It’s been a fascinating season in Sky Bet League One so far, with various teams topping the division at different points this season. Lincoln City, Portsmouth, Peterborough United and Hull City have all sat at the summit over the past few months, but now the race really starts to hot up.
The question is, who will get the two automatic promotion spots and who will have to settle for the lottery of the playoffs? We look at all those teams likely to be in with a shout of going up at the end of the season and analyse their chances.
Odds on automatic promotion: 1/6
Odds on going up as Champions: 11/10
Currently top of the league after five wins on the bounce, Grant McCann’s side have found a way to match their goalscoring records on the road with their home form. Big away wins in 2021 - including 4-0 at Portsmouth and 5-0 at Wigan Athletic - have seen the Tigers score 61 goals this season.
After their disastrous campaign last year, City look likely to return to the Championship for the 2021/22 season. Matches against Lincoln City and Sunderland will be their six pointers, having played more games than the sides around them. Shrewsbury Town are their next opponents away from home on Saturday and they will be looking to avenge the 0-1 reverse the Shrews got over on them back in December.
Odds on automatic promotion: 2/7
Odds on going up as Champions: 7/4
Sitting in second place at the moment, their 1-3 home defeat at the hands of Hull City was a huge blow to Darren Ferguson’s side last week after they lost to a resurgent Burton Albion before that. A 1-0 win at home to Portsmouth sees them on 65 points, with two games in hand over Hull City.
Rochdale host the Posh at the weekend, and they will be buoyed by their excellent result last weekend at Lincoln, winning 2-1. Having lost the previous four games, it certainly depends on which Rochdale side turns up as they face an uphill battle to try stay in the division.
Odds on automatic promotion: 4/6
Odds on going up as Champions: 7/2
Under the management of Lee Johnson, the Black Cats have improved dramatically since the turn of the year. Like Hull City, Johnson’s side have won five consecutive games and are one of the in-form sides in the division. Winning the Papa John’s Trophy last weekend will have been a huge boost for their confidence and they took that into their away fixture at Accrington Stanley, winning 2-0 on Wednesday night.
They host Lincoln on Saturday in what promises to be a cracking game up at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland turned the Imps over earlier in the season 0-4 at the LNER Stadium and will be hoping for a repeat of that result that may end Lincoln’s chances of top spot.
Odds on automatic promotion: 11/4
Odds on going up as Champions: 25/1
The early pace-setters of the division, the Imps’ form of late has not been that of a side near the top of the division. One win in their last six has seen Michael Appleton’s side slip out of the automatic promotion spots after being strong contenders all season.
Lincoln may be hoping that an away match is just what they need to break their current losing run. They have lost their last two home games to Rochdale and Gillingham respectively and they know that Sunderland would move five points clear with a game in hand if they were to lose to the Black Cats this weekend.
All to play for then in the third tier of English football - but who will go the distance?