This is how the foot of J2 looks currently:

18 Roasso Kumamoto 35 8 12 15 36 54 -18 36
19 Kataller Toyama 35 8 11 16 35 48 -13 35
20 Thespa Kusatsu Gunma 35 7 10 18 30 49 -19 31
21 FC Gifu 34 8 7 19 29 65 -36 31
22 Gainare Tottori 35 5 13 17 32 63 -31 28

And these are the games that matter this weekend…….

FC Gifu v Matsumoto Yamaga (4pm)

The marketing manager wants you to believe this is a “Kita-Alps” derby. It isn’t, but it doesn’t make this game any less important for either side. Yamaga are only 4 points back from JEF in the final play-off place, Gifu are only 3 in front of Gainare Tottori at the bottom.

Consadole Sapporo v Thespa Kusatsu Gunma (1pm)

Thespa won’t find this easy going as Consa still have a shot at the play-offs. Thespa have hit a rut at the worst possible time, losing their last four games and will need something special to turn it around in Hokkaido.

Gainare Tottori v Kyoto Sanga (1pm)

Sanga are bang in form and will fancy their chances at the Torigin Stadium. They have won their last four games, scoring nine goals in the process. They are spreading the goals around, but Shigeru Yokotani, one of my favourite players in the division, has come to the fore recently. Gainare are winless in thirteen games and look ripe for the taking this Sunday.

Kataller Toyama v Roasso Kumamoto (1pm)

Here we go! A bona-fide relegation “6 pointer”. Both teams come into this game after victories, Kataller’s was a highly impressive 4-1 win at Avispa Fukuoka in which Takuya Kokeguchi grabbed a hat-trick while Roasso beat play-off chasing Consadole Sapporo. Expect a feisty game as both teams know a win will take them that much closer to safety.

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