Gillingham v Shrewsbury
Saturday, 15:00

Gillingham bagged their first goals of the League One campaign in a pulsating 3-3 draw with Southend last weekend - potentially turning a significant corner in the process - and they look decent value to bring high-flying Shrewsbury back down to earth. Take the 3.00 available on the home win. It's a price that most would have hoovered up without hesitation a month ago.

It's no secret that the Kent club have downsized over the summer, due to an ongoing court case with former caterers. Core players like Bradley Dack and Cody McDonald have been allowed to leave, making way for cheaper alternatives, and a long battle against relegation over the next nine months is to be expected. But that shouldn't detract from their ability to beat a side operating on similar resources.

After several months of bitter conflict behind the scenes - much of which you suspect has been instigated by Adrian Pennock at the behest of chairman Paul Scally - the mood in the dressing room appears to have finally shifted in the manager's favour. Pennock now readily talks about a siege mentality and having a squad he would be happy to "go to war with".

It was a sentiment perhaps best summed up by summer signing Tom Eaves. The six-foot-five striker was jeered by his own fans in the first half against Southend, after misplacing a succession of passes, but he responded with a hat-trick and could go from strength to strength in a new 4-4-2 formation, which provided the extra width that led to his first two goals.

Shrewsbury will obviously arrive in confident mood, sitting pretty in third position with 10 points from the first available 12. Paul Hurst has heaped praise on his players for their remarkable efforts up to this point, but is under no illusions about the nature of regression to the mean and a downturn might only be a matter of time.

Speaking after the 1-1 draw at Oxford last weekend, he said: "It's extremely unusual, I have to say, to have had the level of performance we've had over the first five (league and cup) games. All the time, you tick them off and you're waiting for the next one thinking 'there's going to be a dip'. At the minute there hasn't been one."

The prices for this game are purely a reaction to the respective standards set by the two teams over the course of August but it often pays to keep a level head and take a long-term view when assessing games in early September. Shrewsbury might have the better long-term prospects but over the course of 90 minutes at Priestfield, Gillingham ought to be slight favourites.

Recommended Bet
1pt Gillingham to beat Shrewsbury @ 3.00

Oldham v Charlton
Saturday, 15:00

Charlton delivered what many were calling a real statement of intent at Rotherham last weekend, overcoming a sickness bug to outplay their hosts and bag a comfortable 2-0 win. But those familiar with Karl Robinson will be aware that famine can often follow feast, especially in the most inhospitable surroundings, and winless Oldham are worth chancing at 4.00 here.

It's been a thoroughly miserable start to the season for the Latics but a nadir might have been reached at Blackpool when they conceded twice in the opening 15 minutes, prompting angry scenes among their sizeable away following that included chants of 'you're not fit to wear the shirt' and one supporter coming on to the pitch to berate the players.

It was all very unsavoury but could actually serve a purpose for John Sheridan, who was less inclined to blame the players himself in the midst of an injury crisis and various other mitigating circumstances that have made life tough of late. Indeed, his decision to name only three subs at Bloomfield Road was a clear message to the board ahead of the transfer deadline.

Playmaker Jack Byrne has now arrived on loan from Wigan, joining Haiti international keeper Johnny Placide from Guingamp, while Sheridan is also hopeful of getting at least couple of his nine crocked players back, which could make the Lancashire club an altogether different proposition seven days on.

If they retain the intensity shown in the second half at Bloomfield Road, when they stopped feeling sorry for themselves and pulled a goal back to go down 2-1, then they might return to the standards they were setting at the back-end of last season when keeping 10 clean sheets in the final 22 games, and taking 29 points from 11 games in which they scored the first goal.

Recommended Bet
1pt Oldham to beat Charlton @ 4.00

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