WE are approaching the stage of the season where it seems like every other game is classed as a ‘six-pointer’.

A casual observer would not pick out fifth-placed Oxford United versus Bolton Wanderers, in tenth, as one of those matches, but dig a little deeper and it becomes more important.

The top nine teams in Sky Bet League One have started to break away and The Trotters appear most capable of gatecrashing the party.

A strong January transfer window has helped Bolton claim 16 points from their last six matches – no side has a better record in that period, not even runaway leaders Rotherham United.

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It means Bolton are only five points behind ninth-placed Ipswich Town and 11 short of United, with a game in hand on both.

Win on Saturday and the belief they can challenge for the top six will grow, but when you have that much ground to make up one defeat can do real damage.

That is why a United victory might not hugely affect their own promotion chances, but could knock a rival out of the race.

The same could be said of next weekend's trip to Charlton Athletic, although the 13th-placed Addicks probably have too much to do already.

Of course, it can all change very quickly – Portsmouth may think they have a glimmer of hope after results went their way in midweek, despite last Saturday's late defeat at the Kassam Stadium.

United showed us just last season that you can be a long way off with only a handful of games to go and still squeeze into the top six.

There will certainly be more twists and turns between now and the end of the campaign, but three points on Saturday would give the U's a double boost.