League One: Battling for Promotion

With Sheffield United having won the league a while back, the only thing for them to worry about is whether they can reach a century of points. Standing in their way are MK Dons and the already relegated Chesterfield. For the next four teams though it’s fighting for that final automatic promotion place.

Bolton Wanderers missed a chance to make things a little less nervy as they were surprisingly held to a goalless draw at home to Bury. They should in theory be favourites for second, given that they play Port Vale this weekend, who not only are battling for League One survival but have failed to win in their last four games. If they fail that hurdle then they will hope that Gillingham who have been playing relegation chicken, will fail to add to their one win in the last seven. Fleetwood though might want to be aware that the only win in the barren run has come against playoff chasing Bristol Rovers, whose dreams of Wembley promotion are crushed. Fleetwood then on the final game of the season host Port Vale. You have to feel for the Vale in that two of the three remaining games come against Promotion chasing teams.

Either way Bolton and Fleetwood are at least assured of a playoff place if they don’t achieve automatic promotion. The only other team with a guaranteed playoff place are Scunthorpe Utd. Their 3-1 win over relegated Chesterfield meant that they could not drop out. For Bradford they in theory only need a point from their home game against Wimbledon. Southend are the only club that could reach 75 points but seeing that they have hit a one win in four game run, even though Southend travel to relegation threatened Shrewsbury, Bradford should be there. Bradford though face Rochdale who are within three points of Millwall who are in the fourth play off spot.

Whilst other teams can probably secure their playoff place with a point, Millwall unfortunately dont have that luxury, regardless of a struggling Southend below them. Both their remaining two opponents Oxford Utd and Bristol Rovers wont be pushovers although in the previous fixtures, they won both games. Things would be easy if that were the case, but at the same time the London club had lost to Port Vale, who as previously mentioned find themselves languishing at the wrong end of the table. Victory for Millwall and defeat for Southend will all but confirm their play off spot. Should Millwall drop points then not only will Southend still have a chance, but if Rochdale beat Oldham, then it could be an uncomfortable final 90 minutes in the last game of the season.

League One Plus

With the World Cup European qualifiers taking place this weekend (separate post to come on that) it meant no Premier League and Championship games taking place. This means a look at League One and below.

LEAGUE ONE

Bolton Wanderers missed the chance to open a four point gap when they were held at home to early season strugglers Southend United. Despite the gulf between the two, it was coastal side Southend that took the early advantage with a third minute goal. Unfortunately for the visitors, that was as good as it got. They had just two further goal attempts in the rest of the game and had to withstand a barrage of Bolton possession and shots on goal. It did seem though that at half time the visitors might pull it off. Three minutes into the second half Wanderers were level and then pushed on for the second goal to in the game, it never came and they had to settle for a point.

Bradford City faced fellow promotion hopefuls Millwall. The Bantams could have gone top and Millwall could have risen to second depending on other scores. A goal either side of half time was all that came in the game.

Fleetwood continued to keep in touch with the top two by grabbing a 2-0 home win over struggling Coventry City. For the home side they have only lost one game which came against the league leaders Bolton. Fleetwood will no doubt be serious contenders for promotion come the end of the season.

 LEAGUE TWO

Luton Town, having  finished eleventh last season, stormed to the top of League Two with a 4-1 win over Wycombe Wanderers.  Having only dropped points in a draw against Yeovil and an injury time defeat against rivals Stevenage, the league leaders have amassed a goal difference of plus nine in their 6 league games with thirteen points. Compare this to their rivals Morecambe and Plymouth close behind on twelve, neither of theirs is more than plus two.

Portsmouth looking to return to League One are hot on the trail and two points behind Luton. They are the closest in goal difference threat to Luton. They have plus four having had a slow start to the season. With Wycombe coming up, they will no doubt be looking to add to the goal difference and increase their chance of a top two place.

At the other end of the table Cambridge United find themselves propping up the table. Three points coming from three draws doesnt bode well for the club and have managed just three goals. A trip to third place Plymouth Argyle this weekend doesnt exactly bode well for them especially when the hosts have kept three clean sheets in a row.

There seems no escape for Yeovil Town either. Having started with four points in the first two games, that’s as good as it got. They shipped seven goals in the last two games. Their only hope is that this weekend they face Hartlepool who have leakier defence. They have shipped fifteen in six games including a 6-1 pasting by Stevenage.

It may still be a long way to go, but looking at League One and Two it would seem they are the leagues to keep a look at.