With Christmas looming and a big pile of fixtures ahead for the Football League, it’s time to look at what Football League clubs in England and Wales need for Christmas and the New Year.
12. Bolton Wanderers
At least 12 more wins to try and survive in the Championship. Even that might not be enough as Peterborough went down in 2012-13 with 54 points from 46 games.
If they do go down they will be the fourth former EPL side to drop down to the third tier five years after EPL relegation in the space of five years. It looks a good bet that they will go down as they sit on 12 points and just one win in their first 20 games.
11. Championship managers
For their tenure to last a little more than the current 11 month average of a Championship manager. Eleven is also the number of managers already sacked or released by mutual consent this year.
10. Northampton Town
The £10 million loan that was given to build a new stand to actually be used to build a new stand instead of a partially completed shell. Thankfully the on-field performances haven’t matched the ones off the field. They currently lead the fourth-tier League Two.
9. Any Football League club
To attain the service of an unpolished Non-League gem number nine like Leicester City did with Jamie Vardy, who can take their club all the way out of the Football League and to the top of the EPL, however briefly.
8. All Football League clubs
To put together a great run over Xmas-January period with eight games (seven league and one FA Cup) between Boxing Day and the end of January. A great run of results and avoiding injury over this festive period usually sets a side up for promotion later in the season.
7. Derby County
To finish higher than seventh place after somehow going from promotion certainties with a few months remaining, to dropping out of the top six altogether by the end of the season. Manager Steve McClaren was rewarded with a job at Premier League side Newcastle.
They are currently a solid fourth, so could repeat the feat of the previous season or go one better than losing the playoff final two seasons ago. Both Leicester and Watford recovered from unsuccessful playoff campaigns to be promoted.
6. Leyton Orient
About six-ty-thousand less fans that will be right on their door step once West Ham move into the former Olympic Stadium. It’s hard enough to attract fans in London to a fourth-tier fixture. Their five wins from five at the start of the year gave them some of the headlines, their current ninth place in League Two will not make it easier to attract more fans.
5. Leeds United
Removal of a £5 Pie Tax at Elland Road. Leeds United management has increased ticket prices to one of their stands by £5 up to an amazing £42 to cover a meal deal, whether fans used it or not.
4. All struggling Football League clubs
A fourth round FA Cup replay at Old Trafford and a guaranteed TV-covered game to boost profile and coffers.
3. National League clubs
Three promotion places. The first division of Non-League Football has been crying out for a third promotion spot for years, maybe wishing for it at Christmas might make it happen. Otherwise the purgatory it has become for fallen Football League clubs will continue.
2. Championship clubs
Two clubs the size of Aston Villa, Newcastle or Sunderland to come down to the Championship. It’s hard enough to get promoted without a fallen EPL giant in the division. Looking likely it will be one of them as no one has survived with the same number of points as Aston Villa have at this stage of the season.
1. Leeds, Blackpool and Bolton
One new owner. While Bolton need a new owner to save themselves from total financial ruin, Leeds and Blackpool fans would just be happy to have anyone else running the club.