Rivals on their travels in promotion race

Michael Appleton's Oxford are on their travels
Michael Appleton's Oxford are on their travels
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THE case for the automatic promotion spots will become a little clearer tonight following a full League Two schedule.

Pompey face York and are joined in action by their four rivals as the season heads towards its climax – with all presented with away fixtures.

Oxford United are presently in second place, although their advantage was cut following a 3-2 home defeat to Luton.

It represented only a second league loss since February 20 for Michael Appleton’s men, who have generally maintained their consistency.

The U’s travel to Newport County tonight, a side who have not won a match since victory at Pompey in March.

Following that 3-0 triumph, they have picked up a draw and then six successive defeats.

Bristol Rovers occupy the final promotion spot, separated from Accrington Stanley only by goal difference.

Darrell Clarke’s side collected a 2-1 home victory over Yeovil at the weekend, Matty Taylor grabbing the winner 13 minutes from time.

The Pirates have now won eight and drawn one of their last 10 matches as they continue to have a strong end to the League Two campaign.

Tonight they make the journey to struggling Stevenage, a team lying two places off the relegation zone yet safe from the drop.

Boro have actually picked up in recent weeks with eight points from a possible 15. Before that point they had lost five in a row.

Darren Sarll’s team collected a 2-1 home win over Newport on Saturday, both goals arriving in the second-half.

Accrington continue to impress following a 3-1 Crown Ground defeat to the Blues at the start of March and are one of the form teams.

They are now eight matches unbeaten, winning five of those, while drew 2-2 at home to Morecambe on Saturday.

Tom Barkhuizen’s goal 11 minutes from time prevented John Coleman’s side collecting yet another victory as they slipped out of the top three.

Accrington face resurgent Hartlepool, who have won seven of their last 11 fixtures to climb clear of the relegation zone.

Craig Hignett’s side defeated York 2-1 at the weekend, although the Minstermen played the last 55 minutes with 10 men following Dave Winfield’s dismissal.

Finally, Plymouth are one place off the automatic promotion spots and beat Pompey last weekend.

They have a trip to 10th-placed Leyton Orient, who on Saturday won for the first time in five games.