How another big League One night could impact Sunderland, Portsmouth and Barnsley promotion hopes

It's a huge night in League One with Sunderland and some of their main promotion rivals in action.

By Mark Donnelly
Tuesday, 19 February, 2019, 15:03
It's another big night in the League One promotion race

Luton continued their great form at the weekend with a 2-1 win over Fleetwood Town to stay in pole position and extend their unbeaten run to 20 games.

They are 11 points ahead of Portsmouth, in third, and 12 above fourth-placed Sunderland, though the Hatters have played a game more than Pompey and two more than the Black Cats.

Barnsley v Burton Albion

The Tykes strengthened their grip on second spot at the weekend with a 2-1 win over Wycombe Wanderers, even without top scorer Keiffer Moore.

The 18-goal frontman is likely to miss out again tonight after picking up a head injury against Gillingham but his strike partner Cauley Woodrow ensured he wasn't missed on Saturday with both goals.

Wycome were the last team to beat Barnsley, who are now 13 games unbeaten. Burton, meanwhile, drew 1-1 with Shrewsbury at the weekend and Barnsley will be firm favourites at Oakwell. A win would take them within three points of Luton...and with the Hatters not playing again until Sunday, there's an opportunity to put serious pressure on them.

Portsmouth v Bristol Rovers

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This is a game Sunderland will have one eye on for a number of reasons. Not only are Portsmouth a point and a place above them in the table, but the Black cats face Bristol Rovers on Saturday.

Rovers are struggling just a place above the relegation zone but Pompey, despite being third, are in an awful run of form. They haven't won in the league since New Year's Day as the wheels have well and truly fallen off their promotion bandwagon, which had shown no signs of stopping when they beat Sunderland just before Christmas to extend their lead at the top of the table.

A 3-3 draw at Southend on Saturday, having been 3-0 up after half an hour, did little for confidence and they need to get back to winning ways quickly. Another poor result tonight and it could start to look like a three-horse race.

Sunderland v Gillingham

There are a few murmurs of discontent starting to be heard at the Stadium of Light, and they haven't been helped by two draws inside the last seven days.

Three points are a must for Jack Ross' side if they are to stay on the heels of Barnsley. Both teams have home advantage tonight and Sunderland must succeed where they failed against Blackpool and Accrington Stanley, and get the win.

They won't have much of a better chance. Yes, Gillingham moved out of the relegation zone at the weekend with a win over Scunthorpe but they are having a tough season, were battered 4-1 by Barnsley 10 days ago, and only three teams have conceded more League One goals than them this term.