Sunday 21 April 2013
Yesterday’s full compliment of Premier League fixtures confirmed the first club to tumble out of England’s top flight this season. Southampton‘s 3-0 defeat at home by Fulham, combined with Reading earning a point at home to Swansea sees Saints take an instant return back to the Championship. With four matches to go (for most clubs), Spurs now have a six-point lead over Manchester United following their 2-1 victory over the Red Devils and look set to win their first league title since 1961. The top two have confirmed their places in next year’s Champions League. The third CL spot looks likely to be taken by Manchester City after they beat 4th placed Arsenal 2-1. Arsenal, Wigan, Liverpool, Chelsea and Villa will compete for the final CL spot and the UEFA cup spots.
Wolverhampton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers will bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking, having sealed their promotions this weekend. A point is all that separates the two sides in the race for the Football League Championship trophy. Burnley, Sheffield Wednesday and Cardiff City have all booked their playoff spots. Hull City and Ipswich Town are in the race to join them. At the other end, Bristol City look all but down, requiring minor miracles and a seven-goal swing in their next two matches to claw them off the bottom of the table. Any two of six sides could possibly join them, with four points separating 18th Derby and 23rd Barnsley.
In League One, Notts County wrapped up the division title earlier in the month and will be joined in automatic promotion by one of Preston North End, Bournemouth, Tranmere Rovers or Swindon Town. The three sides that don’t pip each other to second place will be joined by either Sheffield United or Brentford in the playoffs. With one game to go, the four relegation spots have all been confirmed after Crawley Town went down 2-1 at Tranmere yesterday. They’ll join Coventry City, Crewe Alexandra and Hartlepool United in League Two next season.
In League Two, Chesterfield, Bradford City and Wycombe Wanderers had all sealed their top three spots to earn League One football next season before the weekend’s fixtures. Chesterfield have an away trip to Fleetwood next weekend to win the league title, while a win for Bradford over Wycombe would see them pip their Yorkshire rivals if Chesterfield fail to win. Barnet have tumbled out of the Football League despite their 3-0 win over Fleetwood this weekend and will be joined by one of Dagenham & Redbridge, Accrington Stanley (who play each other), Cheltenham Town or Torquay United (who also play each other) on the final day.
Mansfield Town have won the Conference, while three teams have confirmed their spots in the playoffs: Wrexham, Grimsby Town and Luton Town. The postponement of Barrow v. Braintree (Tuesday 23rd April) means final places aren’t yet confirmed. Barrow need to win to take the fourth and final playoff spot ahead of Kidderminster Town. At the other end, Ebbsfleet United have finished bottom and are relegated to Conference South. Alfreton Town, Hyde and Nuneaton Town will join them in being relegated unless Braintree lose by a 21-goal defeat on Tuesday night.
Conference North has one match to play, and Altrincham and Brackley Town are in the race for the title and only automatic promotion spot. The losers of that race will finish second and be joined by Chester and Harrogate Town, plus either Halifax Town or Droylsden. Hinckley United are relegated to the contributory leagues and will be joined by two of Corby Town, Colwyn Bay or Vauxhall Motors.
In Conference South, Hayes & Yeading have won the title with a game to go. The four playoff spots will be occupied by Havant & Waterlooville, Dover Athletic and Eastleigh, plus one of Salisbury City, Chelmsford Town or Tonbridge Angels. At the bottom end, Truro City, Dorchester Town and Farnborough all bow out with one game to play.
Wigan Athletic Squad News:
- Callum MORRIS has returned from his loan spell at Aldershot. He only made two appearances.
- MORRIS has had a new individual training regime tailored for him including dribbling training with Joey JOHNSON.
- Coach Joe Jordan feels Jean BEAUSEJOUR’s game would be improved if he’s discouraged from moving into channels as often.
- Manchester City v. Wigan Athletic has been moved forward to a 12:15 kick-off on Saturday 4th May for TV coverage.
- Neale Cooper has taken the hotseat at Ross County (5th, SPL).
- Ian Butterworth has been installed as the new manager at Hartlepool United (24th, League One).
- AC Ajaccio (20th, Ligue 1) have fired manager Alex Dupont.
- Vacancies: AC Ajaccio and Real Betis (19th, La Liga).
Next Fixture: h v. Stoke City (Premier League), 27.04.13