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Sky Bet League 2: The race for automatic promotion

6 May 2016

The Sky Bet League 2 season comes to a close this Saturday, and three teams in particular are targeting one more memorable moment.

The title has been won, the relegation places have been filled, and three Play-Off places are taken. The seasons of Accrington Stanley, Oxford United and Bristol Rovers now come down to the final day.

Only two of that trio can secure an automatic place to Sky Bet League 1 next term, while one will take on AFC Wimbledon in the Play-Offs for the right to face either Portsmouth or Plymouth Argyle at Wembley in the final.

Whatever happens this weekend, it's been a remarkable season for all three clubs.

Accrington Stanley   

Accrington came into the season among the bookies' favourites for the drop. But John Coleman's troops have played some scintillating football and an 11-match unbeaten run has seen them climb to second.

Oxford United   

Under the guidance of Michael Appleton, Oxford have been among the front-runners throughout the season. The third-placed U's have produced a number of shocks in the FA Cup, Capital One Cup and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy – where they were eventual runners-up to Barnsley in Wembley’s final.

Bristol Rovers   

Then there's Bristol Rovers, who came up from the National League last season. The Gas stuttered as they reacquainted themselves to life in The Football League, but they have dropped just seven points from a possible 39 since March to leave them just a point adrift of the top three going into the final day.

The trio are all at home on Saturday. Three points for Accrington and Oxford send the pair up. Rovers must win, realistically, and hope for slip-ups elsewhere.

Sky Bet League 2 promotion race: Final Day fixtures

Accrington Stanley v Stevenage
Bristol Rovers v Dagenham & Redbridge
Oxford United v Wycombe Wanderers

Read more: State of play - the final weekend permutations

View from the dugout

Accrington Stanley boss John Coleman told the club's official website: “We have to guard against the fact that everyone is turning up to see us promoted and to party.

“I know it’s not a foregone conclusion that we will win and that’s what I will be drumming into the players.

“These players are on the verge of creating history and they know they will never get these 90 minutes back, so they have got to give their all and make the most of it.”

Oxford United’s Michael Appleton told Yellow Player: “We need one last big push. It's a big game but we go into it with the same processes that we've done all season. It's served us well for 45 games, let's hope it does for one more.

“Going into the last two games, to keep two clean sheets and win them both 2-0 is a credit to the players. If we get another clean sheet, you'd back us to score goals.”

Bristol Rovers manager Darrell Clarke told Gas Player: “What I keep saying is concentrate on our jobs. Do I think we're due a bit of luck? Yes I do, so we'll see what happens.

“Whatever the outcome, the players deserve massive credit. We're putting pride in that shirt. It'll be a full house at the Mem, we're looking forward to it, but we'll concentrate on our business and then see what happens elsewhere.”

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