Promotion watch: what’s at stake this weekend?

Stevenage boss Darren Sarll
Stevenage boss Darren Sarll
Joe Hancott. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey head into this weekend’s clash with Hartlepool hoping to close the gap on second-placed Plymouth to just four points.

The Blues (68 points) have been in excellent form of late and, with just one defeat in five, they will be hoping to collect a win against a struggling Pools side who currently sit just eight points above the relegation zone.

Paul Cook’s men would have been hoping table-toppers Doncaster (78) had beaten the Pilgrims at the Keepmoat last Sunday, but a 1-0 win for Derek Adams’ men has now left them just three points off top spot.

This weekend Plymouth host Accrington Stanley (52) who sit comfortably in 13th place.

Stanley haven’t lost since going down 2-0 to the Blues on February 11 – and Adams will know his side will have to perform well if they are to pick up another three points.

On the back of their defeat, Doncaster will be hoping to bounce back when they travel to mid-table Grimsby.

Donny have been flying this season and have only lost on seven occasions.

Meanwhile, Marcus Bignot’s side have struggled for consistency for much of the campaign and have just three wins in their past 10 outings.

From within the chasing pack, the biggest game of the weekend comes from Kenilworth Road, where sixth-placed Luton (60) take on fifth-placed Blackpool (60), with only goal difference seperating the sides.

The Tangerines’ late winner against Hartlepool last weekend moved them into the play-off places and Gary Bowyer’s side will be desperate to cement their place in the top seven.

The outfit currently closest to Pompey are fourth-placed Stevenage (62), who face Barnet this weekend.

Darren Sarll’s side had been hoping to follow up their 3-0 win over the Blues with another victory over Cambridge last weekend, but they could only manage a goalless draw.

That result allowed Pompey to move six points clear in third following victory against Newport.

Boro will know they need to start winning again if they are to overhaul Cook’s side.

Elsewhere, there is a tasty-looking clash at The One Call Stadium, where ninth-placed Mansfield (58) host seventh-placed Exeter (59).

Meanwhile, free-falling Carlisle (59) travel to struggling Yeovil knowing they must pick up their first win in eight if they are to reignite their promotion push.