I'm sure I wasn't alone this week to be surprised by the news that Barnet had sacked Lawrie Sanchez as manager and brought in Martin Allen. I'm no spring chicken these days but even after all my years in the game, I was stunned when I heard that one.

Let's not forget, Barnet only have three npower League 2 games left. That's just three. It's not that unusual for a club to appoint a new manager with perhaps eight or 10 games to play in a desperate bid to avoid relegation but I really can't remember someone being parachuted in at this late, late stage.

Lawrie has already gone on the record to express his unhappiness at the decision and I can understand his frustration. There's no denying the Bees are in trouble but their fate is still in their own hands and I'm sure Lawrie didn't expect to get the axe now. I don't think anyone did.

There's a bizarre kind of symmetry to all this. Lawrie ultimately got the Barnet job because Martin left for Notts County last season and helped them beat the drop in the final four games. Now the tables have unexpectedly turned and Martin's back with three games in which to pull off a great escape.

Barnet are obviously looking for the same reaction now that Lawrie got 12 months ago. Only time will tell whether it was an inspired decision or a reckless gamble but it does mean that Friday night's game with Southend at Roots Hall is now do-or-die.

Martin has a reputation for galvanising players and breathing fire into teams and he's going to need to do that immediately. They key to Barnet's fate will be how the players respond to him and another factor could be the supporters. Some of the crowd were not happy with the way he left Underhill last season and at a difficult time when fans, players and the coaching staff need to be united, it will be interesting to see what kind of a reception he gets.

Tuesday night produced an interesting set of results with Swindon suffering a setback at Aldershot while Crawley and Shrewsbury both closed the gap with wins over Northampton and Port Vale respectively and from a neutral point of view, I think it all adds to up to a fantastic climax to the season.

I'd still make Swindon favourites for automatic promotion and the title but Paolo Di Canio will still be desperate to get over the line. Trust me, the last few games of a season are always the hardest when there is something at stake and while I really can't see the Robins blowing up, the manager will be wary of getting the job done sooner rather than later.

Shrewsbury, Crawley and Torquay will fight to the end and it all makes for a superb run-in. For me Swindon would make worthy champions but it reflects well on the strength in depth of the npower League 2 this season that there are still many issues to be resolved.

I was pleased to read on Wednesday that the threat of a ban on supporters attending the Gillingham versus Swindon game on Saturday had been resolved. Gillingham had been in dispute with Kent Police about the costs of policing the match but it seems the wrangle has been sorted and it will be business as usual at Priestfield this weekend.

It would have been a terrible shame if the supporters had been barred. With Gillingham still harbouring Play-Off ambitions and Swindon potentially going for the title, it's the kind of big match players and supporters wait all season for. I was confused why Gillingham were dragging their heels because I thought the gate receipts would have more than offset whatever they had to pay Kent Police but thankfully it's no longer an issue.

I experienced a similar situation back in 1977 when I was a Manchester United player. We had played St Etienne in the old Cup Winners' Cup in France but because of crowd trouble, Uefa decided we had to play the second leg at a neutral venue.

I've no idea why but United choose Plymouth's Home Park for the match and it was a surreal experience playing a 'home' fixture 200 miles away from Old Trafford. Our fans were allowed to go but I think it was probably a shorter journey for the St Etienne supporters to get there than it was for ours.

We won the game 2-0 to go through 3-1 on aggregate but the atmosphere was weird. As a player, you know you've got a job to do but it wasn't an experience any of us enjoyed.