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Which Trio of Football League teams will experience Playoff Glory?


For teams in the football league, this coming Bank Holiday weekend will be the defining moment for at least three teams. For three others, it will be a weekend of heartbreak where all their efforts after a 46-game season, plus three nervy post-season playoff games, comes to naught and they begin next season back in the same division.

It is Playoff weekend in the Football League and all three games take place at Wembley Stadium starting at 5pm on Saturday with the £170 million Championship Playoff game between Aston Villa and Fulham. Then on Sunday at 3pm, Rotherham United and Shrewsbury Town will battle it out for a place in the Championship next season in the League One Playoff Final.

The action culminates on Bank Holiday Monday as Coventry City take on Exeter City in the League Two Playoff Final (another 3pm kickoff) with both teams hoping that they can win the game to start next season in League One.

Of course, such a trio of big games (and we’ve not forgotten the Champions League final either, we’ll bring you a special article on that huge clash later this week) attracts plenty of betting and there’s no better place to enjoy that than with Coral Sport. You can sign up using any Coral signup offer to get your account with the company, which will then allow you to bet freely on Sports too. Check out the great value £10 free no deposit bonus currently available with Coral Vegas for mobile customers. Alternatively, Coral Sport always have a great value starter bonus available too, which is currently £20 worth of bets when you place your first bet of £5 with the company.

Once you are signed up you are ready to enjoy plenty of great sports betting not just this weekend, but across the summer and into the future with Coral. So why not start with a flutter on the Playoff Games this weekend and to help you, we’ve previewed each game and bring you our top tips for how we feel each one will finish.

Championship Playoff Final – Preview & Tips

Aston Villa v Fulham

How Aston Villa Reached the Final

League Performance

  • Played – 46
  • Points – 83
  • Goals For – 72
  • Goals Against – 42
  • Goal Difference – +30
  • Final Position – 4th

Playoff Semi Finals

  • 1st Leg – Middlesbrough 0-1 Aston Villa (Jedinak 15)
  • 2nd Leg – Aston Villa 0-0 Middlesbrough – Aggregate 1-0

Probable Aston Villa Line Up – Johnstone, El Mohamedy, Chester, Terry, Hutton, Jedinak, Snodgrass, Hourihane, Grealish, Adomah, Grabban

How Fulham Reached the Final

League Performance

  • Played – 46
  • Points – 79
  • Goals For – 79
  • Goals Against – 46
  • Goal Difference – +33
  • Final Position – 3rd

Playoff Semi Finals

  • 1st Leg – Derby County 1-0 Fulham (Jerome 34)
  • 2nd Leg – Fulham 2-0 Derby County (Sessegnon 48, Odoi 66) – Aggregate 2-1

Probable Fulham Line Up – Bettinelli, Fredericks, Odoi, Ream, Targett, Cairney, McDonald, Johansen, Kamara, Mitrovic, Sessegnon

Match Analysis & Tip

The richest game in football, with an estimated £170 million windfall awaiting the team that makes it into the Premier League, the Championship Playoff is as much about being able to control the nerves that come with the occasion, as well as playing your own game to come out on top.

The teams defeated each other at home in the regular season, Villa winning 2-1 at Villa Park in October, while Fulham defeated the Villains 2-0 at Craven Cottage back in February.

For me, in such a big game, I think that experience is the key and for me Villa have the edge here. They have players like Jack Grealish, John Terry and Robert Snodgrass who have all got plenty of top flight experience and a manager in Steve Bruce who has won numerous playoff finals in the past.

Fulham lack that experience but they do have youth and pace throughout their side and while I think that can be a benefit, especially on a big Wembley pitch, I just think their lack of experience could be the deciding factor here.

This will be close, so I am backing a draw here after 90 minutes, but Aston Villa to perhaps sneak the win in extra time, or on penalties.

