South Yorkshire’s football teams are certainly not having a boring year. The region’s teams are top of League One and League Two, bottom of the Championship and in various relegation and promotion fights.
With mid-table obscurity only a possibility for one team, we round up our six clubs’ chances as ‘squeaky bum time’ approaches.
After a four-game winning streak, two straight losses have seen Wednesday’s promotion push slip. Widely tipped to be “there or there abouts” come the end of the season, the automatic places now seem a long shot, but they do have a reasonable cushion within the play-off places. They could do with Jordan Rhodes hitting form, especially with three of their next four games being at home and the last being against fellow promotion chasers Reading.
Current position: 6th in the Championship – 13 points from the top (having played a game more), with a five point cushion from dropping out of the play offs.
Verdict: Scraping into the play offs.
The Tykes are doing remarkably well for a first season in the Championship. Their last six games have let them down a little, but they still have a slight chance of sneaking into the play-offs, with an impressive run of form. Doing so probably would probably help them long term, so a mid-table finish would be more than respectable – especially following the loss of Sam Winnall to Wednesday.
Current position: 10th in the Championship, eight points from the play-off places and 20 from the automatic promotion places.
Verdict: Missing out on the play-offs by a few points.
With 25 defeats from 34 games, Rotherham have lost the most games in the entire football league. They have won and drawn the fewest games in their league and conceded 77 goals. It’s not a matter of if, but when, they are relegated – and it could be as little as six or seven games.
Current position: Bottom of the Championship, 16 points from safety (having played a game more).
Verdict: Going down with a whimper.
United have lost just two of their last ten games and are clear favourites for the title. Their two challengers face each other on Saturday, with a draw giving United an opportunity to extend their lead and a win either way likely cutting their competition to just one. Impressive home support should help United after they play three consecutive away games and watch out for captain Billy Sharp winning the league’s golden boot at a canter.
Current position: Seven points clear at the top of League One (though Scunthorpe have a game in hand). Seven points clear of dropping out of the automatic promotion places, 16 points clear of falling out of the play-off places (though Millwall have a game in hand).
Verdict: Going up as champions.
— billy sharp (@billysharp10) February 25, 2017
Blades top scorer Sharp responded to criticism of his weight with two goals and a tongue in cheek tweet this weekend.
If games in hand go against them, the Spireites could find themselves bottom, nine points from safety with the worst goal difference in the league. They are on a run of one win in 13 games and face fellow strugglers Swindon and Shrewsbury in the next three weeks. If they don’t get positive results in both games, things will start to look hopeless for new manager Gary Caldwell.
Current position: 23rd in League One, eight points from safety.
Verdict: Getting relegated, comfortably.
Donny are on a run of five games without a win, with their once seemingly inevitable romp towards the title now stuttering. But even if John Marquis gets injured and they don’t turn their current form around, it still seems highly likely that they will finish in the top three. A straight fight for the title between them and Plymouth is a reasonable bet, but Portsmouth or Carlisle could yet have a say.
Current position: Three points clear at the top of League Two (Plymouth have a game in hand but worse goal difference). Ten points clear of dropping out of the automatic promotion places, 15 points clear of falling out of the play-off places.
Verdict: Automatic promotion