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National League Playoff Race - Who Makes The Top 7?

Publish Date: 18/03/2024
Fact checked by: James Leeland

After the dramatic and historic title race between Wrexham and Notts County last season, the debate of whether 'three up, three down' should be implemented in the National League continues to whir on, with the gap between League 2 and the National League smaller than ever.

This year, Chesterfield are the runaway leaders, leaving a chasing pack of playoff hopefuls in their wake. With eight games to go, the battle for the top seven is more intriguing than ever. Using a table calculator, I will attempt to predict who will reach the playoffs and who may fall just short. If you want to find out how the playoffs work - click here.

2nd

Barnet

The Bees are currently nine points clear with the safety of a game in hand. With home games against Eastleigh (18th), Dorking (23rd), Oxford City (24th) and Kidderminster (22nd) making up half of their remaining games, Barnet will expect to finish as runners up.

3rd

Bromley

Bromley are currently third and boast the joint second best defensive record in the league. Despite having to end the season with games against Barnet (2nd), Solihull Moors (4th) and Gateshead (7th), as well as the distraction of FA Trophy game(s), Andy Woodman's side have enough points and enough quality to secure third place.

4th

Solihull Moors

Solihull Moors are currently six clear of eighth place and have lost just one of their last eleven in all competitions. Andy Whing has done a fantastic job in his first season for the Moors. It won't be plain sailing with games against Aldershot (5th), Barnet (2nd), Southend (6th without deduction), and Bromley (3rd) as well as a tricky trip to Wealdstone still to come. However, their six point cushion should see them into the playoffs.

5th

Altrincham

Phil Parkinson's side have been the surprise package in the National League and find themselves 6th, just two points clear of 8th. Five straight losses looked to de-rail the Robins season, but three wins from four since has put them right in contention. In Chris Conn-Clarke, Altrincham have the third top scorer in league, as well as Regan Linney, Justin Amaluzor and Alex Newby who have made their side the third top scorers in the league. Altrincham still have to face Wealdstone (16th), Kidderminster (22nd), Dorking (23rd), Ebbsfleet (15th) and Oxford City (24th) so have a very good chance of finishing in the top seven.

6th

Aldershot

Arguably the most entertaining side to watch in the National League are Aldershot. Tommy Widdrington's side have scored 68 but conceded 69 in a topsy-turvy season for the Shots. Their astute recruitment has yielded impressive results, flipping a huge profit on Josh Stokes in the space of six months. Before their loss to York, Aldershot had won five of their last six games as they look to build momentum. They have a mixed bag of fixtures, with trips to Hartlepool and Gateshead in the space of the week crucial. Escape them unscathed and Aldershot should squeeze into the final six.

7th

Gateshead

Gateshead are the second top scorers in the league with 72 goals, as well as boasting the third best goal difference. Despite Mike Williamson departing early in the season to MK Dons, the Tynesiders are still going strong. Gateshead's game in hand over Oldham and massively superior goal difference to FC Halifax will be imperative. They have the hardest fixtures of the playoff chasing teams and only face two sides in the bottom half. However, five of their eight remaining games are at home.

8th

FC Halifax

FC Halifax have won six of their last seven, with the 2-0 defeat at third place Bromley the only blight on their record. Chris Millington has his side well organised and hard to beat, with The Shayman boasting the joint second best defensive record in the league. However, their defensive style of play has seen them score just 46 goals- the fourth fewest in the league. They do also have a game in hand over Solihull Moors, Aldershot, Altrincham and Oldham but their weak goal difference may be an issue. If they beat Chesterfield, FC Halifax will fancy their chances of sneaking in, but may just miss out.

9th

Oldham

The final team in contention are the only side in this league to have played in the Premier League - Oldham. The Latics have a big budget, boasting big names such as James Norwood and James Garner, as well as the experienced manager Micky Mellon. One win from seven will massively disappoint an expectant fan base who would've anticipated their side being much higher. Games against AFC Fylde, Oxford City and Wealdstone present nice opportunities to get points on the board, but it may be too little too late for a stuttering Latics side.

 

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