Goal-shy Southend could get dragged into relegation scrap
Rochdale may be in danger too
Sky Bet League One doesn’t appear to have a hopeless case of a side this season and there have been enough signs of life from the early strugglers to suggest the relegation battle could be eventful.
Just one member of the bottom four at Christmas 12 months ago went down and another competitive scrap to avoid the drop is on the cards.
There are four odds-on shots though only of them, Bury, are also in the bottom four on six-match form, so improvements from the back-markers are evident.
That is going to put pressure on the sides in mid-table – Southend, for example, who are double-figure odds to go down.
Promotion was chairman Ron Martin’s target in the summer but the Shrimpers find themselves 12th, seven points adrift of the playoffs but also seven points above the trapdoor.
Their form isn’t particularly good and they haven't been scoring enough goals – they’ve popped in just 25 in 22 matches making them the lowest scorers in the top 16.
You can’t be reliant on the likes of Simon Cox, who has grabbed just two goals in three months and was ‘rested’ at the weekend, or Nile Ranger, who has never managed more than eight goals in a season.
Classy Michael Kightly is out for another month and then there’s the spectre of a January bid for Ryan Leonard, who was sought-after in the summer and may have to be sold if he isn’t to vanish on a free at the end of term.
Rochdale, after years of overachievement, look to have finally been dragged into the dogfight and notwithstanding Keith Hill’s outstanding attributes as a coach, the shoestring with which he operates may be at snapping point.
1pt 12-1 general
1pt 4-1 general
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