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STAND-in Sheffield United captain Michael Doyle is convinced the top five teams in League One are battling it out for the two automatic promotion spots.

The industrious midfielder thinks the title race will be contested between Charlton Athletic, United, Sheffield Wednesday, MK Dons and Huddersfield Town. Doyle reckons a two point average per game will be enough to take the Blades up.

Despite five straight league victories, Danny Wilson’s men remain seven points adrift of table-topping Charlton Athletic. Only surprise package Stevenage have beaten the Addicks this term but Doyle believes the leaders can be caught.

Speaking ahead of this afternoon’s meeting with Hartlepool United at Bramall Lane, he said: “Charlton have been on a good run since the start of the season and the pressure is on them to keep the results going.

“There are five teams chasing the top two spots and I don’t think much is going to change between now and the end of the season.

“It [the championship] is in Charlton’s hands but we would like to hope they will have a bit of a bad patch.”

Doyle added: “We are halfway through the season and no-one has let up. Everyone has been really close.

“We have to worry about ourselves and not anybody else’s results. If we get our results, everything else will look after itself.”

Shorn of the services of Richard Cresswell and Stephen Quinn due to suspension, Wilson is poised to recall Lee Williamson to midfield, switching Ryan Flynn to the left flank, while he is likely to pair Chris Porter with leading marksman Ched Evans. Fans’ favourite James Beattie, in his second spell at United, is set to be named on the substitutes’ bench.

Wilson, who is preparing to face his old club, said: “It is a loss not to have Richard and Stephen available because I think they are both playing very well but the lads who are on the fringes have got to throw a marker down. We play for the team cause and if the lads come in and do well then great and that’s another dilemma I will have the week after.”

n Ex-Blades forward Rob Hulse has been linked with a switch to Huddersfield. Terriers boss Lee Clark has stated he wants two new additions in the January transfer window.

n Gary Cahill, who had a loan spell at United three years ago, is set to join Chelsea next week.