Unpredictable from one week to the next, but points targets remain

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It’s reached that time in the season when games are coming thick and fast, when the Saturday-Tuesday sequence is in full swing and in the blink of an eye things can turn on their heads.

Teams who can stick a few favourable results together have seen a swift rise in fortunes as they sail out of one predicament and in to another with the breeze at their backs.

Walsall and Scunthorpe United have pulled away from the clutches of the relegation zone and in to calmer waters, but, not content with mid-table mediocrity, their sights are set a little higher.

Before Tuesday night’s games Scunthorpe were 11 places below Chesterfield in the table, but only five points behind. The league is tight and unpredictable, as those that witnessed Saturday’s defeat to Leyton Orient will testify.

Little more than a week ago the Spireites were camped in the play-offs, settled in fifth following a narrow win at neighbours Notts County and three points clear of Sheffield United in seventh.

Fast forward to today, three games have come and gone for Chesterfield and with it three defeats. Nigel Clough’s Blades have had the complete opposite of three wins and now occupy fifth.

The league might be unpredictable but there are some things that have remained over the past few seasons in English football’s third tier - the points targets for play-offs and survival.

Peterborough United finished sixth last season with a total of 74 points (2013/14), Swindon the year before them with 74 (2012/13) and Stevenage the year before them with 73 (2011/12).

And, at the other end of the table, Notts County finished one place above the bottom four with 50 points (2013/14), Colchester with 51 (2012/13) and Leyton Orient with 50 (2011/12).

Chesterfield, on 42 points and 15 games to play ahead of the trip to Rochdale, shouldn’t be looking over their shoulders but three points will certainly lift heads and have them looking upwards again.