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Match Previews

npower League 1 weekend preview

26 April 2013


It's the final day of the npower League 1 season on Saturday and the two contenders for the remaining automatic promotion spot meet at Griffin Park, where Brentford take on Doncaster Rovers.

Two points separate the second-placed Rovers and Brentford, who are third, so the permutations are simple; if the Bees win they will be in the Championship next season, but if Doncaster can avoid defeat it will be them guaranteed to be in the second tier next term.

The winner also has a shot at being named champions of the division when the full-time whistle is blown, with Rovers just one point behind current leaders Bournemouth and Brentford two further back.

Even without the promotion implications, it's sure to be a tight encounter as it's League 1's strongest home side hosting League 1's best travellers.

Brian Flynn's men missed the opportunity to secure an immediate return to the Championship last time out, losing 1-0 to Notts County, but striker Chris Brown is confident they have what it takes to get over the finishing line.

"We've got a lot of character in the changing room. We'll have a good week's training, refresh and we're going to go there and win the game," the 28-year-old told The Star.

"They [Brentford] are a good side, but so are we. We've gone to places equally as tough and won this season, and we're going to have to do it again."

The Bees also failed to win last weekend, drawing 1-1 with already-relegated Hartlepool United, which saw them miss the chance to close the gap on Rovers ahead of the promotion shoot-out.

Defender Harlee Dean believes all the pressure is on Doncaster, despite he and his team-mates needing all three points.

He told Hounslow Chronicle: "They [Doncaster] will be more worried than we are. It's a fortress for us at home, and with the fans behind us, they won't like it.

"We owe them one after they came from behind to beat us at their place, but we haven't really been talking about that game - we're fully focused on this one and going up.

"It's the last game and we're going to win it, we're all really positive. The Play-Offs were our aim at the start of the season and we've surpassed that - now we're one game away automatic promotion."


Scunthorpe United's fight against the drop has come down to the wire and they host Swindon Town needing nothing less than a win to have any hope of a last-day survival.

The Iron are in the final relegation spot, three points adrift of Colchester United in 20th, after picking up just seven points from their last 10 fixtures. Even with a win, Scunthorpe must hope Colchester lose against Carlisle United at Brunton Park and three goals are made up across the two games.

Manager Brian Laws wants the Iron's faithful to pack Glanford Park for the big match that will decide their fate.

He told the Scunthorpe Telegraph: "We have to galvanise ourselves for one more game, a game that could be the biggest in this club's recent history. I'm pleading with the supporters to help us for just one more time.

"It's not like we're talking about having to make up seven goals, it's three. We only have to score two if Colchester lose and they have got to lose for us to have a chance.

"I'm hoping Colchester have a dreadful week full of nerves and if they do, you never know what might happen.

"You can't second guess or predict what's going to happen - otherwise we'd all be doing the pools every week and be multi-millionaires."

Swindon Town secured their Play-Off involvement with a 3-0 triumph over Stevenage last weekend but their opponents in the semi-finals are yet to be decided.

The Robins can't face Sheffield United but, depending on results, will play either Yeovil Town or the loser from the match between Brentford and Doncaster for a place in the Wembley showdown.

Goalkeeper Wes Foderingham considers reaching the Play-Offs "a massive achievement" for Swindon after the tribulations of the campaign.

The former Fulham youngster told the Swindon Advertiser: "With everything that has happened this season I think we have done extremely well.

"If you'd said to me at the start of the season that we'd have got a Play-Off place I think I would have been reasonably happy with that.

"Then with what you've seen go on - with [Paolo] Di Canio leaving and being under embargo and finding it hard to bring in players - to find ourselves where we are now is a good achievement.

"It's been a difficult season but we've come through it really well. It's a massive achievement."


Bournemouth's remarkable rise from early season strugglers to league champions can be confirmed with a win against Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park.

Eddie Howe's men are in top spot, a point better off than Doncaster, heading into the final round of fixtures and their promotion was confirmed with last Saturday's 3-1 win against Carlisle United.

The Cherries opened the season with one victory from 13 games but, coinciding with Howe's return, they have gone on to drop points in only 11 matches since, which has put them on the brink of securing their first league title since 1987.

At the other end of the table, there is an important game for Colchester United, who travel to Carlisle. The U's have struggled to string a run of good results together this season and have won just one of their last six outings to leave their survival in the balance.

The task is simple for Colchester, though; avoid defeat and they are safe from the drop, but even if they fail to take a point only a Scunthorpe win would put them in danger.

Two other games that have something significant riding on them are Yeovil Town's trip to already-relegated Bury, and Sheffield United's home game against Preston North End. The Glovers and Blades have confirmed their respective places in the Play-Offs but where they will finish in the four spots, and who they face in the semi-finals, is still to be decided.

Elsewhere in the division, Oldham Athletic will hope to bounce back from a defeat to Shrewsbury Town when they face Leyton Orient. The Shrews, meanwhile, will want to build on that victory and go out on a positive note against Portsmouth.

Walsall put their 15-game unbeaten run on the line when they meet Crewe Alexandra, while Notts County, who beat Doncaster last time out, host Coventry City.

Rounding off this weekend's action, already-relegated Hartlepool United travel to the Broadfield Stadium to take on Crawley Town, and Milton Keynes Dons make the short trip east to face Stevenage at the Lamex Stadium.

Click here for all the weekend's action

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