Leaders Rotherham United play host to nearest challengers Wigan Athletic on Friday evening with the chance to move nine points clear at the top of the League One standings.However,
Wigan will move to within three points of the Millers with victory at the New York Stadium, while also possessing two matches in hand.
At one stage this season, it appeared that any two of six or seven teams could earn automatic promotion from League One, but Rotherham’s recent form has rendered those predictions naive.
The perception was that defeats to Accrington Stanley and Fleetwood Town would leave the Millers in a battle to remain in the top two, but Paul Warne’s team have responded with six successive wins, all with clean sheets.
While it has not always been easy on the eye, Rotherham have been relentless in churning out victories, the latest coming away at Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday.
Second-half goals from Freddie Ladapo and Michael Smith got Rotherham over the line at Hillsborough, and they now sit 11 points clear of third-placed MK Dons having played one fewer game.
Warne and his squad cannot afford to get carried away, particularly with Wigan standing in their way on Friday, but there is a feeling that five or six more wins from their remaining 15 games could be enough to earn a return to the Championship.
If Rotherham are to receive widespread credit right now, so should Wigan, who have won two fewer matches than Friday’s hosts having played two fewer games.
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Like the pacesetters did not so long ago, Wigan have endured an inconsistent spell, going three games without success in the third tier, but that run has been ended with triumphs over Charlton Athletic and Crewe Alexandra.
The Latics came from behind to see off the Addicks, before they netted two second-half goals to see off the challenge of Crewe on Tuesday evening.
Having already played 12 matches since the turn of the year, Leam Richardson will be impressed with the character and stamina of his squad, and taking advantage of their games in hand would realistically leave the chasing pack scrapping over the playoff spots.
Callum Lang has rediscovered some form this month, his goals against Oxford and Crewe taking the 23-year-old to double figures in League One this season