As Yeovil Town prepare to host Walsall this afternoon in a League One match, it's clear that we've reached the crunch part of the season. Whilst all games are important to clubs in and around the League One relegation zone, today's is one of two 'six pointers' taking place today, with Swindon Town's home match against Dagenham and Redbridge also a huge match.
Knowing in these games that at least one of those clubs will pick up points near the bottom, that end of the table is going to potentially look very different at 5.00p.m. tonight. There will of course be more matches like that between now and the end of the season that will shape who stays up and who goes down.
After today, Yeovil Town play only two of the bottom eight sides that can realistically be seen as candidates for relegation this season. The first will come on April 2nd when they will take on Bristol Rovers at Huish Park, followed by the midweek match against Notts County nine days later.
Although the Magpies are the least likely of the bottom eight to get relegated - they have up to five games in hand on their rivals. However, they also have five matches against such teams, meaning that their fixture backlog has the potential to either draw them fully clear, or get them sucked back into trouble.
We've identified twelve crucial matches below that are likely to be the 'cup finals' that decide the final relegation slots, two of which take place today, leading up to the final day of the season, when Tranmere Rovers take on Swindon Town. Of those crunch matches, Notts County (5 games) and Dagenham and Redbridge (4 games) are the teams with their fate clearly in their own hands, although with Yeovil Town and Tranmere each having three home matches, these could easily prove influential. The twelve key games between now and the end of the season are as follows:
12/03/2011 : Swindon Town v Dagenham and Redbridge
12/03/2011 : Yeovil Town v Walsall
19/03/2011 : Notts County v Bristol Rovers
02/04/2011 : Yeovil Town v Bristol Rovers
09/04/2011 : Dagenham and Redbridge v Notts County
09/04/2011 : Plymouth Argyle v Walsall
12/04/2011 : Yeovil Town v Notts County
16/04/2011 : Tranmere Rovers v Dagenham and Redbridge
19/04/2011 : Tranmere Rovers v Notts County
22/04/2011 : Dagenham and Redbridge v Plymouth Argyle
23/04/2011 : Swindon Town v Notts County
07/05/2011 : Tranmere Rovers v Swindon Town
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