Top play bottom in League Two this weekend as high-flying Northampton take on a lowly York.
With five wins in their last five league games Town will be confident against the football league’s tail end. The Cobblers have also signed midfielder Danny Rose from title rivals Oxford, and are on 58 points two clear from Plymouth with as many games in hand. Now on 20 points, four points from safety, City have a lot to do in order to survive the drop this season, with things not likely to get easier this weekend. With stadium doubts looming there is little good news for the Minstermen at the moment, who are looking more destined to play non-league football next year.
Argyle in second will give chase when they travel to a resilient Yeovil. The Pilgrims have only won one of their last four which is a fatal blow to their title hopes, although automatic promotion is all but assured with a nine point gap to Bristol Rovers in fourth. Darren Way’s men have taken seven points from nine to build the gap to the drop, but will not feel safe with just a four point cushion from the drop.
Oxford have experienced some turbulence in recent weeks which has seen them drop seven points behind the leaders, but are still in the money seat for the final automatic promotion place. Head coach Michael Appleton needs to keep his players focused on the league after the U’s booked a Wembley date against League One’s Fleetwood Town in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
The hosts are Exeter in 12th, 11 points and nine places behind the visitors. City are coming to terms with the loss of top-scorer Tom Nichols to Peterborough on a four-and-a-half-year deal, a big blow for their play-off hopes as they are just four points away.
The second team in the relegation zone is Dagenham & Redbridge, who are equal on 20 points with York. Manager John Still bought in Reading’s Dominic Hyam on loan as they look to climb the table, a final throw of the dice for a side dicing with the drop. Cambridge manager Shaun Derry dropped his captain Mark Roberts and named 23-year-old Luke Berry skipper in last Saturday’s victory against Leyton Orient. United are unbeaten in three and are as many points off the play-offs.
Hartlepool are team at risk of dropping into the bottom-two as they are sitting uncomfortably in 22nd, four points above. Despite having two games in hand on those below and four on Yeovil who are level on points, United will want to separate themselves from the battle. Boss Ronnie Moore has added midfielder Josh Laurent to his squad following his release from Championship side Brentford.
Notts County welcome Pool, and have also added to their squad bringing in defender Gary MacKenzie on loan. In 15th on 35 points, a win is vital for the Magpies to stop their season becoming insignificant.
Bristol Rovers in fourth are fighting to stay in the hunt for a top-three finish, despite suffering a 1-0 loss to fellow play-off hopefuls Accrington who closed the gap to two points and places. The Pirates have recruited the services of New Zealand striker Rory Fallon until the end of the season. Wimbledon are the challengers just five points and six places behind, who’s six game unbeaten run came to an end against Yeovil last weekend.
Portsmouth have dropped to fifth with two points and four places separating them from their opponents Leyton Orient. Pompey have only one win in five which has taken them 13 points from the summit, and ever closer to dropping out the top-seven altogether. Player-manager Kevin Nolan has been busy in the transfer window which could see them push on and take a play-off space, as his men are just a point off a coveted place.
Saturday’s League Two fixtures (15:00 K.O):
Bristol Rovers vs Wimbledon
Cambridge vs Dag & Red
Carlisle vs Accrington
Exeter vs Oxford Utd
Mansfield vs Morecambe
Newport vs Barnet
Northampton vs York
Notts County vs Hartlepool
Portsmouth vs Leyton Orient
Stevenage vs Crawley
Wycombe vs Luton
Yeovil vs Plymouth