Friday, March 22, 2013

Tight at the top of the Blue Square Premiership...

Rank may be suffering from a bout of the Blue Square blues as it tries to ditch the loss-making bookmaker but, just as it was last year, it's extremely tight at the top of the Premiership - the Blue Square Premiership.

On March 4th betting to win the Conference outright was as follows:

Grimsby 9/4f
Wrexham 11/4
Mansfield 4/1
Kidderminster 5/1
Newport 8/1

Two weeks later the prices are:

Mansfield 5/4f
Wrexham 100/30 (bet365)
Kidderminster 7/2 (Coral)
Newport 8/1 (Bet Victor)
Grimsby 20/1 (Bet Victor)

On Sunday Grimsby play Wrexham at Wembley in the final of the FA Trophy. Whilst both clubs insist the league is priority, both appear to have been distracted by this engagement, particularly The Mariners who have lost their last four games - both Forest Green and Macclesfield are now chasing Grimsby's promotion play-off place.

A feature of Wrexham's season has been the dropping of points at home against clubs they might have expected to beat.

Draws against Gateshead, Tamworth, Southport and Alfreton are starting to look expensive. The Welsh club has the most difficult run-in, scheduled to play Mansfield twice and Kidderminster at home. In addition the sharing of the Racecourse Ground with a rugby league team through the majority of the season has not been ideal and played its part in the postponement of the Mansfield fixture on Tuesday.

The Stags are on a phenomenal run. Following their 2-1 defeat at home to Liverpool in the FA Cup third round on 6th January, they have lost just two games - at home to Kidderminster and away to Newport - have won their last nine in a row and on current form look like champions elect.

A fortnight ago Newport County (8/1) were a value play for the title but a home defeat by Kidderminster in the interim has hurt prospects.

Of those teams challenging for the title, Newport's fixture congestion is the most severe - the club's call for the season to be extended, reiterated by Ebbsfleet boss Liam Daish, is likely to fall on deaf ears as the Champions League final is scheduled to be played at Wembley on May 25th.

Kidderminster currently sit top of the league on goal difference having played more games than all their rivals. Two away games, at Luton and Wrexham, will be keenly contested.

This evening Mansfield are in pole position and the layers have priced the market accordingly but we should expect a few twists and turns before the end of the season; the two games against Wrexham will be key.

Those wanting to take a view may wish to await the outcome of Sunday's FA Trophy final before risking long-time league leaders Wrexham at around the 100/30 mark.

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