Football News

English League Two Preview: Burton and Cheltenham host play-off semi-finals

Created on May. 01, 2013 10:29 AM EST

Burton Albion will hope to make home advantage count as they take on Bradford City in the first leg of the League Two play-off semi-final.

They head into the fixture on the back off a 3-2 victory against champions Gillingham on Saturday and boast the best home record in England this season.

A finish of fourth was the club's highest ever league finish and they will hope to play at the third-tier of English football for the first time in their history with victory in the play-offs.

Despite their solid home record Burton have struggled on their travels this season, losing 11 games away from home including a 7-1 drubbing at Port Vale in April which severely damaged their hopes of automatic promotion.

League Cup finalists Bradford enter the play-offs in terrific form, suffering just two defeats in their last 15 league matches.

Bradford will be looking to make a return to League One for the first time since 2007. They have struggled to maintain consistent promotion challenges in recent seasons and finished 18th in their last two campaigns.

Key centre-back Andrew Davies is suspended for the first-leg after receiving a red card against Cheltenham on Saturday.

Both fixtures in the regular league season finished 1-0 to the home side with the losers in both matches being reduced to 10 men.

In the other semi-final Cheltenham Town will host Northampton Town at Whaddon Road.

Cheltenham headed into their final-day fixture against Bradford with an outside chance of clinching automatic promotion, but a 0-0 draw coupled with Rotherham's victory against Aldershot means they will once again contest the play-offs after losing to Crewe Alexandra in last season's final.

They will be hoping to build on solid defensive displays after keeping three consecutive clean sheets and have suffered just one loss in their previous five matches.

Northampton will look to leading scorer Adebayo Akinfenwa to add to his 16 league goals while January signing Roy O'Donovan has scored in successive matches.

By the end of March Northampton occupied third place, but three straight defeats damaged their bid for automatic promotion.

Cheltenham defeated Northampton twice in the league this season including coming back from a 2-0 deficit at Sixfields in December but the visitors have plenty of experience with no less than eight players having played in play-off campaigns.

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