Shrewsbury (6/4) and Crawley (9/5) collide in Monday night’s televised tie, with third place in the League Two table the reward for the winners…
Pre-season title favourites Crawley have fallen from first to fifth in recent weeks and though one of the reasons for that is another FA Cup run that leaves them with several games in hand, a dip in form is also undoubtedly responsible.
The Football League newcomers have fallen from a remarkable three-month spell before Christmas in which they won 10 and drew two of a dozen games to seize the initiative to winning just twice in nine league fixtures.
And after surrendering a five-month and 11-match unbeaten away streak to soaring Swindon last time out on their travels, they have to be judged vulnerable on the brink of a trip to the division’s most formidable hosts, Shrewsbury.
Promotion specialist Graham Turner’s side are in the hunt again thanks primarily to eight victories and three draws in front of their fans. They save their best for the big occasions too, as evidenced by six wins from six at home to top-half rivals.
So with Crawley triumphing in only one of their six away clashes with fellow top-ten teams and losing to top-two Swindon and Cheltenham, Shrewsbury appeal at 6/4 to prevail and join the other two in the automatic promotion berths.
One of the League Two lessons of the season is that when things do go wrong for Crawley, it happens fairly spectacularly. They have suffered just five league defeats, but have conceded three or more goals in four of those.
Shrewsbury are 9/2 to keep that trend alive by scoring over 2.5 goals, though as they have done that only three times and Crawley have fired a mere four blanks in 29, the straight-up over 2.5 total goals is perhaps a sounder option at evens.