Ollie Watkins (Brentford) -

With Neal Maupay likely to be absent for the opening game of the season, Watkins – who has scored three goals in pre-season – should be fielded as Brentford’s main striker against Rotherham.

And considering the Bees' impressive creativity statistics from last season, he should not be short of opportunities to carry that form into the league campaign.

Despite eventually winning promotion, Rotherham conceded at least twice in five of their last eight away matches of last season, so keeping out their expansive hosts is a tough task.

Conor McAleny (Fleetwood) -

Joey Barton is building an attacking Fleetwood team that should get the best out of McAleny.

The former Everton forward struggled for form last season, but a run of 10 goals in 18 appearances for Oxford in the 2016/17 season shows he is capable at this level. Encouragingly, he has also scored twice under his new manager in pre-season.

Opponents AFC Wimbledon kept just two clean sheets in their last 13 games of last season, so should grant their opponents opportunities.

Tom Hopper (Southend) -

Hopper is a promising free signing for Southend from Scunthorpe, and a debut goal against Doncaster is a good bet.

The striker scored his first goal in a Shrimpers shirt in Saturday’s friendly against Leeds, and will spearhead a side that scored 20 goals in its last 10 home matches of last season.

Doncaster finished last season strongly defensively, but that might not be the case this campaign after replacing Darren Ferguson with Grant McCann – who oversaw just two clean sheets in his last 12 away games in charge of Peterborough last season.  

Kane Hemmings (Notts County) -

Having scored 15 goals for promotion contenders Mansfield last season – including seven in his last 13 – Hemmings looks a great bet to get off the mark for Notts County on Saturday.

Only Luton scored more home goals than Kevin Nolan’s side last season, and their fine summer business means creating chances should not be an issue.

Colchester only managed two clean sheets in their last 10 games of last season, and face about as difficult an opening game as was possible.


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