The action in League One and League Two returns this weekend after a week off thanks to the 2nd round of the FA Cup.
We’re heading into the meat and drink of the season now and in the coming weeks and months, we’ll have a fine idea of who is going to do what in the third and fourth tier.
Ahead of the resumption of action, then, we spoke to League One and Two connoisseur James Richards of d3d4football.com to assess the biggest talking points ahead of the weekend:
Edin Rahic has at last left Bradford – can the Bantams now salvage something this season?
Some spirited displays against Peterborough showed that there is plenty of fight in David Hopkin’s side but Rahic has done a lot of damage during his short rein.
Julian Rhodes returns and has already implemented some positive changes but has a big job on his hands to return the Bantams to a side that will challenge at the top end of League One.
This season is now all about survival and you feel that there is enough about this squad to get them out of trouble especially with the addition of Paul Caddis and Karl Henry’s experienced heads.
January could be a big month but then again how many other teams will be saying that too?
Wally Downes has arrived at AFC Wimbledon – what impact are you expecting him to have?
I am not fully convinced appointing Wally Downes is the right move for AFC Wimbledon.
The man has not had much managerial experience and the situation at Wimbledon is looking increasingly desperate.
It may be he can reinvigorate the mentality in the dressing room and create that crazy gang feel of old which I suspect is the main reason the board opted to bring him in as manager.
His playing career was almost exclusively with the old Wimbledon during their amazing rise up the divisions. Downes made well over 200 appearances for the club and as they prepare to move back to their spiritual home at Plough Lane it will be fitting for someone so connected with their history to be involved.
Whether he can turn this team around and help them move clear of relegation remains to be seen but I am sure the majority of fans would love to see him succeed.
Accrington are currently bottom of the League One form table – a brief blip or a sign that their early form was the anomaly?
I think the recent form is more of a blip as recent performances have perhaps been better than results suggest.
In the last six they have faced Barnsley, Portsmouth, Coventry and Luton and Wycombe who are all doing very well.
The game they lost against Rochdale was a harsh result if performance data is any indicator.
Jon Coleman will not be panicking and realistically Stanley are still having an excellent season despite not winning in six in the league. I have no doubt that we will see them return to winning ways sooner rather than later though Sunderland at home this weekend will be a big challenge.
Lincoln City have stuttered of late and face a tricky game at Stevenage – should the Imps be concerned?
No, they have far too much quality to start worrying and frankly should have more points in recent matches than results suggest.
The FA Cup victory over Carlisle was far more like their old selves with goals scored from presentable chances and then a strong defensive showing to see the game out.
They should have beaten Mansfield comfortably in the 1-1 draw at Sincil Bank and will have left Boundary Park disappointed with a point considering they played so much of the game against 10 men.
I still think the Imps are the team to beat in League Two with only Milton Keynes able to shine a torch to their overall squad depth and quality.
I have no doubt that Danny Cowley will not be resting on his laurels and will get his squad back to winning consistently again starting with Stevenage at the weekend.
Joe Dunne has left Cambridge United – the right call by the U’s?
Yes, the U’s have been a shambles in the last few matches and Dunne has paid the price with his job.
The board will now have to back his successor if they are to push up the table as Dunne was not given the biggest budget to play with over the summer and it showed with a lack of recruitment in key positions.
The board of directors are well aware of the need for a new striker with the loss of Uche Ikpeazu leaving a massive hole in the attack.
Dunne may feel the decision to dismiss him was harsh but I think Cambridge needed a fresh approach.
One of the most eye-catching fixtures this weekend sees Bury host Exeter. With the Grecians’ recent form in mind, though, will this game be as close as the table would have you believe?
I honestly can’t see the Grecians getting much change out of Bury in this one.
The Shakers are on top form and have one of the most exciting forward lines in League Two.
Danny Mayor in particular is the man to watch. He has completed more dribbles than any player in the division by a mile and although this stat could be rather meaningless without context it does in fact show clearly Mayor’s ability to consistently beat his man.
On the other flank they have Nicky Adams and down the middle they have Nicky Maynard and Dom Telford all of whom are in great form.
Exeter have one of the best strikers in the division in Jayden Stockley and their recent games have seen them lose by fine margins but I am sure Matt Taylor would take a 1-0 ugly win any day to get back to winning ways.