Point spread GIFs: League 2, 4 Feb 2017

It feels like a good time to dust off the animated GIFs I use to track how clubs are faring in the promotion, play-off and relegation battles. As League 2 was the only division in which all of the games in this round were played today, I’ll add the others in once their schedule is complete.

These are explained in full here but put simply they show how each club’s points tally is changing relative to teams in previous seasons. There are three graphics – one for each race – which cycle through all the clubs involved in the order of their current league position.

Automatic promotion

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Both Doncaster and Plymouth have more points on the board than any team finishing third has ever had at this stage in the current league format, so they look relatively assured of automatic promotion barring a historic collapse. It’s looking particularly bright for Rovers: only three teams have registered 62 points or more after 29 games and two of those went on to win the title.

Beneath them, Carlisle‘s points tally is looking pretty average for a third-placed team, so if they stay the course then all should be well. However the likes of Exeter – currently on a barnstorming run – are credible contenders should they slip up.

Play-offs

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All of the clubs down to seventh-placed Portsmouth are already sitting on a points total superior to what most clubs finishing seventh had at this stage of the season, which doesn’t bode well for the clubs looking to break into the play-off picture.

A few of the chasing pack, such as Barnet, Grimsby and Cambridge, have fallen away in recent weeks, with Mansfield able to surge into contention after three consecutive wins.

Relegation

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Hartlepool, Accrington, Cheltenham and Crewe are all sitting on points tallies that suggest they’re on course to finish just outside the relegation zone.

Things look bleaker for the bottom three, although even Newport‘s current tally of 23 points isn’t terrible. 12 of the 29 teams with 23 points or fewer at this stage since 1995/96 have stayed up, including one in each of the last three seasons (Northampton in 2013/14, Hartlepool in 2014/15 and Yeovil last term).