To say this season has been remarkable would be a huge understatement, writes Kyle Kennealey.
Michael Appleton has led our Imps side to third spot in League One with just 16 games to go. Having seen The Imps face every side in the division at least once, I take a look at every team in the current top 10 and analyse their season so far…
1st Place- Hull City
This is a first season in the third tier for Grant McCann side since the mid-noughties and they are fighting at the right end of the division, looking for immediate redemption. When football was ground to a halt in March the Tigers were the right side of the dotted line in the Championship, holding a two point advantage over Charlton. But seven defeats in nine saw them relegated on the final day, although their fate was sealed with a single goal defeat to Luton that effectively saw them down. With such a quick turnaround, the rebuild had to begin quickly. It looked like promotion was a formality with 11 wins in their first 14 had them as the team to beat.
Since then though it’s been a mixed bag, they have only managed back to back wins twice during that period and have lost seven times. They are back on top of the division but it remains to be seen if that is a false position. They have played the most games in the division and a host of teams below can overtake them should those sides win their games in hand. That is perhaps why some of the Tigers support have been vocal about McCann in recent weeks, some even saying he should be facing the sack. Three wins on the bounce have quietened that sort of talk and promotion still looks very achievable.
In the two fixtures I have seen Hull, I have been far from impressed. The cup game can be excused to an extent due to rotation but in the league fixture I didn’t see too much to worry me. They looked a decent outfit but not much more than that. Obviously, their league position says otherwise but I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t go up.
2nd Place- Peterborough United
Posh have been the nearly men of this division in recent seasons. Denied a place in the top six last season by virtue of Wycombe’s games in hand meant it was The Chairboys who finished sixth on PPG, much to the dismay of outspoken chairman Darragh MacAnthony. In 2018/19 a single point stopped them from entering the Play-Offs and the year previous to that five defeats in their final six derailed their charge. This season though things looks different, at least at the moment. They had won six of their last seven, drawing the other and looked in red hot form once again. But defeat against Burton last time out saw them slip off the top on goal difference to Hull, albeit with games in hand.
Consistency remains their biggest issue, two wins in eight including four defeats in five midway through the campaign had them off the pace. Their five-point lead has now disappeared and any sort of form like the one just mentioned will almost certainly see them overtaken again. Also, their final four games will be season-defining. A trip to Charlton is followed up by two of their final three fixtures against Doncaster, sandwiched inbetween is a game against ourselves. There is no cause for concern just yet but a mammoth game against Hull on Tuesday night will give some indication of where Posh are at.
The fixture between the two sides in January is hard to gauge how good Peterborough are as if was their first in twenty-fixtures days. They looked fresher during the opening exchanges that day though but we finished the stronger and should have won it. They for me are the team to beat at the moment.