I hope you’ll forgive me for concentrating at the bottom of the table on the penultimate weekend of the regular season, but as most of the issues at the top have been resolved it seems appropriate.
Incidentally, you might want to make a note of the playoff dates: the first legs will be on Saturday 10th May, with 6th v 3rd kicking off at 12:15pm and 5th v 4th at 5:15pm. I expect both games and the final will be shown on Sky Sports, but nothing has been confirmed at time of writing.
One of the remaining questions is who going to join Stevenage in League 2 next season. The bookies have Shrewsbury and Carlisle favourites to join them, but I’d hazard a guess and say any of the sides currently under 50 points might find themselves in trouble if they lose their next two games. With that in mind, two of the three games I’m looking at this weekend feature clubs that could still go down if results go against them.
Brentford v Colchester
The angle here is whether Colchester can spoil the Bees’ promotion party, but the visitors haven’t won at Griffin Park since New Year’s Eve 2005. I haven’t mentioned Colchester since the beginning of last month, but two wins in their last ten games doesn’t exactly inspire confidence for next season even if they avoid relegation. You can’t win games if you can’t score and since mid March the Us have failed to score in half their league games: to put it bluntly, goals from Jabo Ibehre and Freddie Sears have kept them out of trouble so far, but that may not be the case in 2014/15.
Leyton Orient v Tranmere
Rovers have spent most of the season between 17th and 22nd place but have been inconsistent side of bad rather than just plain awful and Ronnie Moore’s dismissal earlier this month might well have happened in any case. Orient almost seem to realise that their chances of automatic promotion had disappeared a few weeks ago but Russell Slade still sounds bullish and Tranmere might be on a hiding to nothing in this one. One relevant stat: there hasn’t been a draw between the sides at Brisbane Road since November 1986…
Shrewsbury v Peterborough
A big game for both sides: the hosts need to win to keep their slim chances of survival alive for one more game whilst Posh can secure the last playoff place if they win at Greenhous Meadow and Swindon lose at Notts County. The Shrews had looked as if they might have avoided relegation until a disastrous run of four consecutive defeats in January saw them drop into the bottom four and resulted in the resignation of club legend Graham Turner. I don’t think there’ll be a miracle ending: the Shrews haven’t won at any of the sides in the top half of the table so far this season and I can’t see Peterborough blowing such a big opportunity to reach the playoffs.
Next post is due next Friday but if anything noteworthy happens this weekend then I’ll try to update sometime on Sunday – I’ve got a weekend long birthday party to attend in Monmouthshire, so that might not be possible 🙂
Update: Shrewsbury lost at home to Peterborough, a result that confirms relegation for the Shrews and that Posh will be seeded sixth in the playoffs. We also know all three automatic promotion winners from League 2: Chesterfield, Rochdale and Scunthorpe.