Fans back for the Play-Off’s.
On the eve of the Play-Off’s I took a look back at the L1 season previews** that I wrote before a ball was kicked. Not easy as the transfer window was still in full swing and knowing that the marathon of the season ahead will bring about copious managerial changes – 16 this season, although Wigan, Swindon and Bristol Rovers both ended the campaign on their third manager.
Incidentally Burton had the best turnaround after sacking a manager, a gain of eight places, we had a net gain of one place and the three teams that all fell short of the play-off’s all changed their manager in the run-in.
Anyway, back to my soft predictions, soft as my prediction is more of an advisory. Hull I wrote had kept together a good squad, but I think we were all impressed how Grant McCann turned them around. I added they needed a good start. They were never lower than 4th place.
Peterborough started as favourites, and I marked them down as top two, and after nine seasons Posh are back in The Championship.
My Play-Off’s possibilities (and I purposely never predict the Addicks’ fate) were Pompey, although I said that Jackett needed a good start (he didn’t), Ipswich, Blackpool, Sunderland, Fleetwood and Plymouth.
Oxford United I had as top 2 challengers, Lincoln I suggested top half.
My relegation certs were Bristol Rovers and Rochdale with AFC Wimbledon a distinct possibility.
Onto the L1 Play-Off’s then. Anything can happen, but I always feel that the team that carries the best form will be hard to beat. That team is Oxford with 5 wins in their last 6, although Blackpool are not far behind them winning each of their last 4.
Fans are being allowed back for the semi-finals with 4,000 expected at both legs of the Oxford v Blackpool games. They meet tomorrow night. Lincoln will have just over 3,000 for their home leg, Sunderland will be able to sell 10,000 tickets. That first leg is on Wednesday at Lincoln.
Each finalist will get just 4,000 tickets for Wembley and I think Karl Robinson’s side will go one better this year and win it.