It is still all to play for at both ends of the Sky Bet League One table. Sporting Life’s Tom Carnduff previews the latest round of games.
Luton are closing in on promotion to the Sky Bet Championship as they sit ten points clear of Sunderland in third. 25 victories in 40 games this season has put them top of the pile, while they are also unbeaten in 20 games at Kenilworth Road.
15 of those have ended in victory, and they’ll be hopeful of adding another one to their tally when they welcome Blackpool this weekend. The Seasiders are still in touching distance of the play-offs though and have one of the best away records in the division.
For Sunderland, they’ll be trying to utilise the two games in-hand that they currently possess as they look to overtake Barnsley in second. The Black Cats were beaten in the Checkatrade Trophy final last weekend but bounced back with a win over Accrington, and will be aiming to make it back-to-back victories in another away game, this time at Rochdale.
Dale have done well in recent weeks though as they look to avoid the drop. They’re now unbeaten in four and only in the relegation zone on goal difference. Sunderland were beaten on penalties by Portsmouth at Wembley, and another win on Saturday could move them back into third in the table.
Pompey are away at a Wycombe side who are looking to halt a bad run of form. Wanderers haven’t won in their last ten, although they’ll be hopeful that home advantage will help them here. Another promotion-chasing side who are away is Barnsley. Daniel Stendel enjoyed a trip to Alton Towers this week, and he’ll be hoping for more smiles on Saturday as they go to Burton.
Albion have one of the best home records in the division, winning their last two games at the Pirelli Stadium, while the Tykes boast the third-best record on the road. A play-off finish looks the most likely outcome for Charlton this season, who are 12 points clear of seventh-placed Peterborough.
Lee Bowyer has had another great season at the helm and they go into their clash with Plymouth in good form. Athletic are now unbeaten in their last eight with four wins in their last five games. Plymouth though are unbeaten in eight home games, five of which have been victories. This is a game that could go either way.
For Rovers, they could go eight points clear in the play-offs with victory away at a Bradford side who are facing the drop. The positive news for the Bantams though is that manager Gary Bowyer has committed his future to the club as he looks to rebuild and move them back up the divisions. Rovers have won their last two, scoring seven goals in that time. Both sides will know the importance of victory in this.
Peterborough are the side who will be hopeful that the West Yorkshire outfit can do them a favour. They hold a game in-hand over Rovers but still need to find a two-game swing to move back into the top-six. Darren Ferguson’s side ended a three-game losing run with a good victory over Southend last time out, and this week sees a tricky test against a Gillingham side who have hit good form.
Another team hitting form at the right time is AFC Wimbledon. The Dons have won four of their last five, which has fired them from bottom of the table to within touching distance of survival. Another win here could move them out of the bottom-four, which they’ll be hopeful of doing against an Accrington side currently on a run of three defeats.
That said, Stanley did win in their recent away game at Wycombe, while also picking up a point at promotion-chasing Sunderland. Coventry are another one in the running for the play-offs, and they’ll know the state of play by kick-off time as they host Bristol Rovers on Sunday.
Both sides have experienced mixed form in recent weeks, although both need victory for separate reasons at this point. Back-to-back victories for Fleetwood has also made them outside contenders for the play-offs, and victory over Southend could move them to within five points of the top-six.
They do take on a Southend side who have lost their last four and sit outside the relegation zone on goal difference, although they’ll be hoping that a managerial change can help to keep them in the division. Shrewsbury will be wanting another positive result in front of their own supporters when they take on Scunthorpe. Both sides are looking to avoid relegation this season, and victory in a game such as this will help massively in achieving that goal.