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Sky Bet League 1 Easter weekend preview

18 April 2014

All four relegation places and one automatic promotion spot are still to be decided in Sky Bet League 1 ahead of the Easter weekend with a lot on the line for a handful of clubs.

At the bottom of the table, Stevenage are four points from safety with only four games remaining. Graham Westley takes his side to mid-table Sheffield United before a home clash with all-but-secure Bristol City.

Eight games without victory has seen Boro fall away from safety, and their plight could be confirmed over the coming matches. Bristol City are 14th but could still be pulled into the scrap for safety. They have 50 points and sit seven points from danger.

Shrewsbury are directly above Stevenage in 23rd, and they host 22nd-placed Crewe Alexandra on Good Friday in a relegation six-pointer. The Shrews are two points from safety and have a tough trip to promotion-chasing Preston North End in their Monday match.

Crewe have the worst defensive record in League 1 with 78 goals conceded from 42 games, and they host Colchester United after their visit to Greenhous Meadow. The Railwaymen are one of three teams on 43 points - Carlisle United and Notts County are the other two clubs sitting either side of the relegation zone.

The Cumbrians have a game in hand on the teams around them, while County have won four of their past five in the league to make sure safety is in their own hands.

Then come Tranmere Rovers and Colchester who are both three points ahead of Carlisle. Joe Dunne's U's are virtually four points clear, owing to their superior goal difference compared to the other teams involved in what is a remarkably tight relegation battle.

At the top of the table, Brentford are looking to secure their passage out of Sky Bet League 1 and into the Sky Bet Championship after heartbreak just under 12 months ago.

The Bees were denied automatic promotion on the final day of the 2012/13 season before eventually losing the Play-Off Final to Yeovil Town, 2-1.

Mark Warburton, having taken over from Uwe Rosler towards the end of 2013, has led his team to second and seven points clear of Leyton Orient in third.

If results involving Orient and Rotherham United go Brentford's way, they could secure a spot in the Championship for next season by dispatching Preston North End on Friday afternoon.

The Griffin Park club have the best home record in the division, winning 17, drawing one and losing only three of their outings at home this season. Preston have also only lost three times in 21 away fixtures.

Should Brentford fail on Friday, their second bite at the cherry will come on Monday afternoon with a trip to Milton Keynes Dons.

The Dons themselves have seen their Play-Off ambitions falter over the past few weeks. Three defeats and one victory in their most recent four has seen Karl Robinson's squad slip to nine points behind Peterborough United in sixth.

Posh's nearest challengers for that final Play-Off berth is Swindon Town, who trail by seven points. Darren Ferguson's men - who won the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at Wembley last month - could take a huge step towards a return to the national stadium if Swindon lose and MK Dons fail to win on Friday afternoon and they win at Bradford in the evening.

Elsewhere, Wolves - fresh from breaking two club records last weekend - host Rotherham before travelling to Leyton Orient, knowing that positive results will more than likely see them be crowned League 1 champions for 2013/14.

Click here for all the weekend's action

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