The playoffs are back and four fourth tier clubs will battle it out for a place in the final at Wembley. Both exciting and nerve-wracking times lie ahead for the fans of the respective clubs with a lot at stake to play for. In terms of EFL League Two playoff odds, Stockport County are the early favourites to go up but the beauty of knockout football is that everyone will fancy their chances of progressing which adds to the intrigue.
The Hatters will be taking on North West rivals Salford City over two legs, starting with an away trip to the Peninsula Stadium before taking the tie to a packed-out Edgeley Park, so this derby clash promises to be special, and have plenty of goals in it too with the quality attacking options both clubs possess.
Meanwhile, Carlisle United and Bradford City will be locking horns in the other clash as they both look to claw themselves into League One after impressive campaigns. Kristian Dennis has scored 21 goals this term for the Cumbrians, whilst Andy Cook has fired in 28 for the Bantams, so both will be looking to stamp their mark on the playoffs now.
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How do the League Two Play-Offs work?
Stockport will face Salford over two legs and Carlisle and Bradford will do the same. The aggregate scores of these two-legged ties will determine who reaches the final at Wembley. That winner of that game will gain promotion to League One.
Away goals don’t count and whether you play at home first or not depends on who finished higher in the overall League Two table. This has an effect on the EFL League Two playoff odds as it usually gives the side who plays on their own patch in the second leg a slight advantage, in this case Stockport and Bradford, as they will be playing in front of their own fans.
It is worth taking into account though that teams can get exhausted by this stage of the season as they have already played over 46 games in all competitions, although with all four teams fighting until the last game of the season for their play-off spot, or to try and sneak into the automatic promotion positions, this should be felt relatively evenly by all.
What’s the League Two Play-Off schedule?
Play-Off Semi-Final 1 (1st Leg)
Salford City v Stockport County
Play-Off Semi-Final 2 (1st Leg)
Bradford City v Carlisle United
Play-Off Semi-Final 1 (2nd Leg)
Sheffield Wednesday v Peterborough United
Play-Off Semi-Final 2 (2nd Leg)
Barnsley v Bolton Wanderers
TBC v TBC
League Two Play-Off Semi-Finals 2023
Semi-finals are usually cagey affairs as players are desperate not to make mistakes which means clubs usually shut up shop at the back. Bookings are also at a premium as nobody wants to miss out on the chance to play in the final.
In regards to EFL League Two playoff odds, Salford have seen their form at the Peninsula Stadium stutter recently and they have won only one of their last four on their own patch, with Leyton Orient and lowly Colchester United managing to pick up wins there.
The Ammies have stuttered over the line into the top seven and finished above 8th position Mansfield Town by a single goal in the end. Stockport, on the other hand, would have won the league by seven points if the season started on New Year’s Day.
They have been on a roll over recent months and have lost just once in their last 20 outings which was away at Barrow which shows how tough of a side they are to beat and players such as Isaac Olaofe, Paddy Madden and Jack Stretton are worth keeping an eye on in terms of scoring goals with Kyle Wootton out injured. We expect Stockport County to progress here.
Bradford have only lost twice in their last 16 league outings so are heading into their next two clashes in good spirits and they are proving to be a tough side to break down. They have the league’s most prolific striker too in Andy Cook.
Carlisle have won just one of their last six league games and two in their last 11, four of which have been 0-0 draws, so this suggests that the campaign may be catching up with them now. We predict Bradford City will be the side to advance to the final at Wembley.
League Two Play-Off Final 2023
With over a week between the semi-final second legs and the final at Wembley, both sides should be well-rested and as prepared as they can be ahead of the big game.
Play-Off finals tend to be cagey, tactical affairs with neither side wanting to break their shape and give up the first goal, which more often than not proves to be crucial.
Stockport are favourites for promotion by a decent margin, but with all four teams sitting at 4.50 or less to be promoted, the bookies are well aware that this is an incredibly tough one to call.
Salford look to have the toughest route, with the other three teams all having looked like they may be going up automatically at points during the season.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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