Sky Bet League One play-offs: Second leg previews

Bradford take on Fleetwood

Nick Hext is going low on goals in the second leg of the Sky Bet League One play-off semi-final between Fleetwood and Bradford on Sunday.

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Recommended bet: League One play-offs


1pt under 1.5 goals in Fleetwood Town v Bradford City at 12/5 - only one goal in the first leg and should be tight again

Previously recommended: League One play-offs


2pts Scunthorpe to win the Sky Bet League One play-offs at 7/2

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Fleetwood Town v Bradford City (1830 BST, Sky Sports 3)


It is all to play for in the second legs of the Sky Bet League One play-off semi-finals on Sunday evening. 

A 77th minute header from Rory McArdle secured a 1-0 win for Bradford at home to Fleetwood on Thursday night and that goal sees the Bantams as long-odds on favourites in this tie to reach Wembley.

Bradford have been trimmed slightly in the outright odds as a result of that success but I'm still happy to have Scunthorpe, who face Millwall in the other semi-final, as my selection for promotion at a bigger price.

I expect the Bantams to just about get the job done at Highbury but it will be another nervy encounter.

There's 12/5 available for under 1.5 goals to be scored and that's my best bet for the game.

Seven of Fleetwood's last 11 matches have contained one goal or less, including three 0-0 draws, and I'm sure that Bradford will be confident of repelling the Cod Army's attack.

I will back away from the option of no goalscorer as Fleetwood will have to push forward in the final stages if this tie remains in Bradford's favour.

That will lead to plenty of opportunities for late goals, one of which I can see Bradford taking to confirm their place in the Sky Bet League One play-off final.

Prediction: Fleetwood Town 0-1 Bradford City

Opta facts:

Fleetwood have scored only one goal in their last four home games after netting seven in the three before this run. Bradford, meanwhile, have only won one of their last five away games (D2 L2). 

The Cod Army’s only win in their nine previous matches against Bradford came at Highbury in League One earlier this season, a 2-1 win in February (D3 L5).  

The Bantams haven’t lost any of their last three second leg play-off matches (W2 D1), last losing in 1988 against Middlesbrough. Fleetwood’s four previous play-off matches have yielded just three goals (two goals for, one against). 

Uwe Rosler has never won a play-off match (D3 L3), though he reached the 2013 League One final with Brentford after overcoming Swindon on penalties in the semi-final after a 4-4 aggregate draw. 

Should the Cod Army fail to overcome their one-goal first leg deficit, it would the first time since 2010 that the side finishing fourth in League One has failed to reach the play-off final. 

Indeed, 2010 is the last time a side finishing fifth in League One reached the play-off final, with Swindon Town doing so; they lost 1-0 to Millwall in the final. 

Bradford have scored in each of their last eight play-off matches (16 goals) since a 2-0 defeat to Blackpool in 1996.    

Scunthorpe United v Millwall (1830 BST, Sky Sports 1)


It's even closer in the other Sky Bet League One play-off semi-final between Scunthorpe and Millwall. 

There were no goals in the opening encounter between the Lions and the Iron at The Den but it was the hosts who had the better of proceedings. 

Lee Gregory missed the best chance of the match for Millwall but Scunthorpe defended stoutly and were comfortable enough in returning to Glanford Park with the tie level. 

I backed Scunthorpe at 7/2 for play-off glory before the opening game and I see no reason to change my view after Thursday's encounter. 

Graham Alexander's side have a doubt over captain Stephen Dawson for Sunday's game but I think they are strong enough to book their place at Wembley. 

Scunthorpe ended the season with six wins in a row which consigned memories of their major blip in February and March to the bin. 

They've won all of their last five home games and Millwall didn't produce when the pressure was on during the final stages of the campaign. 

The Lions were beaten by both Fleetwood and Oxford, with rivals Southend also losing to fail to take advantage, before finally scraping over the line to finish sixth with a 4-3 win at Bristol Rovers on the final day of the season. 

Millwall led 2-0 and 3-1 in that match before Rovers pulled level at 3-3 to make the Lions very nervous prior to Shaun Hutchinson's late winner. 

I expect there to be more action in this clash than the other return leg but my vote remains with Scunthorpe.  

Prediction: Scunthorpe United 2-1 Millwall

Opta facts:

Millwall have failed to score in four of their last five matches with Scunthorpe (W1 D2 L2).  

Millwall have lost eight of their last 13 league matches against Scunthorpe, including the 2009 play-off final (W3 D2).  

Scunthorpe have won each of their last five league games at home, racking up 12 goals. In fact, only League One Champions Sheffield United (54) collected more points at home in the regular season than the Iron (48). 

The Lions have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last seven league away trips, conceding 12 goals. 

Scunthorpe have drawn all three of their previous League One play-off semi-finals, reaching the final on penalties against MK Dons in their last campaign in 2008-09. 

Millwall have reached the final in each of their last three play-off campaigns, with the London side not tasting defeat in their last seven play-off semi-final games (W3 D4).

Posted at 1420 BST on 05/05/17.   

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