A year after Yann Kermorgant's chipped, and failed, penalty miss, the play-off season is here again. Leicester City aren't involved this year but it is never the less an exciting time of the football calendar. They kicked off last night when Nottingham Forest managed to hold onto a draw against ten-man Swansea and they finish with the Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley on May 30th. Here are my predictions.
|Shrewsbury's Kevin McIntyre|
Shrewsbury Town were the fourth team in contention for the three automatic promotion places in League Two this season, missing out by one point and finishing six points ahead of fifth place Accrington. I can't see much further past them against three other only recently promoted teams in Accrington, Stevenage and Torquay who have all had very successful seasons in making the play-offs and deserve praise for those achievements.
|Huddersfield's Alan Lee scoring against Arsenal in the FA Cup|
Similarly to Shrewsbury in League Two, Huddersfield Town kept the pace with the two automatically promoted sides in League One. There are four strong teams in the League One Play-Offs (Peterborough, MK Dons and Bounremouth joining Town) but I think Huddersfield could shave it after their heroics in London against Arsenal in January. It would give me an extra Yorkshire team to visit next year with the traveling Foxes too which would be nice!
|Reading's Shane Long celebrates with team-mates|
Last season Reading staged a remarkable surge up the table at the end of the season but couldn't beat Blackpool to the sixth play-off position. This year they made their surge earlier and managed to stick in those four places, making them my favourites to win the tournament. I don't think Forest have it in them, Cardiff have bottled it after losing 2nd place and I don't know if Swansea quite have the squad depth to make it all the way.
We'll see what happens, I guess. I am a little disappointed that Leicester didn't make it but would much prefer to win the league outright next season......!