BILLY BUNTER

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Bolton are on their way back to Championship

1 Wanderers look set to move up
The Sky Bet League One playoffs looked the best Bolton could hope for after a spell of three points in four matches but Wanderers have stepped up in recent weeks and their 2-0 victory at Shrewsbury made it five wins on the spin for Phil Parkinson's side.

Fleetwood failing to beat Bury enabled second-placed Bolton to kick six points clear in the race for automatic promotion and in the last couple of weeks Parkinson's side have been slashed from 22-1 to 6-1 for the title.

They have scored a sweet 16 goals in their last five games and central to the attacking improvement has been January arrival Filipe Morais. The assist king created all four goals in the recent success at Gillingham and laid on both goals at Shrewsbury on Saturday.

The goals are coming from a variety of places and in the last two matches Bolton have been able to win at Oxford and Shrewsbury despite first-half injuries to Adam Le Fondre and Gary Madine.

Such has been Bolton's rampant winning run they are now only four points behind leaders Sheffield United. The Blades were 1-50 for the title earlier this month but their backers face a nervous finish.

2 Oldham's pitch is a real leveller
The Blades dropping points at Oldham was not what the doctor ordered for those on the ante-post favourites but the shocking Boundary Park surface made the match something of a lottery.

There is barely any grass on it and the 1-1 result means only six goals have been scored in Oldham's last five home games. Fourteen of their last 17 home league games have featured under 2.5 goals.

"We knew it was going to be a horrible game," United goalscorer Jay O'Shea told the Sheffield Star. Boss Chris Wilder added: "We are known as a passing team and we didn't adjust in the first half."

3 Orient express heading for horror-ending
Three first-half headed goals condemned Leyton Orient to another defeat - this time at Crawley - and the Sky Bet Football League's bottom club are heading for a lame finish.

Young boss Danny Webb initially got a positive reaction from his cash-strapped squad but the kids are finding life difficult and the manager has admitted he is throwing some of them in too early.

Orient, who were supported in the market on the day of the game, failed to register a shot on target and that's now seven defeats in eight games. The east London club have conceded 15 times in their last four outings and an early injury to key defender Tom Parkes is just another blow in a shambolic season. 

4 Faith in Blind was totally misplaced
Missing out on the 24-team European Championship was shocking from Holland and the World Cup could be next as the Dutch national team are languishing in fourth spot following a 2-0 defeat in Bulgaria.

Coach Danny Blind looks totally out of his depth, but he did at least take responsibility for the defeat after his decision to start with 17-year-old rookie centre-back Matthijs de Ligt backfired when the Ajax teenager was at fault for the opening goal.

It was no surprise to see him sacked on Sunday night. He had to go.

5 South American giants heading in different directions
There is not much difference in price between Brazil and Argentina to win next year's World Cup but only one of them looks like a team.

Argentina were woefully disjointed despite selecting Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria in their side for a 1-0 win over Chile that was far from pretty, whereas Brazil triumphed 4-1 in Uruguay.

Paulinho scored a hat-trick and, while there are fewer headline names in Brazil's starting 11, they are performing better as a unit.


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Match in Focus

19:30 Fr 31Mar BT2

Hertha Berlin v Hoffenheim

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Hertha have conceded just twice in their last five home games
Expert verdict
Hertha have been a revelation at their Berlin base this term - dropping just five points - and they can move closer to the top four with victory over Hoffenheim. German giants Dortmund and Bayern were both unsuccessful on recent trips to the capital and it's unlikely Hoffenheim, who are winless in four away outings, can inflict a second home Bundesliga defeat on the happy hosts.