19 May 2013

2013 League One Play-Off Final preview

Brentford's Marcello Trotta will be key - just don't get him to take a penalty!
A place in next season's Championship is up for grabs today as Brentford and Yeovil Town battle it out at Wembley in the League One Play-Off Final.

Brentford and Yeovil both had surprisingly impressive seasons, finishing 3rd and 4th respectively in the standings, and now two of League One's supposed lesser lights are just 90 minutes away from the second tier of English football.

Brentford could've clinched automatic promotion in the final minute of the final day, but Marcello Trotta missed a penalty before Doncaster Rovers launched a rapid counter-attack and scored at the other end to break the Bees' hearts. The Play-Off Semi Final also sent pulses racing, as the Londoners edged out Swindon Town on penalties.

This club has reached the play-offs six times, but they have never gone up via that route. In their last Final in 2002, they were beaten by Stoke City, who clinched promotion to Division 1 as a result.

If Uwe Rosler's men were to go a step further today, they would be in England's second tier for the first time since 1992/1993, when they went straight back down again. Since Rosler's arrival at the start of last season, the Griffin Park club has become more ambitious, and if they do reach the Championship, it could be the start of a golden period for them.

The German has no fresh injury concerns, although goalkeeper Richard Lee and left-back Scott Barron remain long-term absentees. Trotta is likely to keep his place up front alongside Harry Forrester, and they are just two of a number of promising youngsters on Brentford's books. Midfielder Adam Forshaw and defender Harlee Dean should also be watched closely.

Yeovil hotshot Paddy Madden, who cost £11,985,000 less than Fabio Borini.

Getting into the Championship would be a dream come true for Brentford, but even more so for Yeovil Town. The club from the West Country are hoping to complete just their 10th season as Football League members with promotion to the second division - a feat that seemed unimaginable when they were a Conference club renowned for causing FA Cup giant-killings.

Yeovil have actually come close before, in 2007, when they got all the way to the Final before falling prey to Blackpool. Until this season, that was their only experience of the play-offs.

Manager Gary Johnson, who led the Glovers into the Football League in 2003 and League One a couple of years later, returned in January and guided them to their best ever league finish.

Like his Bees counterpart, Johnson doesn't have to adjust his plans due to any new injuries. Defenders Dan Burn and Jamie McAllister have both struggled with injuries recently but should be fit. Yeovil will continue to look to the division's leading scorer - £15,000 bargain buy Paddy Madden - for goals, although it was actually midfielder Ed Upson who got them past Sheffield United in the Semi Final, and he'll be just as important.

This match will be a very tight affair, indeed I expect it to go into extra time at least, although Yeovil won both of the sides' league meetings this seasons and will fancy their chances a bit more. However, I've got a sneaky feeling that Brentford will make it third time lucky, and give Bees fan Natalie Sawyer even more to smile about tomorrow.

TDTR PREDICTS: Brentford 3-2 Yeovil Town (after extra time)

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