Playoffs Preview- Skybet League Two

Following a season where the playoffs picture seemed to change with every goal scored moving into the final weeks, the fate of football God’s have thrown together potentially the closest, hardest to call semis of all three divisions

Build Up

There is virtually nothing between the sides.

Form wise none of them lost on the final day (only Exeter won). All four have only suffered on defeat in their last five games (If you extend this to six it is worth noting Coventry have lost to both Notts County and Lincoln). Coventry are on the longer unbeaten run – although that is only 2 games!

In terms of goals scored during the regular season Notts are way out in front with 71. All three of the other sides each scored 64.

Arguing Coventry have the tightest defence seems pointless too as although they conceded the fewest with 47, Lincoln and Notts only conceded one more, Exeter 54.

Lincoln v Exeter

During their two meetings so far this season the home side won both. Exeter got a 1-0 win, while Lincoln won 3-2.

A fan from each club was asked the following questions. At the end of their answers I predict what will happen.

1. How do you view making the playoffs? Over/under achievement or expected.
2. How do you rate your chances over 2 legs?
3. For the neutral who are your player(s) to watch?
4. And What danger men do you need to wary of to progress?
5. Who do you think will win the other semi?
6. How do you rate your chances of Promotion?

By @StaceyWestBlog

I think many expected we would do it, but nobody wanted to be so arrogant as to assume we would. After ten games it appeared the division was far tougher than we gave it credit for and as such, this is a huge achievement for our club.

Over two legs I’d rate us with as good a chance as any. Danny and Nicky are meticulous and methodical in their preparation and two matches against the same opponents means they’ll be going as in depth as they possibly can. Exeter are a good side though, it should be a cracker.

Much depends on how we play! Michael Bostwick is one you’ll notice straight away, he’s a towering presence in the middle of the park. We’ve not got one ‘outstanding’ talent so to speak, we have a functional team that work hard for each other. If he gets on, Harry Anderson could thrill a few.

With Paul Tisdale’s sides you know the threat comes from all over. Jayden Stockley gets mentioned plenty, but Hiram Boateng really impressed me in the league matches.

It’s going to be another close one. I fancy Coventry, they’re a slick side when they’re in full swing but Notts County can turn it on as well. It’s going to be exciting, any one of the four sides could be promoted.

25%. I can’t say any more or any less. All four sides are organised, have different threats and, on their day, can beat each other.

By Tom Vickery @TVickers1

1. It’s always a tough question when you finish so close to the automatic spot, but dropping points at home to Crawley and away to Stevenage resulted in us finishing 4 points off of 3rd spot, so it’s not as sickening as it could of been. Losing in the play off final last year to Blackpool, it would of been nice to have bounced back and finished in the top 3 but you can never moan at a play off spot.

2. The one team I wanted to avoid in the play offs if we got there was Lincoln, just always seemed to be edging towards them later on in the season. Coventry scoring 6 the other week which topped there goal difference and in the end was the difference in finishing 6th didn’t help the matter. We beat Lincoln in our first home game of the season 1-0 and even so early on they looked a good footballing side, a side that I thought might of struggled at first coming up from the non league but it just goes to show the team and belief they’ve got grabbing the last play off spot. We lost 3-2 there in March and I’ve got to admit I’ve not visited a ground with so much noise for some years, you could see just how much it meant to the players and management at the full time whistle, cuddling each other etc. If we’re going to get ourselves to Wembley I think we have to get a result at Sincil Bank on Saturday whether it be a 0-0, 1-1 or even better a fantastic away win!

3. Jayden Stockley has to be our main ‘man to watch’ scoring 24 goals in all competitions, he has been absolute vital in our ending postition. Fantastic in the air and leaves everything on the pitch.
Cristy Pym has been outstanding in goal this season and 6 out of the 10 awards at the end of season presentation speaks for itself, could play a huge part for us in the play offs.

4. Kyle Edwards on loan from West Brom has huge potential and is absolute lightening on the wing, as the seasons gone on I think he’s more of an impact player coming on and causing problems rather than starting and getting sussed out and getting frustrated! On his day he’s absolutely fantastic and would fit into anyone’s team.

5. I think it will be Coventry even though I thought when Nolan’s County came to St James Park they were the best footballing side I’ve seen all season, I just think their results have been a bit up and down and Coventry having the home advantage first will be the difference, a 2/3-0 home win on Saturday and I think the tie will be over!

6. I’ve always been so confident with the Grecians so going into the play offs it’s not going to change even though we’re facing a side I’d of loved to of avoided. It should be 2 absolute fantastic ties between us and Lincoln and I think people watching on tv and for the neutral they will thoroughly enjoy it, whilst I’ll be without any finger nails over the 2 legs. Let’s hope it’s another trip to Wembley and this time a successful trip! Up the City!

