Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Match Previews

npower League 1 Play-Off semi-final first leg preview

3 May 2013


Play-Offs sees Yeovil Town make the trip to Bramall Lane on Friday night to meet Sheffield United.npower League 1The first instalment of this year's

A run of eight consecutive wins in the early part of 2013, along with only four defeats this calendar year, cemented their place among the Play-Off pack, and Gary Johnson's men only missed out on a place in the top two by six points.

It's a far cry from their 17th-placed finish last season, when they only avoided the drop into League 2 by 11 points after an end-of-season turnaround.

Midfielder Ed Upson says the Glovers fancy their chances of progressing to this year's Play-Off Final, particularly if they can keep the Blades out at Bramall Lane.

"We all know about them [Sheffield United] and what they are about," Upson told the Western Gazette. "They are a massive team and a massive club.

"If we can match them and bring them back here [to Huish Park] on Monday we know what we are like on our own turf and we're all positive about what we can do."

Sheffield United, meanwhile, started the season as one of the front runners but fell off the place and ended up finishing fifth, one place behind Yeovil, on 75 points.

The Blades opened the campaign with a 16-game unbeaten streak but found consistency difficult to come by in the following months - they have only managed to register back-to-back wins twice since November - and they ended the regular season with a four-game winless run.

United registered just eight wins at Bramall Lane all season - the lowest home win rate of the league's top nine teams - but defender Neill Collins believes their defensive work will give them the edge heading into Monday's second leg.

: "Playing at Bramall Lane can be quite intimidating, especially when there is so much on the game, like there will be on centre-back told

"Although we can't hide the fact we have struggled to score at home this season, the lads are confident we can head to Huish Park with a lead and then hopefully we can add another clean sheet to the 21 we achieved in the regular season."

For all the latest news on Sheffield United please click here

For all the latest news on Yeovil Town please click here


After failing to secure automatic promotion in the last minute of the regular season, Brentford must now turn their attentions to the Play-Offs and a semi-final first leg against Swindon Town at the County Ground at 5.20pm on Saturday.

The Bees won just two of their last seven league games and are without a win in three following Saturday's dramatic defeat at home to Doncaster Rovers.

But, interestingly, Brentford manager Uwe Rosler believes that last-gasp loss can help his team progress to the Final, against a Swindon team who they have already beaten twice this season - winning 1-0 at the County Ground in November and 2-1 at Griffin Park in March.

The 44-year-old told the Hounslow Chronicle: "A lot of people are writing us off now, but I don't see why. That [the Doncaster defeat] is a great motivational tool to use for the players. I've lived all my life to prove people wrong. My players have done that last year and again this time.

"We believe in the qualities we have. They have shown this season that they are capable of turning things around and playing under pressure."

Swindon, meanwhile, are in a similar vein of form having registered just two victories in their last eight outings. They lost 3-1 to relegated Scunthorpe United on the final day of the regular campaign.

Manager Kevin MacDonald, who took over at the County Ground in February, replacing Paolo Di Canio, insists his team are confident going into the Play-Offs, despite their poor form.

"I'm very excited," he told "Obviously for the football club it's great and this is a great chance for the players to show the fans how much it means to them.

"It also gives the fans a chance to get behind the players right from the start at Saturday's game and to push us all the way to the Final.

"The players are excited as well. They're quietly confident because that's the way they are but we're just concentrating on ourselves. If they can get the confidence in them and get the crowd behind them - that's going to be very important.

"They've been fantastic all season but especially the last couple of games. Even if things aren't going our way, keep going and drag the players through."

For all the latest news on Brentford please click here

For all the latest news on Swindon Town please click here

Advertisement block