FRESH from a busy but weather-disrupted weekend of football, Lee Sobot looks at five issues highlighted concerning Yorkshire teams.
Hull are still not convincing in their ‘four horse race’
The Tigers importantly returned to winning ways with Saturday’s 1-0 defeat of Bolton at the KC but the success was not pretty and Hull were fully expected to beat the crisis club visitors.
Importantly for Steve Bruce’s side, automatic promotion rivals Brighton, Derby and Middlesbrough all drew - with Derby and Brighton playing each other - meaning the Tigers are now only two points off second-placed Boro. Boro also stuttered in a goalless draw with Birmingham.
But for Hull much, much tougher tests await then Bolton and City will need to up their game to keep in the automatic promotion race.
The Tigers are fourth favourites to win the division at a best-priced 5-1 behind Boro (2s), Derby (10-3) and Brighton (4s) with Burnley fifth in the betting but miles back at 25-1.
Reading are Hull’s next opponents at the KC on Wednesday evening with the Tigers also sweating over the fitness of Michael Dawson who limped off on Saturday and is awaiting the results of a scan.
Leeds are continuing to improve
A goalless draw at Charlton is not much to write home about but the Whites bombarded the Addicks in the second half and will have left London failing to comprehend how they failed to take all three points.
Head coach Steve Evans knew it was crucial that United backed up the previous weekend’s win against Hull and while he failed to get the three points he wished for, the performance was definitely another step in the right direction with Leeds now seven points clear of the dropzone.
Thursday night’s trip to Wolves will be the latest measure as to recent improvement.
Sheffield United found a new way to win
Traditionally they have found it hard to break teams down at Bramall Lane, so on Sunday against high-flying Coventry City, they played like the away team, soaking up pressure and then striking a late winner. It wasn’t pretty, and they needed a huge slice of luck, but winning ugly is something all teams with aspirations for promotion must learn to do. Was Sunday’s win a turning point for the previously-faltering Blades?
Barnsley could be out of the doldrums
Matters looked pretty grim for the bottom of the table Tykes ahead of Saturday’s trip to Colchester after one League One win in 11 but a nervy 3-2 victory suddenly has matters looking rather rosier at Oakwell.
Saturday’s win moved the Tykes up three places and Lee Johnson’s side are now only in the dropzone on goal difference.
The victory will have also done wonders for confidence with Johnson insisting his side can now go on a decent run with Wigan visiting Oakwell next weekend.
The Tykes are not out of the woods yet- far from it - but odds of 3-1 to go down - sixth favourites - indicate that Barnsley should be fine.
York, gallingly, have reached new lows
York looked on course for a similarly important win when leading 1-0 at Bristol Rovers on Saturday, only to be left heartbroken by first Jermaine Easter’s 71st-minute leveller and then Matty Taylor’s 90th-minute winner.
A look at York’s last seven league games and nine in all competitions makes for grim reading - a string of Ls for losses - and the Minstermen have not won in 15 league fixtures, not since September 5 at Newport,
City are now odds on to go down with every bookmaker bar Ladbrokes who go even money in what looks a case of two from three out of York, Dagenham and Redbridge and Yeovil.
Yeovil are favourites for the drop and as short as 4-11 but it is Jackie McNamara’s Minstermen who are now bottom of the pile.