Npower League One 2012-13
Tranmere Rovers and Doncaster Rovers were locked together early at the start of the year in League One title race. Tranmere boss Ronnie Moore has admitted that the pressure is already on as the club edges nearer to promotion and is happy to keep picking up points. His side secured a 2-0 victory over Crawley with first half goals from David Amoo and Zoumana Bakayogo to retain their slender lead at the top of the table.
Moore credited his players for grinding out a victory without producing anything spectacular, a hallmark of all successful sides. Crawley had been hoping to claw their way into contention for promotion by upsetting the league leaders but it wasn’t to be. They now find themselves twelve points adrift and will struggle to make the playoffs.
Crawley manager Richie Barker refused to give up the ghost and felt that the difference between the sides was in the clinical finishing of Rovers. If Crawley are to battle into a playoff place they will have to beat a number of top sides early in the year with a tough fixture list ahead of them. Moore is still pursuing striker Jake Cassidy who returned to his parent club Wolves after a successful loan spell with Rovers, scoring 11 goals in 26 appearances. The Wales Under-21 international started for Wolves in their first game under new boss Dean Saunders but Moore has asked to be kept informed on the player’s availability.
Doncaster were rocked to lose Saunders midway through their season but joint-caretaker boss Brian Flynn should prove an able deputy. A last gasp winner from his managerial partner Rob Jones gave them maximum points at Stevenage to keep the pressure on Tranmere at the top. Chairman John Ryan is working behind the scenes to find a replacement and there is plenty of resolve behind Doncaster’s bid for promotion this season.
MK Dons are another side in contention but have been fending off attempts to lure away their manager Karl Robinson. Blackpool have been denied the chance to speak to Robinson after MK’s 2-0 FA Cup victory over Sheffield Wednesday. Robinson was appointed as the youngest manager in the Football League and took MK Dons to back-to-back play-off campaigns, breaking a number of club records in the process. Their Cup victory means that they now go into the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history.
Bournemouth and Swindon are very much in contention for promotion and shared the spoils with a 1-1 draw in January. A mistake by former England goalkeeper David James cost Bournemouth victory when he slipped and presented a gift to Swindon’s Andy Williams in the 85th minute. The Cherries remain unbeaten in their last 18 matches and visiting manager Paolo di Canio was delighted to snatch a point.
Many people rate Brentford as title favourites and two goals from Clayton Donaldson kept them up with the pace with a 2-0 win at Oldham. Donaldson has now scored 17 goals this season and manager Uwe Rosler rates him one of the best strikers in the division. Brentford have put together a similar run to Bournemouth, stretching back 13 games to their last defeat. Sheffield United are also in the mix for a promotion place as they rebuild from relegation from the Npower championship.
Tranmere are 8-1 in the Championship outright betting with Brentford favourites at 4-1. Swindon and Sheffield United are close up on 5-1 with Bournemouth and Doncaster priced around 6-1. MK Dons are further down the list on 12-1 with 66-1 bar these. Brentford are 5-4 to gain promotion with 6-4 or better about the other leading contenders.