League Two going to form – except for Portsmouth
Three of Coral’s four favourites for the League Two title at the start of the campaign – Chesterfield, Scunthorpe and Fleetwood – are duly in the promotion mix as we pass the halfway mark of the season.
Chesterfield, who began as 6/1 second favourites, are now the 12/5 market leaders with Scunthorpe 3/1 from an original 12/1 and Fleetwood in a point from 7/1 to 6/1.
So far, so straightforward, but Portsmouth, the fourth member of that group, indeed the 5/1 favourites to bounce straight back into League One after their spectacular tumble down the divisions, are now much nearer to the bottom than they are to the top and only 12/1 with Coral to be relegated out of the Football League.
It only seems like yesterday when Portsmouth were in the Premier League and ‘Play Up Pompey’ was ringing out at Wembley as they won the FA Cup in 2008 and finished runners-up to Chelsea in 2010.
But, in and out of administration, it’s been downhill ever since and though they still turn out in impressive numbers at Fratton Park (average attendance this season over 16,000), it hasn’t stopped them continuing their slide – they could even be in the bottom three if results go against them on Saturday.
Back at the top and it’s a much tighter race than in League One with several other clubs in with a shout of the title, including Burton and Oxford (both 9/1), Rochdale (10/1), Southend (12/1) and Newport (16/1).
Newport, 50/1 at the outset, have been a surprise packet this season and they would be in a better position still had they not suffered a shock home defeat to bottom club Northampton last weekend.
Even so, they have played 13 away games compared to 10 home games so far and still have a decent chance of gaining one of the four promotion spots (5/2 with Coral) if they can recapture their hitherto smart form at Rodney Parade.
It’s pretty close, too, in Coral’s League Two Top Scorer market with Scunthorpe marksman Sam Winnall leading the way on 100/30 after taking his tally for the season to 13 from 22 appearances with a late brace against Rochdale on New Year’s Day.
Dagenham’s Rhys Murphy (12 goals from 24 starts) is next best at 7/1, but there is still plenty of time for the likes of Chesterfield’s 14/1 chance Marc Richards (seven goals from 17) and Burton’s 20/1 shot Billy Kee (seven from 15) to make up the deficit.