HAVING watched most of the play-offs last week I have no hesitation in predicting that the pick of this weekend’s bunch will be the League One showdown between Town and Peterborough.
It’s a shame both can’t be promoted, but Brighton and Southampton were worthy front-runners and when you think the likes of Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton couldn’t even get into the top half of the table, it proves this was the most competitive League One season there has ever been.
The prize for the winners is enormous. Folk talk about the £90 million bonanza that’s coming the way of either Reading or Swansea for getting into the Premier League, but don’t underestimate the value of reaching the Championship either.
If Town make it they’ll be swapping Colchester, Yeovil and Exeter for Leeds, Middlesbrough and West Ham.
In economic terms the only consolation from still being in League One will be four lucrative matches with the Sheffield clubs, but there will still be a lot of long unprofitable trips to the likes of Wycombe and Bournemouth.
I was wrong last week when I suggested the second leg of the Bournemouth tie might be more cagey than the league meeting at the Galpharm in September.
Quite simply last week’s cracker was one of the best games I saw all season, played out by two teams committed to going for it with every single attack. It was breathtaking viewing for Sky who couldn’t believe their luck.
It was payback time for them with the Accrington v Stevenage stinker on Friday.
Incredibly Huddersfield and Peterborough have scored 235 goals between them, including 13 in the three cup and league meetings between the two clubs.
There will be key battles all over Old Trafford.
George Boyd gave the best individual performance I saw all season in a 6-0 thrashing of Carlisle, to counter-balance that I am always impressed by Gary Roberts – both deserve to play at a higher level.
Then there is 34-goal Craig Mackail-Smith whose forte is running at defenders and causing panic. Town have their own hit man in 22-goal Jordan Rhodes. The wide open spaces of Old Trafford should suit both.
Midfield supremacy will be key, and Grant McCann has found his niche seen leaving Scunthorpe for the Posh. Yet on his day the vastly experienced Kevin Kilbane can be just as influential. This all-Irish confrontation will be vital to the issue.
I’d like to see Swansea, Huddersfield and Torquay prevail in what is bound to be a dramatic finale to the league season.