Who will win the League 2 playoffs?

The League 2 playoffs will be very exciting this year and it is one of the toughest to call.

Burton Albion, Cheltenham Town, Northampton Town and Bradford City are all hoping to get through the semi finals and win the playoff final so they can be competing in League 1 next season. They will be hoping to join Gillingham, Rotherham United and Port Vale in getting promotion this year and now I will look at each team and give my verdict on who I think will go up. Each team could easily win it so it is quite difficult to choose.

Fourth place Burton Albion should be confident going into the playoffs as they were the closest to getting automatic promotion and have just beaten Gillingham 3-2. However, in recent weeks they did also lose 7-1 to Port Vale. I am surprised that they are actually in the playoffs because I expected them to struggle this season but they have proved me and many others wrong. One thing that has been impressive is the amount of goals they have scored, particularly at home. Jacques Maghoma has scored 15 league goals this year with Billy Kee and Calvin Zola also scoring double figures this year.

Next are another team that have a fantastic home record but for a completely different reason. Cheltenham may not score as many goals as their rivals but they certainly have a very good defensive record. They also have some good midfielders and I believe they have the ability to play at a much higher level. Marlon Pack is the standout player for me and has already played over 150 games in his club career even though he is only 22. Darren Carter and Jermaine McGlashan will also be key in these playoffs. The club are hoping to go one better than last year when they were beaten in the final.

Northampton Town are probably the most out of form team in the playoffs but that does not mean you can count them out. With a striker like Adebayo Akinfenwa they will also cause problems to any defence even though he is not in the greatest form himself. Getting a victory over Barnet on the final game of the season will also give the team confidence. They have a good manager in Aidy Boothroyd and I would like to see him managing higher up in the English leagues once again.

Bradford City will be hoping they can visit Wembley for the second time this season after getting to the League Cup Final earlier this year. Phil Parkinson has done a fantastic job and to get a promotion would be just a cap off an amazing season for the fans and the players. I do like their attacking players, especially Nahki Wells who has scored 18 goals in 39 league games. But they also have James Hanson who adds more than just goals to the side and he will be vital. I would like to see Bradford go up and get back to where they once were.

I think Bradford will beat Burton Albion and Cheltenham will beat Northampton in the semi finals. So the final will be against two teams that have lost at Wembley in the last year. But, I think this time Cheltenham will come out on top.

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Bury are relegated to League 2

Bury have been relegated from League 1 this season but there may be more problems on the way for the club.
Bury
Recently it was reported that they need another £1 million just to survive and this could be a real problem as it is a lot of money especially for a club that will be playing football in League 2 next season. They have only picked up 37 points from their 44 games this season but their victory over Scunthorpe United would have been a moral boosting performance for everyone involved with the club, most importantly the fans because they haven’t had much to shout about for a long time.

Their current manager is Kevin Blackwell and I was actually quite surprised when he took the job as I thought he might have been holding out for a job closer to the top of the league or even a lower positioned Championship club. It hasn’t all been his fault but only nine wins in 41 games is quite a poor record and maybe he owes it to the club to stay and try and get them promoted at the first time of asking. Blackwell has recently talked about Bury’s plight and does fear they could drop out of the Football League which isn’t the greatest thing to say but at least he is being honest with the supporters and letting them know how bad the situation is.
Kevin Blackwell
On the playing side of things obviously the players haven’t performed that well but there is still some good players at the club. Midfielder Stephen Schumacher is definitely someone that deserves praise as he has 10 goals this season which is a good haul but unfortunately he is their top scorer and that certainly isn’t good enough. So, you would have to point to the strikers and wonder what has happened this year, and there are some quite recognisable names in the squad with the most notable being David Healy. Healy has over 100 goals in club career and has 36 international goals so he clearly does have a lot of quality but it simply has not worked out for him and 1 goals in 19 appearances is very poor for someone that could have had the potential to have played at a much higher level. Craig Fagan is another player that during his career has played at a higher level and even though he may not have been prolific at any point, he should still have a better record than 1 goal in 10 games. Finally, Nicky Ajose is also at the club and unfortunately for him, he couldn’t recapture his form the last time he was at the club when he scored 13 goals in 28 games, this time only contributing 3 in 17.
David Healy
Obviously you cannot just blame the strikers as the midfielders haven’t chipped in and at the back at times they haven’t looked the greatest. It is going to be very tough for them now to get straight back up and may just want to concentrate on making sure the club stay alive.