Date:Thursday March 15 2007
Scunthorpe: Nigel Adkins has described it as a dream - but Scunthorpe's promotion hopes are very nearly a reality as they continue their relentless charge towards the Championship.
'We are giving our fans something to dream about,' he said. 'We should enjoy this moment because when it's gone, we'll look back and think, 'Why didn't we make the most of that at the time'.'
While many pundits expected them to fade away, Scunthorpe have gone from strength to strength.
Even the losses of manager Brian Laws and striker Andy Keogh have not derailed their title assault - and Saturday's draw against Forest should have secured them automatic promotion at least.
At this point, though, they will be expecting nothing less than the title having lost only once in their last 23 league games - as well as being the division's leading scorers with 58 goals and boasting League One's top striker, Billy Sharp with 25 goals.
BRISTOL CITY: A shock defeat against Bradford last night left Bristol four points clear of Forest - and this following five successive wins in the league which suggested they had hit form at just the right time.
But Gary Johnson will know they still have much to do to kill off the challenge of Yeovil and Forest for second place - let alone mount their own charge for the title.
Back-to-back games against Forest and Swansea between March and April look like being crucial to their hopes of holding onto an automatic promotion place. But with both matches at Ashton Gate - where Bristol have the best home record in the division - they will be confident of getting the results to secure a place in the top two.
Johnson says he will be happy to take promotion however it comes.
'The games are not all going to be classics or 5-0s,' he said. 'We might have to hang on in there.
'Teams that get promoted will point to a handful of games were they have been cosmic, a handful when they have been useless and the rest of the games might be run of the mill. We will see if we can get a couple of cosmic ones before the end of the season.'
YEOVIL: Currently sitting above Forest on goal difference, Yeovil are almost as much a surprise package as Scunthorpe.
Like Forest, they suffered through inconsistency - but still remain well-placed in third position.
With the most difficult run-in of the top six, it will take an incredible run of results for them to break into the automatic promotion places.
They face the ominous task of taking on four of the top six, with matches against Oldham, Scunthorpe and Bristol City away still to come. Given those fixtures, Russell Slade will be happy to take a place in the play-offs.
OLDHAM: Given their 5-0 mauling of Forest on New Year's Day, few would have expected Oldham to be sitting two points below the Reds at this stage of the season.
John Sheridan's side looked set to take the division by storm along with Scunthorpe. But an atrocious run in February showed how tenuous the automatic promotion places can be.
Five successive defeats all but killed off their hopes of a place in the top two and have even jeopardised Oldham chances of the play-offs.
The 4-0 win against Doncaster on Sunday may have saved their season - but they can ill-afford another wobble.
'Another four or five wins should see us finish in the play-off places,' says Sheridan. 'On our day we are as good as anyone in our division, now is the time to go out and show it.'
BLACKPOOL: A decent run since Christmas has seen Blackpool climb into the play-off positions - but only two wins in their last eight suggests they could struggle to hold on to a place in the top six.
With games still to come against Yeovil, Scunthorpe, Tranmere and Swansea, it will be an exciting end to the season for Simon Grayson's side.
Following Saturday's draw with Brighton, the Blackpool manager said: 'We'll give the players a few days off now and allow them to recuperate after a busy spell of games and travelling ahead of what is now a ten-game season.'
Nottingham Evening Post
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