Blackburn and Wigan tipped to edge Shrews for League One promotion

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The race for automatic promotion looks set to go right down to the wire in League One.  

Blackburn Rovers, Shrewsbury Town and Wigan Athletic all remain in the hunt to escape the third-tier. But three doesn’t go into two. And one will miss out.

With less than a quarter of the season remaining in League One, we’ve evaluated the chances of the three main contenders…

Blackburn Rovers

Tony Mowbray’s men are steamrolling their way to League One glory.

Rovers pinched top spot off previous incumbents Shrewsbury last month. They haven’t looked back since.

The Lancashire club have won five from six in all competitions and have lost just once in the league since mid-October.

Fixtures against Peterborough United (7th), Bristol Rovers (10th) and Oxford United (16th) in the run-in could prove difficult.

But with just five defeats against their name all season long, it’s hard to see the Ewood Park club slipping up at this late stage.

Verdict: Promoted

Wigan Athletic

The Latics are fast becoming a yo-yo club between the Championship and League One.

Promotion at the end of this season would mark the fourth year in a row that Paul Cook’s side have bounced between the two divisions.

And it’s hard to argue that it won’t happen again. The 2013 FA Cup winners have coughed and spluttered in recent weeks, picking up just two wins in their last five matches.

Success at Walsall on Wednesday night was more like it. And with fixtures against eight of the league’s bottom-half to come in their last 11 matches, the signs look good.

Nothing is a given in League One. But with two games in hand and a favourable run-in, the Latics really ought to make it back to the Championship once again.

Verdict: Promoted

Shrewsbury Town

No-one expected Shrewsbury to still be hanging around the promotion spots come March time. But like a cat round spilled milk, they just won’t go away.

Paul Hurst’s men are one point above Wigan in third and currently look set to grace the second division for the first time since 1989.

Add in that they’re unbeaten in six and things look pretty good for the Shropshire club. Yet doubts still linger over whether they can hold out until the end of the season.

A draw against Northampton Town on Tuesday night could prove a costly slip up. Not only did Salop drop two points, but they also lost captain Abu Ogogo to a red card.

He’ll now serve his second suspension of the season and miss four of Shrewsbury’s last 10 matches.

When the midfielder was banned earlier in the season, the Shrews lost both of their games without him.

That doesn’t bode well for the club. And with promotion likely to be decided by such fine margins, it could end up being a crucial factor. They’re third-favourites at 5/6 to be promoted.

Verdict: Play-offs.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Nick Murphy

Nick is a graduate of the University of East Anglia where he doubled up as the sports editor of the student newspaper Concrete. He also supports Dagenham & Redbridge and previously edited the matchday programme at Victoria Road. Other passions include darts, cricket and horse racing.