We’ve passed the halfway point in the Sky Bet League Two season. Sporting Life’s Tom Carnduff previews the latest round of games.
Defeat last time out ended a run of three consecutive wins, but Lincoln sit four points clear at the top of the League Two standings.
The Imps have gained 47 points already this season with a +20 goal difference, and they’ll be wanting another victory against a Cambridge side at the other end of the table.
Chasing them down is MK Dons – who have remained in the top-three for large parts of the season.
They may have been beaten last time out, but MK still sit in the top-six for points gained on the road and that will give them confidence when they take on Northampton.
It won’t be easy though, as Northampton are unbeaten in their last five at home in all competitions.
It’s a real battle for that final automatic promotion spot, with Mansfield currently occupying the position following their good run of form.
The Stags have won their last three, alongside four wins from their last five home games, and will want to add to that as they welcome Swindon.
Swindon have been picking up points in recent weeks though. Just one of their last four games has ended in defeat.
Chasing Mansfield is Colchester, who have enjoyed great home form this season which has contributed to their current position.
They may have been beaten by Stevenage last time out, but prior to that the U’s were unbeaten in seven at home – six of which ended in victory.
Colchester welcome a Morecambe side who are looking to snap a four-game losing run away from home this weekend as they try to push themselves further up the table.
Also in the automatic promotion mix is Exeter, who have won their last three games.
They take on another team in-form as they welcome Grimsby. Town have won six of their last eight – drawing another.
Elsewhere, Bury will be looking to move into the top-three with victory over Notts County, who now sit bottom following defeat to Macclesfield.
Neal Ardley hasn’t been in the position for long though, and with the January transfer window just around the corner, you’d fancy a manager of his quality to turn around their fortunes.
Also joining Bury on 39 points is Forest Green, who have won four of their last five.
They beat Newport 4-1 away from home in their last game, and they’ll need to use the confidence they carry from that result if they are to get something against a Cheltenham side who are now unbeaten in their last five.
Sol Campbell’s Macclesfield are no longer bottom of the Football League pyramid after they beat Notts on Boxing Day.
They have now picked up points in their last three games, although they are away at a Carlisle side who won 6-0 last time out.
John Sheridan’s side have also won their last three, scoring an incredible 13 goals during that period.
Also joining Carlisle in the play-off hunt is Tranmere, who could move into the top-seven with victory over Yeovil.
Rovers are now unbeaten in six home games, and they welcome a Yeovil side who are looking to stop a seven-game winless run.
The Town defence will need to be at the top of their game to keep out James Norwood, who has 16 goals on his tally already this season.
Stevenage will also fancy their chances of a play-off finish given their current position, and they can cut the gap on the top-seven to potentially one point with a win over Crewe.
Alex won last time out against Lincoln and will be looking to utilise the confidence gained from that game as they look to move closer to the top-half.
Two sides who need a win given recent form meet at Rodney Parade as Newport take on Crawley.
They have just two wins between them in their last ten games – highlighting the importance of at least a point in a game such as this.
Oldham will aim to bounce back from that heavy defeat to Carlisle as they travel to Port Vale.
Vale’s defeat to Grimsby last time out did end a five-game unbeaten run, while Oldham will be wanting to return to winning ways after consecutive losses.