My Tip – Draw – 21/10 with Coral

League One Playoff Final; – Preview & Tips

Rotherham United v Shrewsbury Town

How Rotherham Reached the Final

League Performance

  • Played – 46
  • Points – 79
  • Goals For – 73
  • Goals Against – 53
  • Goal Difference – +20
  • Final Position – 4th

Playoff Semi Finals

  • 1st Leg – Scunthorpe 2-2 Rotherham (Ikiekwe og 18, McGeehan 88) (Taylor 17, Newell 64)
  • 2nd Leg – Rotherham 2-0 Scunthorpe (Wood 45, Vaulks 63) – Aggregate 4-2

Probable Rotherham Line Up – Rodak, Emmanuel, Mattock, Ihiekwe, Wood, Palmer, Williams, Towell, Vaulks, Newell, Smith

How Shrewsbury Reached the Final

League Performance

  • Played – 46
  • Points – 87
  • Goals For – 60
  • Goals Against – 39
  • Goal Difference – +21
  • Final Position – 3rd

Playoff Semi Finals

  • 1st Leg – Charlton 0-1 Shrewsbury (Nolan 80)
  • 2nd Leg – Shrewsbury 1-0 Charlton (Morris 58) – Aggregate 2-0

Probable Shrewsbury Line Up – Henderson, Bolton, Beckles, Sadler, Nsiala, Whalley, Morris, Godfrey, Rodman, Nolan, Morris.

Match Analysis & Tip

I think Shrewsbury and Rotherham are two very different sides and it will be intriguing to see which out of the two different approaches adopted by the teams ends up being the one to send the team into the Championship at the end of the game.

Rotherham are very much an attack-minded side, they score plenty of goals (only Blackburn and Wigan Athletic scored more in League One this season) but they also concede plenty too. That was fairly self-evident in their 4-2 aggregate semi-final victory over Scunthorpe.

In contrast, Shrewsbury are a much tighter team and they concede far fewer goals but also don’t score as many too. They are also very adept at hitting teams on the counter attack and soaking up pressure, as they did for spells against Charlton, especially in the first leg at The Valley.

In my view, when two teams like this meet, I always feel it tends to be the better defensive side that come out on top and also that the first goal is usually crucial in these games. I am backing Shrewsbury to get that here and if they do, I believe that may be enough to take them into the Championship

My Tip – Shrewsbury to win – 2/1 with Coral

League Two Playoff Final – Preview & Tips

Coventry City v Exeter City

How Coventry Reached the Final

League Performance

  • Played – 46
  • Points – 75
  • Goals For – 64
  • Goals Against – 47
  • Goal Difference – +17
  • Final Position – 6th

Playoff Semi Finals

  • 1st Leg – Coventry 1-1 Notts Co (McNulty 87 pen) (Forte 49)
  • 2nd Leg – Notts Co 1-4 Coventry (Grant 44) (Biamou 6,71, McNulty 37, Bayliss 85) – 5-2 aggregate

Probable Coventry Line Up – Burge, Grimmer, Willis, Hyam, Stokes, Bayliss, Kelly, Doyle, Shipley, McNulty, Biamou

How Exeter Reached the Final

League Performance

  • Played – 46
  • Points – 80
  • Goals For – 64
  • Goals Against – 54
  • Goal Difference – +10
  • Final Position – 4th

Playoff Semi Finals

  • 1st Leg – Lincoln City 0-0 Exeter City
  • 2nd Leg – Exeter City 3-1 Lincoln City (Stockley 27, Boateng 47, Harley 69) (Green 78) – Aggregate 3-1

Probable Exeter Line Up – Pym, Sweeney, Storey, Moore-Taylor, Moxey, Taylor, Tillson, Boateng, Harley, Simpson, Stockley

Match Analysis & Tip

These two teams each shared a win apiece when they met in the League Two regular season, Coventry winning 2-0 at the Ricoh Arena back in September and then Exeter gaining a 1-0 win at St James’ Park back in January.

In truth, this is a game where I feel there is very little difference between either of the teams. Coventry have impressed me going forward and their attacking duo of McNulty and Biamou look very dangerous.

Exeter though have some very talented midfielders who will certainly find the lush, flat green turf of Wembley entirely preferable to the somewhat cut-up pitch at St James Park at the moment. Two of those midfielders, Boateng and Harley, scored beautiful goals in their second leg semi-final win over Lincoln.

Both Exeter and Coventry also benefitted from some rather fortunate refereeing decisions in their semi-final wins and I think the differences between the sides are tiny. However, I think that the Sky Blues better attack will just about be the difference between the teams.

My Tip – Coventry City to win – 6/4 with Coral Sport.