One of the more unconventional statistics about Leicester’s first two League One opponents was that both MK Dons’ and Stockport’s promotions were due in part at least to very impressive away records. In both instances, the teams took more points on the road than in front of their home fans. MK Dons were the most extreme case, taking 17 more points away than at stadium:mk.
So how important has away form in League One been to teams chasing promotion to the Championship?
After City’s goalless draw at Stockport many fans consoled themselves with a cliché, if you win your home games and draw away, promotion is yours. Of course it isn’t really that simple and the Foxes will need more than away draws to secure promotion.
In the last four seasons;
- No team has been promoted automatically taking less than 30 points away from home.
- Only two teams have won less than 10 games on the road and gone straight up.
- All automatically promoted sides have at least a top 5 away record, more than half had the first or second best away form that season.
- The average number of away points taken by automatically promoted clubs from League One has been 38.
- The average number of away points taken by teams who’ve finished second is 33.
In the absence of good finishing, City failed to turn 1 point into 3 at Edgeley Park last weekend. It was certainly two away points dropped. What is clear from these numbers is that Leicester cannot rely on their home form alone, especially as teams will play a far more compressed game at the Walkers Stadium than on their own patch.
However, what these numbers also show is how rare it is for promoted sides to take more points on their travels. Of the eight sides automatically promoted since 2004 only one, Swansea City, has performed better away.
On the basis of these numbers the target for City should be a solid total of 10 away wins. Since the turn of the century only one team (AFC Bournemouth) has won 10 games away from home in this division and failed to make the play-offs.
Some better finishing on Saturday might have meant City only needed a further nine.