The Fab Four: Who’s set to win the National League this season?
The National League takes a breather this weekend, with FA Trophy action on the agenda as the road to Wembley continues.
So it seems a good time to take a look at one of the tightest title races in years – and what could be around the corner for the four sides chasing that top spot.
Leyton Orient (Played – 29 / Points – 57)
Justin Edinburgh’s O’s currently sit top of the table by two points, and boast the division’s joint-best defensive record.
They remain leaders in the odds at 11/10, but recent results suggest the Orient Express could be running out of steam.
Three of the club’s four league defeats this term have come since the start of December, and the manner of last weekend’s 3-0 loss to Salford City is cause for concern.
That said, it’s far from doom and gloom at the Matchroom Stadium. Orient have the division’s best striker in lethal hitman Macauley Bonne, and boss Edinburgh also has a strong CV at this level – leading Newport County to promotion in 2013.
A generous run also awaits. None of their next five games are against top-eight sides.
Salford City (Played – 29 / Points – 55)
The Ammies looked to be ambling out of the title race after a December disaster where they lost four games on the trot.
But Graham Alexander’s star-studded side are made of tough stuff. They proved that in clinical fashion with back-to-back wins against Orient and Wrexham.
Adam Rooney’s recent dip has some of the Moor Lane faithful scratching their heads. He’s scored in just two of his last 13 outings. However, Rory Gaffney is picking up the mantle and is now on double figures in the league.
With the two biggest tests out of the way, consistency is the name of the game.
Gateshead are next up, though they’re currently managerless following Steve Watson’s recent exit.
As it stands, Salford are 6/4 to win another promotion this season and reach the EFL.
Solihull Moors (Played – 29 / Points – 54)
Relegation candidates for much of last season, everything’s now coming up roses for Solihull under Tim Flowers.
However, they’re not well-fancied by our trading team. It’s 16/1 for the Moors to clinch top spot, and their lack of squad depth could tell during the run in.
This is a team that’s more than the sum of its parts. While there are a couple of big names at this level, including Jermaine Hylton and Adi Yussuf – they hardly have the spending power of the rest of the promotion chasers.
A title triumph would be incredible, but possibly a bridge too far.
Wrexham (Played – 29 / Points – 53)
We covered Wrexham in more detail here a short while back, but since then they’ve had a wobbly week or two.
Defeat at Salford has been followed by a home loss to lowly Dover Athletic, and a 2-0 slump at Bromley. They’ve never been the highest scorers, but they’re now over 300 minutes without a goal!
The departure of manager Sam Ricketts didn’t seem too much of a hurdle at first, but now seems to be taking its toll.
That’s not to say that 10/1 Wrexham aren’t still contenders. They absolutely have the squad, and have managed 15 clean sheets in 29 league games (or 52%). But they need to bounce back ASAP
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.