The nerves will be frayed and the heart rates will crank up as the Sky Bet League 2 play-offs get started on Saturday with the first leg of both semi-finals taking place on a busy day in the division.
Exeter City, Notts County, Coventry City and Lincoln City will all be bidding to follow Accrington Stanley, Luton Town and Wycombe Wanderers into League 1 but only one of them will make it. Both first legs are on Sky so we can watch them both which will add to the drama I’m sure.
Lincoln City vs Exeter City
We get underway in the play-offs with seventh placed Lincoln City eyeing up a second trip to Wembley Stadium this season when they take on the side who finished the season fourth in Exeter City who will be wanting to go one better than last year when they fell at the final hurdle in this end of season lottery.
Lincoln have a very good cup pedigree over recent times. They were FA Cup quarter finalists last season and have won the Checkatrade Trophy this term and that might give them a bit of an advantage here but in fairness Exeter are no slouches when it comes to the play-offs and much of their side from 12 months ago are still in place and if anything they have strengthened in some areas.
I fancy both teams to score in this match. Lincoln won the league match at Sincil Bank 3-2 not long ago and since then both sides have struggled to keep clean sheets. While Lincoln are better at defending than Exeter, both teams like to throw the ball forward and get it in and around the opposition box and both have strikers capable of finishing chances. I don’t expect the 3-3 scoreline Exeter were involved in at this stage last season but both can find the net at some point.
Coventry City vs Notts County
With 4,000 travelling fans making their way to the Ricoh Arena there might actually be something resembling an atmosphere inside the place for once as Coventry City and Notts County embark on their two-legged affair with Wembley awaiting the winners of the tie.
If there is a big atmosphere and it intimidates the players then Notts County may well benefit from it because they were part of one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever come across at Meadow Lane last week. That said Coventry have been to places like Brighton this season so they know what it is all about.
Whichever angle I look at this semi-final from I just can’t see how it isn’t high scoring. I say that because Coventry have shipped 11 goals in their last three home matches if we ignore last week where nobody was going to score in that match if it lasted a decade given what was at stake. They did go and bang in six at Cheltenham the weekend before then. Notts County were also part of a 0-0 last weekend but they played some nice stuff but were exposed at times even by 10 men.
Coventry have Marc McNulty in belting form in front of goal while the Notts County front two of Jon Stead and Shola Ameobi are a handful for any defence. The goals should flow here and over 2.25 looks a pretty obvious play it must be said.
Back Lincoln City vs Exeter City – Both teams to score for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with William Hill
Back Coventry City vs Notts County – Over 2.25 goals for a 5/10 stake at 2.00 with BetVictor