Battle at the top and bottom of the U23 League
Have Bolton Wanderers blown it and will Burnley avoid finishing bottom of the Professional Development League? These are the questions as we go into the final few games of the season.
Bolton held a two point lead over Sheffield Wednesday at the top of the north group at the time of our last review almost a week ago. Both had two games remaining with Bolton the clear favourites to finish first but Wednesday could have won it had they beaten Colchester yesterday.
Bolton lost the first of their two games, beaten comprehensively at Birmingham last Thursday and yesterday were beaten again at Ipswich. That left Wednesday in need of one win to pass them but could do more than move one point closer with that Colchester draw.
With a better goal difference than Bolton, they need a point from their final game this Friday which is against us and it is a game where we are likely to need something to avoid finishing bottom. We moved ahead of Barnsley over a week ago and then went four points clear when we beat them last Friday. But, results went against us yesterday. While we lost at Millwall, Barnsley won comfortably at Coventry. We both have one game left but while we face title chasing Wednesday, they travel to play south group wooden spoon winners Bristol City.
Of course, if we win on Friday, not only will it guarantee us finishing above Barnsley, it will also ensure Bolton win the north group and it will also open the door for Nottingham Forest to claim the second play-off place. They are at Huddersfield.
It’s all cut and dried in the south group. Crystal Palace have won it, Charlton are second and no matter what happens, Bristol City are 12 points adrift at the bottom.
The league comes to an end on Friday when the final four games are played with two to be played on Thursday.
The player featured this week is Arlen Birch who has recently left the club.
Last week’s results, the final fixtures, the leading goalscorers, our goalscorers and the current tables are all below.
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS
Thursday 19th April
Birmingham 3 Bolton 0
Crewe 0 Sheffield United 2
Crystal Palace 3 Hull 0
Friday 20th April
Barnsley 0 Burnley 3
Bristol City 2 Colchester 3
Monday 23rd April
Bristol City 0 Leeds 4
Cardiff 0 Nottingham Forest 5
Charlton 1 Sheffield United 0
Colchester 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1
Coventry 1 Barnsley 5
Crystal Palace 2 Birmingham 2
Ipswich 3 Bolton 2
Millwall 2 Burnley 1
QPR 3 Crewe 1
Watford 3 Huddersfield 4
THIS WEEK’S FIXTURES
Thursday 26th April
Colchester v Watford
Coventry v QPR
Friday 27th April
Bristol City v Barnsley
Huddersfield v Nottingham Forest
Sheffield United v Birmingham
Sheffield Wednesday v Burnley
22: Connor Hall (Bolton)
16: Virgil Gomis (Nottingham Forest), Aramide Oteh (QPR), Tyler Smith (Sheffield United)
15: Jordan Ponticelli (Coventry)
14: Levi Lumeka (Crystal Palace), Dion Pereira (Watford)
13: Victor Adeboyejo (Barnsley), Lewis Reilly (Crewe)
12: Mark Harris (Cardiff), Aaron Smith (Nottingham Forest)
11: Michael Folivi (Watford)
10: Conor McKendry (Ipswich)
BURNLEY’S GOALSCORERS (League & Cups)
7: Tinashe Chakwana
5: Dwight McNeil
4: Tunde Bayode, Ntumba Massanka
3: Khius Metz, Jamie Thomas, Nahki Wells
2: Dan Agyei, Rahis Nabi, Christian N’Guessan
1: James Clarke, Ed Cook, Jordan Cropper, Harry Flowers, Fredrik Ulvestad, Oliver Younger
CURRENT LEAGUE TABLES
|Queens Park Rangers||28||11||5||12||54||57||38|