League 2 Promotion Race: a preview of the final 9 games
The League 2 promotion race heats up as with less than 10 games left to secure promotion to League One we here at 24/7 Football decided to take a look at the final 9 games for every team fighting for promotion.
1. Lincoln City
Lincoln City currently sit top of the table going into the final 9 games of the season. The Imps have lead the way for the majority of the season and will be looking for a strong finish to secure their promotion to League One. The Imps last played in England’s third tier in 1999 and under the astute guidance of the Cowley brothers will be looking to play in League One for the first time this Century.
Lincoln’s recent form – WDWWW
The Imps head into the final 9 games in impressive form with the Lincolnshire based side unbeaten in there last 14 League games. Lincoln have also won three consecutive games in a row keeping a clean sheet in the last two. Lincoln also boast an impressive Home record with the Imps unbeaten in there last 15 games making Sincil Bank a fortress.
Lincoln’s final 9 games
Mansfield Town (A) 18/03/2019
Crawley Town (A) 23/03/2019
Macclesfield Town (H) 30/03/2019
MK Dons (A) 06/04/2019
Cheltenham (H) 13/04/2019
Carlisle United (A) 19/04/2019
Tranmere Rovers (H) 22/04/2019
Newport County (A) 27/04/2019
Colchester United (H) 04/05/2019
Lincoln’s final 9 games of the League campaign are a mixed bag of opponents with Lincoln having to face 5 of the top 8 teams in the division, 3 of which are away from Home. A long trip to Carlisle thrown in over the Easter weekend should be a deciding factor in Lincoln’s title hopes. The Imps also have to face bottom of the pile Macclesfield who could prove to be a challenging test depending on their predicament.
The Shakers currently sit second in the League 2 table 5 points behind leaders Lincoln. Bury have been one of League 2 most entertaining teams to watch this season with the Manchester-based side scoring 71 goals so far this season the third highest in all four divisions. The Shakers will be looking to maintain strong form into the final 9 games of the season to try and snatch the title away from Lincoln.
Bury’s recent form – WWWDW
Just like Lincoln, Bury come into the final 9 games in stupendous form with the Shakers unbeaten in there last 13 games with there last loss coming on Boxing day where Bury fell to a (2-1) defeat away at third-placed Mansfield Town. Bury haven’t failed to score in there last 12 league games with the Shakers last unable to find the back of the net away at Notts County.
Bury’s final 9 games
Cambridge United (H) 16/03/2019
Grimsby Town (A) 23/03/2019
Swindon Town (H) 30/03/2019
Carlisle United (A) 06/04/2019
Colchester United (H) 13/04/2019
Newport County (A) 19/04/2019
Northampton (H) 22/04/2019
Tranmere Rovers (A) 27/04/2019
Port Vale (H) 04/05/2019
Bury arguably have a much easier run in on paper than Lincoln, with the Shakers only having to play 3 of the top 7 clubs compared to Lincoln’s 5. However with 2 out of the three being away from home plus one of those being a long trip to Carlisle it could be an interesting final 9 games for Bury.
Mansfield Town currently occupies the third and final automatic promotion place. The Stags who have one of the biggest budgets in League Two haven’t played League One football since 2003. Mansfield currently have the best defence in League Two and the third best in the Football League.
Mansfield Town’s recent form – LWWLD
The Stags head into the final 9 games in a dip of form with the Nottinghamshire based side only winning 2 out of there last 6 games. Mansfield have also failed to pick up three points on the road in there last 5 away games. However, on the country, the Stags are unbeaten in there last 5 home games.
Mansfield’s final 9 games
Lincoln City (H) 16/03/2019
Crewe Alexandra (H) 23/03/2019
Exeter City (A) 30/03/2019
Northampton Town (H) 13/04/2019
Morecambe (H) 19/04/2019
Oldham Athletic (A) 22/04/2019
Stevenage (H) 27/04/2019
MK Dons (A) 04/05/2019
Mansfield just like Bury have to play 3 of the top 8 teams however the Stags have to play both Lincoln and Exeter in the next three games. After these games, the Stags have an easy run in playing multiple mid-table teams till a final day clash with fourth-placed MK Dons.
