The '˜business end': Chris Holt looks at the run in for all of our teams
The actual time in which the so-called '˜business end' of the football season kicks in is forever up for argument.
Nevertheless, we’re hereby decreeing that it’s now.
There are nine games remaining in the Championship, ten in League One and each of our six teams have plenty to play for between now and the start of May.
Here, we look into the final stage of the season and predict how we see the season pan out.
Starting in the Championship, for Sheffield Wednesday it’s a case of trying to keep looking up, even with three teams - Ipswich, Cardiff and Birmingham - breathing down their necks in the race for a place in the top six and a shot at the play offs.
The Owls suffered a minor blip recently, but recovered in emphatic fashion to beat Nottingham Forest last week.
They are now coming into the most crucial series of fixtures, with the next four - against Charlton, Huddersfield, Blackburn and Bristol City expected to reap victories. After that, the final five include Ipswich, Cardiff and Derby. Crucially, only Derby of those three is away from home and that could be the difference. Even draws against the Bluebirds and the Tractor Boys could be enough.
Wednesday fans can look forward to a play off place.
At the other end, Rotherham under Neil Warnock have been incredible, with last week’s comeback to draw 3-3 with Derby indicative of the fighting spirit the former Blades boss has injected into the Millers.
There are a lot of tough games to come, not least Ipswich at the weekend, but more importantly nearest rivals MK Dons’ run in is just as difficult. The fight to stay in the Championship could come down to that one game at Stadium mk on April 9.
Victory for the Millers there might just give them enough to pull away. The great escape again achieved.
In League One, Sheffield United shouldn’t really, at this stage, be fighting to try and break into the top six with automatic promotion all but expected at the beginning of the campaign.
They are where they are, and, though the opposition were very average, victory against Oldham last week showed what the Blades are capable of. A switch in tactics with wing backs deployed, seems to be now reaping rewards but is it too late? No, United could go on a run now and sneak in right at the end. Millwall at the New Den will be their biggest challenge this Saturday, but like Wednesday, the top six is achievable.
If United could be coming into form at the right time, Doncaster Rovers’ slip into the mire has come at the worst possible stage.
They haven’t won since the beginning of the year and don’t look like doing so at the minute. Currently only out of the bottom four on goal difference, the fear is they won’t be able to drag themselves away. No one foresaw the prospect of League Two next season.
Elsewhere, Barnsley’s fine run saw them flirt with a play off spot but a top ten place will be fine reward given their earlier predicament, while Danny Wilson’s presence has provided enough stability to keep Chesterfield well away from trouble.