My Prediction: really tough to call. I am a big fan of what both have achieved and their style of play. Purely down to Luton and Wycombe gaining promotion , I think this could be Exeter’s year.

Coventry v Notts County

This Midlands Derby could be a cracker to watch. Again, during the season, the home side won the fixtures- 2-1 In Nottingham and 3-0 at The Ricoh.

By Ian Morris @ianmorris85

1) I see Coventry making the playoffs as an absolute minimum! I think following relegation from league 1 last season there was a level of expectation from not only our fan base but from the wider footballing community that we would bounce straight back, after all we are a ‘big club’. Unfortunately hindered by owners that refuse to invest has provided us with a stark realisation that this is a bloody tough league! Following a strong start to the season the rest of it has been a bit of a roller coaster that hasn’t always been enjoyable to ride!! Taking in to account the already fractured fan base i think failure to make the playoffs would have meant some extremely dark times ahead for our beloved club…

2) When Coventry turn up we are more than capable of beating any team in this league, no doubt about it! The 2 games against Notts County this season represent one of our best performances of the year as well as one of the many that ‘just got away’! I think given the names in the hat we got our preferred draw for many reasons – it is only an hour away, they have a big enough ground to allow a very strong following for us to become the ’12th man’ and most importantly we have proved we can beat them!! As stated earlier though it depends which Coventry team turns up and I am sure Mark Robins is rallying the troops as we speak!! Myself… I am very confident!

3) We have had many stand out performers this season. Deserving a mention for his heroics at the beginning of the season is Jody Jones who unfortunately succumbed to injury even more unfortunately for us has been out for the majority of the season (Watch out next year!) Back to the players on the team sheet I am going to keep this to 3:

A- McNulty (Sparky) who is our most potent goal threat and is only 3 off being the league top goal scorer

B- Bayliss – Forced his way in to the team due to injury and has been a main stay ever since, for me he is the play maker for us and is a great reader of the game

C- Willis – Coventry lad who is an animal in defence when on form, recently made the L2 team of the year and is one to watch.

4) Notts County obviously have some descent players, the league doesn’t lie! However, I feel the only thing we need to be scared of is ourselves… If the team I have watched at times this season turn up, with the correct mentality and belief then I do not have any concerns. We are a club that for a number of years has been in turmoil and this is our big chance to give some of the younger fans the chance to experience some success.

5) Exeter Vs Lincoln is a tough one to call and both have been somewhat surprise packages this season. I dont really have a reason for this other than my gut but my money is on Exeter…

6) The fact that I have put a sizeable amount of money on Coventry being promoted either means I am biased, deluded, confident or down right stupid! As i have mentioned a number of times during this blog we are more than capable of beating any team in this league and if we are lucky enough to get there also boast a very impressive record at Wembley 😉 I couldnt bring myself to predict that anyone other than us will be the ones celebrating come May 28th!!

By Ryan Raynor @Raynor1998

In my personal opinion if you had asked me this at the beginning of the season I would of said play offs would have been a massive over achievement especially judging by where we finished last year in the league. However come christmas I thought that play offs would have been an under achievement with how the first half of the season had gone. But overall I am happy with getting into the play offs.

Over 2 legs I feel pretty confident. Our away form isn’t brilliant but our home form has been very good this season.

Personally I feel that it will all depend how Coventry turn up as a few weeks back they lost 6-2 to Yeovil but then they also beat Grimsby 4-0 so I feel that we should be favorites to win it but it will all depend.

Personally I would say we have 3 players mainly to watch the first one obviously being Jorge Grant a tricky winger who can change a game. Scored a lot of goals this season for us and has been a massive asset in our push for play offs. Secondly I would say Jonathan Forte. He is a quick striker who likes to put himself about, isn’t afraid to get a shot away and very good with the ball at his feet. Finally I would say our center back Shaun Brisley, he has been solid this season with a lot of top performances and is very dangerous in the air from a set piece.

I feel that we need to be wary of Marc McNulty. He has scored 24 of Coventrys 64 goals in the league this season with 7 assists and 58% of his shots being on target I feel that he can could cause our defence a lot of issues.

Personally I feel that Linoln will edge the other semi although they didn’t finish as high in the table they have managed to score the same amount of goals as Exeter in the league but have conceded less than them.

I feel overall we should be favorites to do it. But it is the play offs and it will come down to who is more hungry.

My Prediction: I want to say Cov as I’ve been more impressed by them when I have seen them, but, recent losses to both Notts and Lincoln have to question the character of certain players and therefore I believe Notts County will qualify.

Good luck to all the sides.

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