Why Doncaster Rovers and Hull City remain well-placed to secure return to Championship – Leon Wobschall
It proved an intriguing, nip-and-tuck five-way joust for automatic promotion which was eventually won by Luton and Barnsley, who went up without a ball being kicked on one epic midweek night in late April.
Portsmouth, as always, are there. So are Charlton and Peterborough. Sunderland are not too far away. Then there are current leaders Lincoln, who have a three-point lead.
Below the Red Imps, just a solitary point separates second-placed Hull from Doncaster in fifth. Rovers have three games in hand on the Tigers.
The plot thickened on Tuesday when both Yorkshire promotion aspirants did not have things their own way.
Hull were stymied in a 0-0 draw with Lincoln, which suited the visitors more than the hosts, while Rovers’ 100 per cent league record in 2021 was ended at Fleetwood, a side who were the first team to beat the Tigers in the league this season on a wild Fylde night in October.
For Doncaster, their tough late winter schedule has stuck out for a while. Get through this relatively unscathed and few can deny they are the real deal.
After opening with key wins against Lincoln and in-form Oxford, Rovers – after defeat at Fleetwood – now go to Sunderland on Saturday.
Home games against Accrington and Hull follow ahead of trips to Blackpool and Ipswich before March begins with a Keepmoat date with Pompey.
For Hull, the glass-is-half full brigade are trying to make themselves heard amid shouts from the ‘half-empty’ critics.
The Tigers’ goals return on home soil is the poorest in the top half (15 in 13 matches). Their goals against tally of seven is, conversely, the best.
That said, such a low goals for haul at home is not the statistic you associate with a side who finish in the top two come May. It will probably have to change for Hull, who also still have to go to Doncaster, Lincoln, Peterborough and Charlton.
Netting just one goal in four league matches is something to monitor. Grant McCann believes it is just a blip. Time will tell.
It can happen at this time of year for promotion chasers and he probably has a point. As long as it does not carry on.
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