Following my post on the teams at the bottom of the table I thought I’d do the same for the teams near the top. Most importantly the teams challenging for a place in the playoffs.
There are four teams currently in the running for the two remaining playoff spots. They will join Tranmere Rovers and Forest Green for a place in League 2 next season.
The graphic above shows the remaining fixtures for each teams. I’ll go into more detail below on my thoughts on their chances of making the playoffs this season.
4th – Dagenham & Redbridge
80 pts (+25 Goal Difference)
With only three points needed to solidify a playoff place you would near enough put your house on Dagenham and Redbridge to make the playoffs this year.
They play a Wrexham side this Saturday who have nothing to play for, sitting mid table. Wrexham have also won once in their last 8 games. So you’d say Dagenham would be massive favourites to get the three points they need.
The last day of the season is arguably a tougher fixture despite Woking’s league position. Woking are 6th in the league’s form table and will be looking to keep their National League status.
The strikers Oliver Hawkins, Jordan Maguire-Drew and Corey Whitely have scored an outstanding 47 goals between them. So it is more than likely they will have no problems in the last two fixtures.
5th – Aldershot
76 pts (+24 Goal Difference)
Aldershot have been in decent form recently, only losing 1 game in their last 10 and crucially, beating playoff rivals Dover last Saturday. This was a big result to overtake Dover in the league and put pressure on The Whites in their game in hand.
Aldershot are in the playoffs by just 1 point so the next 2 games are seen as must wins. But ultimately their fate is in 6th placed Dover’s hands.
Aldershot will be without teenage sensation Idris Kanu on the weekend following his first red card of his career late on against Dover.
However this still shouldn’t make a difference on paper as they play North Ferriby, who have already been relegated from the National League. However North Ferriby did beat promotion hopefuls Forest Green a few weeks back so the game shouldn’t be written off as a definite win for The Shots.
6th – Dover Athletic
75 pts (+22 Goal Difference)
A defeat against Aldershot was a big opportunity to increase the gap between them and The Shots. It also stopped their 3 match winning streak in the process. However Dover are only 1 point behind, and have a game in hand over Aldershot.
They will host relegation scrappers Torquay United on Saturday which will be a hard game considering Torquay will be all guns blazing to retain their National League status.
The real important fixture is against Macclesfield on Tuesday. With Macclesfield having nothing the play for this is a chance for Dover to make their game in hand count and overtake Aldershot to slide into the last playoff place.
They missed out on a playoff final last year, losing 2-1 on aggregate to Forest Green. So this year they will be looking to put things right, and with Ricky Miller firing in 36 this season, I have no doubt they will be able to do the job in these last few games.
7th – Barrow
72 pts (+18 Goal Difference)
Barrow are a big outside chance in the playoffs this year. They are currently 4 points from the playoffs with a poorer goal difference than the teams above them. But this doesn’t write them off for a miracle.
To gain a spot in the playoffs Barrow will be required to win the next 2 games against Braintree and Dover to take them to 78 points. Not to mention they also need the two teams above them, Aldershot and Dover, to ideally lose each of their remaining games which is highly unlikely.
That being said Barrow owner Paul Casson has pumped £1m into the club this season to fund their push to play in the football league. And with that kind of investment anything other that the playoffs will be seen as a poor investment from the American businessman.
So who will make the playoffs?
In my eyes I don’t see Dagenham and Redbridge slipping up on their playoff spot. They are in a great position, even if they lose the next two games, they are 4 points ahead of the team below them.
After Dagenham it comes down to the one playoff spot which is obviously between Dover and Aldershot.
I believe both teams will have minimal problems in the last few. But Aldershot will be looking over their shoulders come Tuesday in Dover’s game in hand against Macclesfield.
I think it is all down to Dover’s grit over their remaining fixtures. I think they are in with a real shot of promotion if they make the playoffs, striker Ricky Miller will be a huge asset in these games.