Final Third Development League Digest
January has been a busy month for the Final Third Development League, with the Cup group stages drawing towards a close.
Leicester City continued their perfect start in Group A with a 5-0 victory at Port Vale to make it two wins from two. They're yet to concede in the competition whilst netting eight times at the other end. Doncaster Rovers also picked up three points with a 2-0 success over Shrewsbury Town in a game where Rovers duo Jamie McCombe and Paul Keegan made their return to action after injury. Leicester's development side lead the group with six points, Doncaster and Port Vale have three whilst the Shrews sit bottom on zero, with all teams having played two of their three games.
Mansfield Town have also enjoyed a 100% start to life in the Cup without conceding a goal, topping the five-team Group B on six points after a 2-0 win over Hartlepool United on Wednesday. Scunthorpe are second on four points having been involved in 12 goals during their two matches so far in January. They defeated Sheffield Wednesday 4-1 before a 5-2 loss at Hartlepool, in two games full of attacking football. That triumph over the Iron put the Pools into third place on three points, Wednesday are fourth also with one win, whilst Rotherham United are bottom following one draw and a defeat.
Tranmere Rovers were at the foot of Group C heading into 2014, but January has been an affluent month for the Birkenhead club's development side as they picked up victories against Carlisle United and Fleetwood. Despite that loss, the Cumbrians remain top with six points after a 2-0 win against Fleetwood, and they lead Tranmere on goal difference. Morecambe, Fleetwood and Wigan Athletic are all on three points.
The teams finishing first in each group qualify for the Semi-Finals, with the best runner-up from Group B or Group C also making the last four. Leicester are in a commanding position to progress with just one spot available from Group A, but the remaining three places are very much up for grabs over the other two groups.
No fixtures have been contested in the Final Third Development League West Division so far in 2014, ensuring Wigan remain top with 15 points from six games, level on points with Walsall but with a couple of games in hand.
In the East, Rotherham United picked up a 2-1 win at home to Scunthorpe United, sinking the Iron to the bottom of the table in a game that saw Wes Thomas score his first goal for Rotherham since signing from Bournemouth. Hull City sit top, four points clear of Mansfield Town who have played two games fewer.
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