MK Dons currently sit just outside the League 2 automatic spots on goal difference as the Dons look for an immediate return to League One football. MK find themselves in League 2 for the first time since 2008 and are hoping that the suave and sophisticated Paul Tisdale can guide the club to promotion.
MK Dons recent form – WWWWL
The Dons head into the final 9 games in an upturn of form with MK winning 5 out of there last 6 games. However, MK have picked up strange results since the turn of the year with the Buckinghamshire based side losing (4-2) to 19th place Morecambe and a (1-0) defeat to Crewe at home.
MK Dons final 9 games
Stevenage (H) 16/03/2019
Yeovil Town (H) 23/03/2019
Forest Green Rovers (A) 30/03/2019
Tranmere Rovers (A) 13/04/2019
Notts County (A) 19/04/2019
Port Vale (H) 22/04/2019
Colchester United (A) 27/04/2019
Mansfield Town (H) 04/05/2019
The Dons have possibly one of the hardest runs of games to play out of the promotion-chasing teams facing 4 out of the top 7 and facing 3 teams who will be fighting for the survival in the Football League. After the Stevenage game this weekend every team MK play will be fighting for something arguably increasing the stakes in each of these games.
Newly promoted Tranmere Rovers are this year’s League Two surprise package with the Super White Army pushing for back to back promotions for the first time in there History. Under the guidance of experienced manager Micky Mellon, the Birkenhead based side have eased back into Football League life after a three year absence and are looking to make a return to League One football for the first time since 2014.
Tranmere Rovers recent form – WWWWW
Tranmere currently sits top of the charts for form with the Rovers picking up 19 points from there last 8 games. Tranmere also have a watertight defence with the Rovers only conceding 2 goals in there last 6 games.
Tranmere Rovers last 9 games
Oldham Athletic (A) 16/03/2019
Colchester United (A) 23/03/2019
Carlisle United (H) 30/03/2019
Newport County (A) 06/04/2019
MK Dons (H) 13/04/2019
Forest Green Rovers (H) 19/04/2019
Lincoln City (A) 22/04/2019
Bury (H) 27/04/2019
Crawley Town (A) 04/05/2019
Talk about tough luck. Tranmere have to face 6 out of the top 7 teams in the division at the time of writing and face 4 out them in a row however with three of these being at home it could be a blessing in disguise to take points off the teams around them rather than rely on other results.
6.Forest Green Rovers
6th placed Forest Green Rovers are battling for a playoff spot and promotion to League One for the first time in their history. The Greenest team in the World currently are having their best season ever in the Football League and will hope it can continue.
Forest Green Rovers recent form – WLLLW
The Green Devils are currently in a sticky patch of form with Forest Green currently sat 22nd in the form table with the Gloucestershire based side picking up 7 points in there last 8 games. Forest Green have had indifferent results over the past few weeks with the Green Devils losing (3-0) to lowly placed Morecambe before beating playoff-chasing Colchester (3-0).
Forest Green Rovers last 9 games
Carlisle United (H) 16/03/2019
Port Vale (A) 23/03/2019
MK Dons (H) 30/03/2019
Crawley Town (A) 06/04/2019
Macclesfield (H) 13/04/2019
Tranmere Rovers (A) 19/04/2019
Cambridge United (H) 22/04/2019
Crewe Alexandra (A) 27/04/2019
Exeter City (H) 04/05/2019
Forest Green have a mixed run of games concluding the season with 4 games against teams in the top 10 with the other 5 games against teams in the mid to lower echelons of the table. If Forest Green can find there earlier season form that propelled them to their current position then the Green Devils could be playing League One football next season.
