble win, until Oldham Athletic snatched a late equaliser against Sheffield United. Nevertheless, I am convinced that Port Vale, Gillingham and Swindon Town represent good bets for wins, with odds of just over 9/2 available on backing all three.
Anyone using bwin’s free £20 bet for registering on this top trio could find themselves in the money, with potential returns of £92.57 available.
Now that the awkward stuff is out the way, let’s look at the teams.
Swindon Town to beat Scunthorpe United @ 13/20
The last week or so has been an interesting time for Di Canio and Swindon, with the Italian linked with a move to Championship strugglers Bolton Wanderers, while the club has also waved goodbye to its chairman Jeremy Wray.
With Di Canio keen to show off his abilities and the club eager to claim a win, the visit of Scunthorpe United could be just the ticket. Scunny are without a win in four competitive games, losing three and drawing one.
They could also find it tough going at the County Ground, with Swindon losing just four of their last 35 competitive games at home. More importantly, the Robins have a fine recent record against Scunthorpe and are unbeaten in their last four meetings, claiming a victory in their previous home encounter with the club.
The goals have flowed for Swindon at home too, with nine notched up in their last four games at the stadium. They are heavy favourites here at 13/20.
Gillingham to beat Burton @ 13/20
Before the start of this season, I hadn’t had many dealings with Gillingham, who were something of a mid-table club in League Two. That all changed with the arrival of the rabid one – ‘Mad Dog’ Martin Allen.
The former Brentford and Barnet boss has transformed the club since signing on as manager, with the Gills currently riding high at the top of the division. At present, Gillingham remain one of the form teams in the country, with just one defeat in their last ten league games.
Their fans will fancy their chances of picking up a win this time out, with the Gills claiming victories in each of their last three meetings with Burton Albion at the Priestfield Stadium.
And while Burton are only ten points behind the Kent-based club in the standings, they are hardly in scintillating form, with just one win from their last five competitive games and one victory in four away games.
Back the Allen revolution to continue at 13/20.
Port Vale to beat Wycombe Wanderers @ 7/10
Like Di Canio before him, I am willing to forgive and forget when it comes to Port Vale and Micky Adams. While the club’s financial future looks close to being resolved, the team are pushing for their own bright future in League One next season.
Second in the table and, like Gillingham, with just one defeat in their last ten, the Vale are in fine form and head into their home game with Wycombe on the back of three consecutive victories in all competitions.
The Wanderers, meanwhile, have lost four of their last five away games in the league, shipping ten goals in the process. Vale are also unbeaten in their last four matches with Wycombe, winning their last home meeting 2-1.
A home win here should hopefully round off another winning Home Heroes treble for this punter.