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As the run-in to the 2013 season approaches, things couldn’t be tighter in League One – with any one of a probable ten teams still within a shout of promotion as we go into the third-to-last Saturday of the season, any small twist or turn now, could really turn the promotion race on its head.

BillytheBee has been chatting to fans from all the Top Ten promotion-chasing teams *. In a series of interviews, fans from Doncaster, Bournemouth, Yeovil, Sheffield Utd, Swindon, Tranmere, and even outsiders Walsall and Orient, give us their vibes on the end-of-season run-in (we didn’t talk to Franchise FC aka MK Dons fans as we don’t recognise their club actually exists).

In our first interview, we bring you the thoughts of fans from teams occupying the automatic promotion slots. With Doncaster currently top of the league – two points ahead of second placed Bournemouth, who are incidentally two points ahead of third placed Brentford – we talk to Ian Monks from the Doncaster Rovers Supporters Association Disabled Branch and Russell Crewe, a Bournemouth regular, about their thoughts on the next few weeks.

How is your run-in looking? How do you think you will get on?

IM (DRFC): We’re doing good at the moment and have a pretty good squad, we have one or two injuries but not bad ones. We’ve got Crewe, Notts County and your lot still to play. I’m confident.

RC (AFCB): Our run in ‘looks’ better than for others in the top eight, plus our players are fit and we’ve fewer games remaining than other sides. But as everyone in this division is so inconsistent, including us, no one’s counting chickens.

What teams are you worried about that may steal your thunder, and why?

IM. Wouldn’t want Bournemouth as they’re on fire.

RC: We were in the relegation zone in October and now we’re all but in the play-offs so, whatever happens, nobody can steal that thunder. Our only concern is the teams we face over the next few weeks – Shrewsbury, Carlisle and Tranmere. Some of our promotion chasing peers have to face each other, so they stand a good chance of cancelling one another out.

What’s your heart saying? What’s your head saying?

IM: Heart is saying hope we don’t blow it. Head is saying automatic at Brentford last day of the season.

RC: My heart says ‘Eddie Howe walks on water and a miraculous title win should be taken seriously’. My head says even if we win all our games we might still miss out on automatic promotion due to others results. The facts remains that, bar some weird permutation of other results, we should be in the play-offs regardless.

What League position do you think you will finish in?

IM: I’d like to finish top.

RC: Head says 5th, has done for a while. Heart says Champions and a statue at Dean Court for Eddie Howe.

If you get to the playoffs, who would you want, and why? Who would you want to avoid, and why?

IM: In the playoffs, Sheffield United. They’ve lost their manager and are in a bit of turmoil. We need to avoid Brentford and Yeovil as they’re good teams.

RC: Don’t care as it’s a bit of a lottery at that stage. We can beat anybody in this division on our day. I feel very relaxed about the play-offs

Could you survive in the Championship?

IM: I think we could survive in Championship with just a few new players. The ones we have have the passion for it though

RC: Not without a significant personnel shake-up. Howe’s predecessors spent a lot of money, badly. Some dead wood has been shifted, but more needs to go and some Championship players need bringing in.

How did Michael Appleton survive for so long as manager of both your teams?

IM: I think Bristol City poached him from us.

RC: Can’t talk about Agent Appleton as he initially came from Pompey.

* top 10 teams as of Friday April 12th 2013

BillytheBee
@billythebee99