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Highest-placed teams to go head-to-head in Play-Off Finals for only third time in history

21 May 2015

For only the third time in the history of The Football League Play-Offs, the two highest-placed teams in each division have made it to the Final.

Usually so unpredictable, only in 1997/98 and 1999/2000 have the Play-Offs previously gone according to league standings.

On both of those occasions the teams finishing in the highest-placed spot generally fared better, with two of the sides going on to achieve promotion.

If history is to repeat itself again then that is a good omen for Norwich City, Preston North End and Wycombe Wanderers, as they were the top ranked teams who made it into the Play-Offs this year.

Overall results are also in the highest-placed team’s favour. Since The Football League introduced the format back in 1987, the team at the top of the standings in the regular league campaign has gone on to achieve promotion 38 per cent of the time.

STATS: #PlayOffs success by final league position

— The Football League (@football_league) May 18, 2015

That does not mean that Middlesbrough, Swindon Town and Southend United should give up hope, though.

They may have to beat the odds, but 21 per cent of teams in their position have gone on to get promoted before and they will be hoping to increase the percentage this weekend.

Follow The Sky Bet Football League Play-Offs on Twitter @football_league, on Facebook by searching The Football League and on Instagram @footballleague, using #PlayOffs.

All three Sky Bet Play-Off Final matches will be screened live by Sky Sports. Sports fans can watch all three games without a contract with NOW TV. A Sky Sports Week Pass gives access to all seven Sky Sports channels for seven straight days on a whole range of devices – all for just £10.99. Click here for full details.

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