THE BIG MATCH

It's sixth against fifth in npower League 2 this weekend as Cheltenham Town host Rotherham United in the division's match of the day.

The two sides are entwined in the promotion battle at the top of the table, locked on 61 points, but both come into the match having failed to pick up three points last time out.

The hosts, Mark Yates' Robins, lost to Burton Albion in their last outing, following successive victories, while Steve Evans' Rotherham drew 2-2 with Wycombe Wanderers - a result that followed a 2-1 home loss against Dagenham and Redbridge.

Both teams trail the automatic promotion places by just three points so will be keen to get back to winning ways. With eight games to go in the League 2 campaign, Cheltenham boss Yates believes the race for promotion is wide open and his team need to remained focused.

"We are looking forward to it [the run-in]," the 43-year-old explained to www.ctfc.com. "We've got a chance of automatic promotion but there's a chance of missing out and anything can happen. That applies to quite a lot of teams. Nothing is cut and dry for any team this season.

"No-one really seems to want to grab an automatic promotion spot or guarantee a place in the Play-Offs and there's teams still fighting who believe they can do something from lower down the league.

"We need to keep our belief, do what we're good at and take each game as it comes. That's what we'll be trying to do."

Rotherham have played a game less than Cheltenham, and the other teams in the Play-Offs, so they will be keen to win against their promotion rivals and record a victory in their game in hand, to really cement their position at the top end of the division.

Despite the match on Saturday looking like an important one between two promotion-chasers, Rotherham manager Steve Evans was eager to play it down.

He told Millers Player: "It's a big game but win, lose or draw on Saturday, it won't be the difference whether either team is in the automatic places or in the Play-Offs.

"They [Cheltenham] are a quality side, full of quality players. I just want us to go there and produce a real workmanlike performance."

KEEP AN EYE ON

Accrington Stanley are the latest team to prop up The Football League and they entertain fellow strugglers Barnet.

Stanley's 3-0 midweek defeat to Fleetwood Town saw them drop to the foot of the npower League 2 table but they are only two points away from safety.

And Barnet, despite sitting 20th, three places above the bottom two, are only three points clear of Leam Richardson's Stanley, underlining the significance of this fixture.

Richardson, who took over at the Crown Ground from Paul Cook at the end of last year, admitted the 3-0 midweek reverse against the Cod Army "was not good enough" but insisted his men are up for the battle against the drop.

"From the first to the last minute, as a group, myself included - I must take the blame for that [the Fleetwood defeat] along with the lads. It's not good enough by a long shot," the 33-year-old told the Lancashire Telegraph.

"We've got to be careful as a club that we aren't defeated as we've got a lot of football left. The situation we find ourselves in is as bad as it gets but lets not waste time with the negatives.

"We need to address it, stand up, individually and collectively, and have a fight, have a really good fight."

Barnet also come into the match off the back of a defeat after they suffered last-minute heartache against Oxford United on Tuesday, with Michael Raynes snatching all three points for the U's.

Bees manager Edgar Davids believes his young side were good enough for at least a point at the Kassam Stadium, and hopes they can bounce back immediately.

"On the one hand you can't be mad because we have a young squad, but you hope that they mature as quickly as possible," Davids told the Times Series.

"If you have a young team then it is like a box of chocolates and you never know what you are going to get."

The former Dutch international has been forced to shuffle his squad around in the last few days with defender Bondz N'Gala and striker Dani Lopez being recalled from their loan at Underhill by parent club Stevenage.

And that's a blow for Davids and Barnet as Lopez had hit form, smashing three goals past Morecambe last Saturday.

They have moved quickly to replace the duo, though, recalling front man Harry Crawford from his loan spell at Dartford and signing centre-back Tom Flanagan on loan from Milton Keynes Dons for the rest of the season. The pair are likely to be involved in the relegation six-pointer against Accrington.

ELSEWHERE IN THE DIVISION

There's another clash between two sides at the depths of League 2 on Saturday with Aldershot Town hosting AFC Wimbledon.

The Shots, who sit 21st, three points above the bottom two having played a game more, slipped to their first defeat under the guidance of Andy Scott in midweek, losing 2-1 to promotion-chasing Burton Albion, but will want to get back to picking up points straight away.

The Wombles, meanwhile, have registered two successive victories and have only lost once in their last seven to leave them five points above the drop zone.

Plymouth Argyle sit alongside Accrington in the bottom two and they have a home game against Fleetwood Town to contend with. The Cod Army got their first win in six last time out to re-ignite their Play-Off ambitions.

Graham Alexander's men have a five-point gap to make up if they want to break into the Play-Off places, which are currently occupied by Northampton Town and Exeter City, as well as Cheltenham and Rotherham.

Aidy Boothroyd's Cobblers are on their travels to Wycombe Wanderers this weekend, while Exeter will be searching for their first win in three at home to Bradford City.

Oxford United have also thrust themselves towards the top seven after successive victories, and the U's will want to maintain that form at home to Chesterfield, who sit 12th.

Southend United are a point behind Oxford, in 10th, and are up against a struggling Torquay United side. The Gulls haven't won since January 28th, 10 games ago, and are just two points above the relegation zone. There is reason to be hopeful at Plainmoor, though, with Torquay coming from behind twice in midweek to snatch a last-gasp 2-2 draw with Dagenham and Redbridge.

The Daggers will be eager to go one better and pick up all three points this time around but they face an in-form Burton Albion, who had a double celebration on Friday with manager Gary Rowett and midfielder Jacques Maghoma receiving the Manager and Player of the Month awards for February.

The Brewers replaced Port Vale in second in midweek after the Valiants fell to their fourth loss in five matches. Micky Adams takes his side to York City, who haven't tasted three points since New Year's Day, this weekend.

Gillingham remain at the summit with a five-point cushion and will hope to fend off any challenge that Burton may pose - the Gills travel to Morecambe.

Bristol Rovers and Rochdale sit 15th and 17th respectively and meet at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday, which rounds off this weekend's npower League 2 schedule.

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