King cracks whip in bid to make up lost ground

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The Independent Online

Bristol City's attempt to keep on the heels of Queen's Park Rangers in the Second Division promotion chase faces a tough examination at Swindon, whose players have been told by their manager, Andy King, that they will be out of the side on Monday if they fail to perform.

Bristol City's attempt to keep on the heels of Queen's Park Rangers in the Second Division promotion chase faces a tough examination at Swindon, whose players have been told by their manager, Andy King, that they will be out of the side on Monday if they fail to perform.

King, whose team have won nine of their last 10 at home, was stunned to see his charges crash to a 4-2 defeat at Peterborough last weekend. "It was our worst performance in a long, long time and I've told the players that if the performance is anything like it against Bristol City then a lot of them won't be playing against Luton on Monday," he said.

A win for Swindon would lift them to within three points of Danny Wilson's City, whose stuttering form has frustrated their fans. But after a 1-0 win over rivals QPR last Saturday, Wilson believes his side can still win the Second Division title.

"We're seven points behind Plymouth so they have got the advantage, but we've still got to play them," he said. "I've always thought that the race will go to the wire and I still think that."

Swindon will start with Sam Parkin and Tommy Mooney up front - with Rory Fallon having to wait for Monday's game with Luton for his chance.

Plymouth Argyle should consolidate their position at home to Wycombe, lying at the bottom of the table, and QPR will be favourites against Grimsby, but the Brighton manager Mark McGhee says his side will not give up on automatic promotion if they can win at Blackpool.

Bournemouth, promoted from the Third Division last season, have emerged as play-off candidates after suffering only two defeats in 15 matches but they face a difficult trip to Hartlepool, with whom they are level on points.

Defeat for Torquay United yesterday will have encouraged Keith Curle's belief that he can lead Mansfield to automatic promotion from the Third Division. The Stags, who travel to Darlington today, are just two points behind third-placed Huddersfield, whom they play at the beginning of next month.

"We are within touching distance of the automatic spots now. There have been some doubters along the way but I've never lost my belief," Curle said.

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