The race for the National League is certainly warming up as we reach the second half of the season. Not only is the accolade of being crowned champions up for grabs, but there is also the small matter of earning promotion to League Two.
For clubs at this level, entry into the Football League is undoubtedly the promised land and it is a journey that only two teams will be fortunate enough to complete. The Champions will take up one promotion slot, while the other will be granted to whoever wins the play-offs.
The play-offs are a lottery of which six teams will be buying a ticket and of course there can only be one winner, this route will be a last resort in terms of promotion as half a dozen clubs look to join whoever finishes top after an arduous 46 game season.
At present it is Leyton Orient that are top of the standings as the East London outfit look to make a return to league football, after suffering the ignominy of relegation back at the end of a disastrous 2016/17 season.
That was when the club was owned by the Italian businessman Francesco Becchetti and it was fair to say that it was a period of their history that will be quickly forgotten, now though things are looking a lot more promising under new ownership with promotion looking a real possibility.
Looking at the football bettingit is a feeling that they also share as they have Justin Edinburgh’s men as current favourites to win the National League at a price of 11/8. However, they are not the only horse in this particular race.
That’s because big spending Salford City are doing their very best to win this division at the first attempt, the Greater Manchester Club which is co-owned by former United stars such as the Neville Brothers and Paul Scholes have had a meteoric rise up through the Non-League over the past few years.
However, their end goal is ultimately reaching League Two and you do get the feeling that everything is in place for this dream to become a reality, with just a handful of points separating them and table toppers Orient at present then they cannot be ruled out of the title race.
A statement that may well apply to the likes of Solihull Moors and Wrexham also, although they may well have to settle for a place in the play-offs. For the former, like Salford they are looking to make their debut in the Football League.
While for the latter, the North Wales outfit are looking to end their 11-year exile from league status after suffering relegation to this level back in 2008. Something that shows just how hard it can be to get out of this division.
When considering the best of the rest, one should not forget the likes of AFC Flyde, Sutton United, Harrogate Town or Gateshead as they look to play a major role in who will be the two teams celebrating promotion in a few months’ time.
We don’t know yet who will be going up, but one for that is for sure is that their will be plenty of twists and turns before it is all said and done.