DIVISION 2 PLAYOFF FINAL
STOCKPORT COUNTY - ROCHDALE
These two Lancashire neighbours have to make the long trip to Wembley on a Bank Holiday Monday, quite why this could not have been moved to Old Trafford is beyond me, but it will be a day to remember for both. I have a lot of time for Rochdale and many Brentford fans considered them the best side to have faced the mighty Bees this season. However, it is dangerous to put too much emphasis on one, or two performances and over the second half of the season, this young and talented County side, have proved themselves worthy of playing at a higher level and I am firmly in their camp.
We are already on them outright and have 3.50 about the odds on favourites, so no need for us to get involved any further. Let's just hope that they can do the business and get the new week off to a winning start. Team news wise, it is advantage County, with Dale missing two key players. The weather in the South East is dire, with torrential rain and high winds, this could make it a bit of a lottery, but Stockport are confident, as any side that has scored in an amazing 25 consecutive matches would be. Here is my original Division 2 playoff preview sent to subscribers early this month .......DIVISION 2
County, in almost a mirror image of last season, have sliced through Division 2 in the second half of the season, like a hot knife through butter. The only difference, is that this time round, they have kept it going until the end of the season.
It is not surprising, as ,Jim Gannon's very young, exciting team, have another year under their belts. They have an excellent crop of youthful players, that could take them a very long way, if the agents do not come calling, which of course, they will. For example, in Liam Dickinson, they have a 22yo striker, with an amazing 33 goals from just 57 full league starts, plus half as many substitute appearances. Following on from , an always difficult second season, after signing from a very low level club, he has terrorised defences this season and walked away with the POTY award.
Since Boxing Day, County have registered 17 wins, including a 6-0 home defeat of semi-final opponents Wycombe, a win which kick started their run to the play-offs and which almost earned an automatic promotion slot.
Aside from a very early season, heavy defeat at Darlington, they have collected 13 points, from the other five meetings against their playoff rivals. Over the second half of the season, well supported Stockport, have collected at least 10 points more than their rivals, a whopping 17 more than Darlington, who have been in freefall for many weeks.
6.5 points Stockport 3.50 general quote.