It’s time for Jeff and Roy, our main writing team, to have another discussion about all matters EFL.
This time, they’re talking about the League Two title race, assessing the favourites and identifying any potential dark horses.
JM: Well Roy, Lincoln are still at the top of the League Two table, but it’s getting tight up there. They’ve drawn their last three matches and have stayed up there because of other sides faltering. Mansfield have struggled to get going in the last couple of matches too, which has kept Bury interested. They’re the top three, but which of those have stood out for you?
Personally, I like the look of Bury, they attack in numbers and sweep up the field in the right manner. They’ve got to be dark horses for the title.
RT: I think Bury are an excellent footballing side, probably the best in the division with two of the stand out players at this level in Jamie o’Shea and Danny Mayor but I just get the feeling their open style weakens their defence and always give teams a chance. If they can stop leaking goals i wouldn’t be surprised to see them top come the end of the season.
Mansfield have a strong side, any team at this level with Grant and Walker in their team is dangerous. Their success will depend on how Flitcroft manages his massive squad and keeps everyone happy. Team spirit and experience is massive this time of year and Lincoln have a management team with recent experience of a successful run in and a squad who have seen it and done it. Do you think this gives them the edge?
It is interesting no one has done an Accrington and gone on a constant run. It seems a much tighter league all round than last year?
JM: It does seem tighter, but remember Accrington did well in the early part of the season, fell away and came back. Both Notts County and Exeter fell away towards the end of the campaign too, will one of the front runners do the same? Or is the MK Dons collapse the same as Accrington, with them yet to surge back through the pack?
I do like Lincoln’s togetherness, there’s a feeling that this is the culmination of several years work, not a hastily assembled side. Mansfield have got quality, granted, but they’re cobbled together at cost right now and with little thought for the future. What happens when Grant and Walker go back? They’re trying to recruit new faces, plus they won’t be able to capitalise on the bigger crowds because of their ground.
Anyone you see making a late surge to either the top three or the top seven?
RT: I think there is very little between the team’s. Lincoln are drawing too many games at present but if they get back into their stride they will take some stopping. As you rightly point out Mansfield is a team without solid foundations but the owner has backed Flitcroft to the hilt and I think it will be the Stags who capitalise should the Imps slip up. Bury are just too weak defensively to be champions.
I thought Carlisle looked dangerous but it will take a lot for them to continue their run after Sheridan’s departure. Forest Green play great football and I thought with the return of Doidge they would get the goals their pretty build up play often lacked but recent results have been a disappointment. MK Dons returned to winning ways this week and out the three I would still take them as the serious contender to make a challenge for the top three, they have some top players and their recent form as been a big surprise.
However, in all honesty I think the top three will stay as they are come the end of May. 1st Lincoln 2nd Mansfield 3rd Bury. What do you think?
JM: We’re meant to be impartial but I really don’t want to see Mansfield in the top three. I’m not sure why they’ve grated on me so much, but they’re a team I don’t hold any respect for. By all means loan a player or two, but to ask fans whether they want a four sided ground or a hotel? Seriously?
I can see Bury catching Lincoln, the Imps have some tough away fixtures to play still. They don’t get beat often, but they do seem to be the less free-flowing footballing side in the top three. I’ll go for Bury top, Lincoln second and MK Dons in third.