League One relegation odds suggest 13 clubs are still in trouble

Charlie Colkett Shrewsbury Town

Relegation in League One looks set to go right to the wire

What an end to the season it is shaping up to be in League One. At the top Luton Town look to be on course for the title whilst it is an intriguing battle for second with Barnsley, Sunderland and Portsmouth all still in contention.

There is also a place in the play-offs still up for grabs with Doncaster Rovers in sixth just five points above Fleetwood Town in 10th so any one of five teams could still yet finish in the top six.

However it is the relegation battle which looks set to be even more intriguing and with eight matches to go it is absolutely wide open. As many as 13 clubs could still realistically finish the season in the bottom four and suffer relegation to League Two, so the final furlong of the campaign in English football's third tier will certainly be worth watching.

Plymouth Argyle and Bristol Rovers mid-table but not safe

The two clubs currently sat the highest of the 13 that could still be relegated in League One are Plymouth Argyle and Bristol Rovers. The Pilgrims had a shocking first half of the season and heading into the new year they were rock bottom of the table, five points adrift of safety. At that time the bookmakers had them odds-on to suffer relegation, with William Hill offering odds as low as 1/6 for them to go down.

But since the start of 2019 Derek Adams' men have turned things around. They began the year with four wins in a row and in their 13 games since New Years Day have won seven, drawn three and lost three. The table now looks much better for them in terms of positioning as they sit in 12th place, but they are still just three points above the relegation so it is far from job done. That said, bookmakers do now have them at 6/1 to go down and so clearly feel that they will do enough to survive.

Bristol Rovers sit in 13th place and they too have seen their form turn around in recent weeks. But in mid-December things were looking bleak for the Gas, losing five matches in a row and seeing manager Darrell Clarke leave the club. By that point bet365 had their odds at 10/11 to be relegated, but a run of just two defeats in 15 has seen them climb up the table.

They are still just two points above the relegation zone, but with a game in hand which could pull them further clear if they win it. If they can sustain their form from the last two months they should survive, indeed the bookmakers do not think they are in too much danger with bet365 pricing them as 12/1 outsiders to go down.

Inconsistent form keeping several clubs in the mix

After Bristol Rovers, none of the clubs from 14th down to 24th are showing consistent enough form to drag themselves out of the League One relegation battle. Wycombe Wanderers sit in 14th and have lost four of their last five, they are on 44 points alongside Accrington Stanley (who do have two games in hand), Gillingham and Scunthorpe United. With odds of 10/1 the bookmakers seem to think that Accrington should do enough with their games in hand, whilst Wycombe are 8/1 to go down with bet365. Scunthorpe and Gillingham are considered in more danger with odds of 5/1 and 4/1 with the same bookie.

The three clubs then immediately above the drop zone are Shrewsbury Town, Oxford United and Southend United, the first two of whom are on 43 points whilst the Shrimpers are on 42 and above the dotted line on goal difference only. Oxford's late winner against Bradford City recently ensured they picked up a third win in five matches as they look to drag themselves away from the drop zone and if Karl Robinson's side can keep up their recent form they should be fine as is reflected in the 6/1 odds being offered by William Hill for them to go down.

As for Shrewsbury and Southend, they are 4/1 and 3/1 respectively to go down and look to be in more immediate trouble. Southend in particular are dropping like a stone having not won in their last five, losing three. If they continue in that vein then they will be sucked in should those below them drop points. Walsall are the team directly below them and prior to their last two matches had picked up a couple of wins. But back-to-back losses have seen them drop right back into the mix and they are now 13/10 with bet365 to go down.

Can AFC Wimbledon pull off the great escape and avoid relegation?

Just six weeks ago, it looks almost certain that AFC Wimbledon would be relegated from League One. Indeed they were nine points adrift of safety on 4th February and their odds to be relegated were as low as 1/14 with some bookmakers. Everybody had written them off but amazingly Wally Downes has managed to turn things around at Kingsmeadow and they now have a huge chance of pulling off the great escape and avoiding the drop.

They are now unbeaten in their last four, winning their last three and have dragged themselves off the bottom of the league up to third from bottom. The Dons now sit just three points adrift of safety and in their next five matches they play teams also in the relegation mix; Gillingham, Scunthorpe, Accrington, Oxford and Bristol Rovers.

Those fixtures look season defining and if they can pick up two or three wins from them then they may yet stay up. Bookmaker still have them odds-on to go down, but they are now just 4/9 which is much shorter than a few weeks ago.

Things look bleak for Bradford City and Rochdale

The only two sides who look set for the drop is Bradford City and Rochdale who are currently sat in the bottom two of the League One table. The Bantams have been cut adrift recently and losing four of their last five matches has seen them fall six points behind Southend United in 21st. Gary Bowyer was appointed to try and keep them up a few weeks ago, but he is yet to have the desired impact since his arrival and they are now odds-on to go down at 1/5 with most bookmakers.

As for Rochdale, they are just two points better off than Bradford and therefore four points adrift of safety. The Dale have been on an awful run of form and between the 29th December and 3rd March they lost nine out of 11 league matches and plummeted into the drop zone.

Keith Hill was relieved of his duties as manager, and there has been a slight upturn in form with a win and a draw in their last two but the odds are still stacked against them surviving. Indeed they are 4/11 to go down with bet365, but they do have a game in hand and if they win that they are just a point adrift of safety so they can't be fully written off just yet.


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