The excitement continues at both ends of the Sky Bet League Two table. Sporting Life’s Tom Carnduff previews the latest round of games.
25 games in and Lincoln remain top of the pile with a four-point advantage over second-placed MK Dons.
Danny Cowley’s men will fancy themselves to win the title this season after a strong campaign, which includes just one defeat from 13 games at Sincil Bank. They are on the road this week as they go to Swindon. Town will want to improve their home form, although they have only lost one of their last four in front of their own supporters.
Chasing down Lincoln at the top is MK Dons - who managed to halt a run of three games without victory when they beat Cambridge 6-0 last time out. This week sees them face a tricky test away at Bury. The Shakers boast the best home record in the division, losing just one of their last 12 in all competitions.
Milton Keynes will want to pick up their first win in four away, which sets this up to be a really entertaining encounter.
One side looking to capitalise on the fact that second and third play each other is Mansfield, who will move into the automatic promotion spots if they can secure victory against Yeovil. Like Bury, the Stags have lost just one in their last 12 at home while Yeovil have lost three of their last five on the road.
Carlisle’s wonderful form has fired them into fifth, level on points with Mansfield. They have won six consecutive games, scoring 20 goals during that time. They have lost manager John Sheridan though who has since departed for Chesterfield. Tommy Wright and Paul Murray are tasked with keeping that run going in the short-term.
It’s a bit of a theme in this division, but Northampton too boast a record of just one home loss in their last 12 games in all competitions.
Something will have to give though, and this is a game that can go either way.
Two sides hoping for a slip-up above is Forest Green and Exeter, both sitting on 43 points. Rovers welcomed back the prolific Christian Doidge following his loan spell at Bolton which will be a huge boost.It’s an away trip for Doidge and his team mates this week as they go to Oldham. Athletic have won five of their last seven at home. They also hit the headlines as they beat Premier League Fulham at Craven Cottage in the FA Cup.
Exeter meanwhile, welcome a Morecambe side who will be hoping to end a four-game winless run.The Grecians have won four of their last five games and find themselves as the favourites for three points here.
Colchester’s recent rough patch of form sees them drop out of the play-offs on goal difference, and they’ll want to get back to winning ways at Port Vale. Both sides will be desperate for victory given recent results – making it an incredibly tough game to predict.
Tranmere’s strong season following promotion from the National League continues with just four points separating themselves and the top-seven. A fantastic home record has helped them get into that position, although two wins from 13 games away highlights the issues they are having on the road.
That could play into the hands of Cheltenham, with their home form picking up massively in recent weeks. They have won three of their last four in front of their own supporters.
Another side hoping that this week is the one that provides a win is Newport County. They’ve lost four of their last five in the league, dropping them down to 13th. They did earn a fantastic victory over Leicester in the FA Cup though which will be a massive boost to their confidence.
County take on Crewe this week who have lost just one of their last four in the league.
Stevenage will be looking for a bit of consistency after a run of ‘win, loss, win, loss’ in their past few games.Crawley are their next opponent, with Town enjoying back-to-back victories in their last two outings.
At the other end of the table, Macclesfield face a tricky task away at a Grimsby side who have been in wonderful form recently, although defeat to Mansfield halted a four-game winning streak.
Sol Campbell’s side have moved off bottom though and find themselves just three points from safety.
Joining them in the relegation zone is Notts County. They are still struggling for results, although Neal Ardley does have his first transfer window at the club to bring in players.
It’s a home tie against Cambridge next, with victory over Stevenage in their last game pushing them away from the drop zone and giving them a bit of a buffer zone.
The latest episode of the Sky Bet Championship podcast is available now. Former Leeds, Middlesbrough and Millwall striker Noel Whelan joins Gareth Jones, Dom Newton-Collinge and Tom Carnduff to discuss all things second tier.