League Two Play-Offs Preview: Fleetwood, Burton eye Wembley
By Football News
Fleetwood Town and Burton Albion have a foot in League Two's play-off final ahead of their second legs with York City and Southend United.
Fleetwood welcome York to Highbury Stadium on Friday with a 1-0 aggregate following Monday's rearranged first leg, secured by former York winger Matty Blair's 50th-minute goal.
Blair who declined re-signing with York last close-season, scored twice at Wembley for his previous employers in the 2011-12 season as they secured FA Trophy and Conference play-off glory, and will hope his fine personal run at the national stadium can continue.
In a tie already laced with intrigue, Fleetwood manager Graham Alexander is wary of further twists to come.
He said after Monday's match: "We were really pleased with the performance and obviously the result.
"The play-offs have a history of throwing things up and we have to guard against that. We have to do it all again on Friday."
The Lancashire side were the highest-ranked team in the play-offs having finished fourth - five points ahead of their opponents - and were the division's second-highest goalscorers on home soil in the regular season.
Burton also hold the advantage going into their trip to Southend, having also won the first leg at the Pirelli Stadium 1-0.
Despite going down to 10 men, Adam McGurk's blistering strike gave Burton the advantage before half-time.
Manager Gary Rowett explained his side's shaky start to the match to BBC Radio Derby, claiming the prospect of a play-off final may have affected his charges.
"The goal was a fantastically worked goal, probably the first real bit of composure we showed," he said.
"Early on, I think the occasion made us a bit nervous and a bit edgy."
Southend will host this weekend's return leg, determined to repeat their play-off winning form of 2004-05, though defeat at the same post-season stage two seasons ago could cast a shadow over supporters' hopes.
Manager Phil Brown has also tasted play-off success, having taken Hull City to the Premier League in 2008, and the 54-year-old will hope to draw on all his experience to reach Wembley again.