9-10 League Two Playoff Semi-Final First Leg


John Sheridan expects his Plymouth side to win the League Two play-offs.

The Pilgrims finished 13 points behind Wycombe, who they meet in the first leg of the semi-finals on Saturday night, but former Chesterfield boss Sheridan was bullish about his team's prospects of returning to League One after a four-season wait.

"I expect and am confident that we'll be the team who win it," Sheridan, who watched Argyle beat Wycombe 2-0 when the sides last met in February, told BBC Sport.

"I definitely think we're good enough to get out of the division. My aim was to get in the play-offs but now we're here I want more.

"All four managers will be saying they can get through. They won't be looking at who's finished higher, who's got more points or who won the last time they played each other, everyone's at an even keel."

While Plymouth secured the final play-off spot ahead of Luton, their opponents occupied a top-three position for almost the entire season only to fall away and miss out on automatic promotion by a single point.

Despite boasting the best away record in the division and having home advantage for the second leg next week, Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth views his side as the outsiders heading into the two-legged tie.

"We'll be the underdogs but we'll give it a right good go," he told Get Bucks. " This will be very tough for Wycombe Wanderers, a club of our size coming up against one of the best-supported clubs in the division.

"We've finished fourth and that's where we deserve to be. That's a fantastic achievement. We're batting so far above our average both on and off the pitch.

"The fact that we've travelled so well this season, though, does give us confidence. Our away form has been the backbone to our season."

Ainsworth will hope to be able to name Matt Ingram in his line-up for the 112th consecutive game, with the goalkeeper likely to shake off the injury that forced him out of last weekend's 3-2 win at Northampton.

Plymouth could recall their first choice strike pair for the home tie. Sheridan left out top scorer Reuben Reidagainst Shrewsbury so he could rest a foot injury while regular partner Lewis Alessandra was ill but the duo are likely to replace Ryan Brunt and Zak Ansah.

Plymouth v Wycombe

Wycombe have won their last three away trips to Plymouth, keeping a clean sheet in each game.

Plymouth last kept a clean sheet against the Chairboys at home in May 2003 (a run of six games).

The away side has won each of the last five between these two, with the home side failing to score.

Plymouth have featured in playoffs twice before, losing in the third tier semi-finals in 1993/94 and winning the fourth tier playoffs in 1995/96.

Wycombe won the fourth tier playoffs in 1993/94, but have fallen at the semi-final stage in their two most recent appearances (2005/06 and 2007/08).

Only Matt Tubbs (21) and Jamie Cureton (19) scored more goals in the regular season than Reuben Reid managed (18).

Wycombe's 84 points is the highest they've recorded in a Football League season. Only one side has failed to be promoted from this tier with that high a tally (MK Dons in 2006/07).

No player has recorded more assists than Bobby Reid in League Two this season (10). Wycombe's Paul Hayes also has 10.


Stevenage v Southend

Stevenage's 4-2 win over Southend in February was their first in all competitions over them (D1 L3).

Southend have never failed to score against Stevenage in those five previous meetings.

This is the third season in five that Stevenage have been involved in the playoffs. They were promoted from League Two in 2010/11 by beating Torquay, but lost in the League One playoff semi-final to Sheffield United the following season.

Southend haven't been promoted in the last three appearances in them (2007/08, 2011/12 and 2013/14), since their triumph in the fourth tier over Lincoln City in 2004/05, falling at the semi-final each time.

Stevenage scored more goals in the opening 15 minutes of the regular League Two season than any other side (12).

Phil Brown led Hull to Championship playoff success in 2007/08 over Bristol City, but lost to Burton in the semi-finals of the League Two playoffs last season.

Stevenage scored 32 times through their midfielders this season, a League Two-high.

Only once have Southend picked up more points from a league season (85 in 1990/91) than they have this campaign (84).

Barry Corr has scored in three of his four league appearances against Stevenage.

Category: Others

Written by: Eurosport

Date: 06:30 09 May, 2015