Football League Expert & Columnist
Brentford should secure a spot at Wembley by besting a 'destabilised' Swindon, says Peter Beagrie.
Last Updated: 02/05/13 11:31am
Doncaster and Bournemouth have already snared their places in next term's Championship - but there is still one berth up for grabs.
Brentford, Yeovil, Sheffield United and Swindon are the quartet of teams gunning for that spot after cementing places in the play-offs, which you can see live on Sky Sports.
Our Football League guru Peter Beagrie has studied the form guide and made his predictions for the two-legged ties, so read below to check out his thoughts.
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Sheffield United v Yeovil
First Leg: 7.30pm, Fri, Sky Sports 1 HD
Second Leg: 1pm, Mon, Sky Sports 1 HD
Sheffield United have struggled to score goals ever since they sold their premier striker Nick Blackman to Reading in the January transfer window, and his departure was the difference between them perhaps wrestling an automatic promotion place and limping into the top six.
The Blades are serial underachievers in the play-offs, stretching back to their days in the Championship version, and that is because they always lack men who can bundle the ball into the back of their opponents' net.
Last year, when they lost to Huddersfield on penalties in the final, they were without Richard Cresswell (injured), James Beattie (suspended) and Ched Evans (off-field issues) so the odds were stacked against them but memories of defeat will be hard to shed.
United drew 0-0 with Preston on the final day opf the season, but their play-off opponents, Yeovil, managed by Gary Johnson (pictured), were beaten 3-2 by relegated Bury and have stuttered into the postseason after a fantastic spell in the December-February period.
However, if the Glovers hit top form, the Blades had better watch out; Johnson's men love an away tie in the play-offs, as they showed when they thrashed Nottingham Forest 5-2 at The City Ground in the 2006/2007 season.
This is a hard clash to call, but I think United will struggle with their lack of firepower, so even though they are underdogs I think Yeovil, who have goals in them, will go through.
Brentford v Swindon
First Leg: 5pm, Sat, Sky Sports 2 HD
Second Leg: 4.15pm, Mon, Sky Sports 1 HD
When goalkeeper Jimmy Glass scored in the last seconds of the final game of the 1998/99 season to keep Carlisle in the Football League we thought we would never see the likes of it again.
However, last year in the Premier League, Sergio Aguero popped up when all appeared lost for Manchester City to land the North West outfit their first top-flight title in 44 years and break the hearts of neighbours Man United.
And then in the dying embers of the final match of the League One campaign on Saturday, Brentford missed a penalty to secure automatic promotion, watched Doncaster go up the other end and score and had to be content with a place in the play-offs.
You could now argue that it will be difficult for the Bees to regroup having got so close to a place in the Championship but I think they will be okay, because they are the best side in the play-offs and have a very inspirational manager in Uwe Rosler.
Uwe pays great attention to detail and I would expect him to come up with a formula to beat Swindon over two legs, whether that includes freshening up his side and playing guys that can counteract Swindon's threat from set pieces, or by adopting the usual passing approach.
As for Swindon, I think they have been destabilised by Paolo Di Canio's departure as he was such a motivator and undoubtedly had the respect of his players; he could not only tell his men what to do, but show them as well.
The Robins still did enough, through new manager Kevin MacDonald, to secure a play-off berth but suffered a horror result in their final regular season game, losing 3-1 to relegated Scunthorpe, and will need a swift response.
They have been irrepressible at times this term and if they are again they can defeat Brentford, but Swindon's high points have mostly come with Paolo barking orders out from the touchline.
Without the iconic Italian, I don't see them making it to Wembley.