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Nic Ladds 19th Apr 2010 - 9:40

Can Plymouth pull off a great escape?

This match sees already promoted and all but league champions Newcastle take on a Plymouth side that are six points adrift in the relegation zone. With just another three matches after this one and it is looking increasingly bleak for the Green Army.

A win for Newcastle would seal the Championship title and almost certainly doom Plymouth to relegation.

It is for the simple fact Plymouth must win to have any hope of staying up that I expect a big fight from them and will be recommending a home win.

It will take a huge effort for Plymouth (29/10) to get their much needed win. Paul Mariner's side haven't scored in front of their home support in three matches and they face a Newcastle (10/11) side that are unbeaten in 14 matches.

Newcastle haven't visited Home Park in almost 20 years so it is quite hard to gauge how these two sides line up historically. All we can say is Plymouth were on the end of a 3-1 (14/1) drubbing in the reverse fixture at St James'.

It is quite tough tipping a side that have won just five of their 21 home matches this season but I think if you like an outside bet, a side fighting for their lives against an already promoted side that could be taking their foot off the gas could be a good way to go.

If Plymouth are to have any chance, they really need to get find some scoring form. The amount they concede wouldn't be such a cause for concern, it is no more than most of the clubs above them, it is putting the ball in at the other end that has caused real problems.

They have scored a league-low 19 goals in 21 matches at home and no player has scored more than eight goals which is a real worry.

If they are going to win here, they will have to defend well against a free-scoring Newcastle side and hope to nick a goal at the other end. I would go for a 1-0 home win at 8/1. I think the 5/6 on Plymouth and the draw double chance is a cracking bet for anyone not put off by the shorter prices.

If you don't agree and think Newcastle will continue to be focused right until the final match of the season there are still some decent odds to be found if you look hard enough.

Newcastle -1 goal on the handicap looks good at 12/5 and Kevin Nolan to score first at 7/1 or anytime at 2/1 has to be one of the bets of the day given he has 17 league goals to his name this season.

Plymouth should welcome back a few key players from injury for this match including Luke Summerfield, Kari Arnason and skipper Carl Fletcher.

For Newcastle, "One Size" Fitz Hall should be recalled to replace the injured Fabricio Coloccini. Other than that change, the team should remain similar to the one that beat Reading on Tuesday.

On paper it is pretty obvious which team should win this match, Newcastle have lost just four matches all season, but I just hope Plymouth can pull something out of the bag and surprise us all going in to the final few matches of the season.



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