Occupying the final playoff spot at the time of writing are Colchester United. The U’s will be hoping that the third time’s the charm with the Essex based side narrowly missing out of the playoffs in the past two seasons.
Colchester United’s recent form – DDLWL
Colchester just like Forest Green Rovers have suffered in a did in form as the Essex based side have only managed 3 wins in there last 8 games. In Colchester’s last three games the U’s have scored 3 and conceded 6 goals with too heavy (3-0) defeats to playoff rivals Forest Green and mid tabled Swindon. Colchester’s home form has also seen a dip with the U’s only picking up 9 points in there last 8 home games at the JobServe Community Stadium.
Colchester United’s last 9 games
Exeter City (A) 16/03/2019
Tranmere Rovers (H) 23/03/2019
Cambridge United (A) 30/03/2019
Oldham Athletic (H) 06/04/2019
Bury (A) 12/04/2019
Grimsby Town (H) 19/04/2019
Yeovil Town (A) 22/04/2019
MK Dons (H) 27/04/2019
Lincoln City (A) 04/05/2019
Colchester have a mixed run in however face top 10 teams in spells of two bar the away match Vs Bury of the 12th of April. With a tough final three games, it could be another year that the U’s miss out of the playoffs.
8. Carlisle United
The first team on this list sat out of the Playoffs Carlisle are hoping they can sneak a playoff place and make it back to League One for the first time since 2014. Carlisle will also be looking to make it one step further than 2016/17 season where the Cumbria based side lost in the Playoff semi-final.
Carlisle United recent form – LDLWL
Carlisle have suffered a recent dip in form that has seen the side slip out of the playoffs with the Cumbrians only picking up 8 points in there last game ranking them 21st in the League 2 form table. However, Carlisle Home form over the past 8 games has been stupendous with the Cumbrians picking up 16 points in there last 8 home games.
Carlisle United last 9 games
Forest Green Rovers (A) 16/03/2019
Cambridge United (H) 23/03/2019
Tranmere Rovers (A) 30/03/2019
Bury (H) 06/04/2019
Stevenage (A) 13/04/2019
Lincoln City (H) 19/04/2019
Grimsby Town (A) 22/04/2019
Crawley Town (H) 27/04/2019
Yeovil Town (A) 04/05/2019
Carlisle have to play 4 out of the top 7 clubs including first and second placed Lincoln and Bury however with both at home the Cumbrians will be hoping to gain positive results from both. Carlisle also appear to have an easy three final games to finish the season. However, a long away trip to Yeovil could be a tough trip especially depending on Yeovil’s predicament.
9. Exeter City
The team currently occupying 9th is Exeter City. Exeter still have a great chance of making the playoffs with the Grecians currently sitting 2 points of the playoffs and unlike the 8 teams above them, Exeter have 10 games left to play rather than 9. Exeter will be hoping to go one better than last year as the Grecians lost in the Playoff final to Coventry City.
Exeter City recent form – LWDLL
Exeter city have had a recent dip in form with the Grecians failing to pick up a win in there last three games. Furthermore, Exeter have only picked up 5 points out of there last 6 league games. The Grecians have also failed to keep a clean sheet in there last 6 games.
Exeter City’s last 10 games
Colchester (H) 16/03/2019
Notts County (A) 23/03/2019
Mansfield Town (H) 30/03/2019
Cheltenham Town (A) 06/04/2019
Port Vale (H) 13/04/2019
Crawley Town (H) 19/04/2019
Stevenage (A) 22/04/2019
Oldham Athletic (H) 27/04/2019
Forest Green Rovers (A) 04/05/2019
*Macclesfield (A) The game has yet to be rearranged.
Arguably Exeter City have one of the easiest final run-ins on paper out of the Playoff chasing teams with the Grecians only facing 3 top 7 teams and have a 5 game run in of playing mid-table sides so could easily pick up points and close the two-point gap.
Who Do you think will get promoted from League 2?
Written By Tom Langford