League One play-off final preview

Date published: Friday 22nd May 2015 12:02

A crowd above 50,000 is expected in the national stadium to witness which club can hold their nerve as a hard-fought season of 48 games comes down to one match.

This is Preston’s 10th play-off campaign – more than any other side in play-off history – but they have failed to win promotion in any of the previous nine.

By contrast, Swindon have won three of their four appearances in a play-off final – against Gillingham after a replay in 1987, Sunderland in 1990 and in 1993 against Leicester. 

Preston recovered well from missing out on automatic promotion by two points on the final day of the season to dispatch Chesterfield 4-0 on aggregate in the semi-final.

They finished 10 points ahead of Swindon in the table, who came through an epic tie against Sheffield United, prevailing 7-6 on aggregate after a crazy second-leg finished 5-5.

Preston manager Simon Grayson has a fully fit squad to choose from with key man Paul Gallagher recovering quickly from a foot injury sustained in the second leg at Deepdale.

Callum Robinson has returned to Aston Villa after the end of his youth loan, but fellow loanees Sam Johnstone and Jermaine Beckford, who scored three of Preston’s four goals in the semi-final, all have been cleared to play by their parent clubs.

Swindon boss Mark Cooper also has no injury worries with top scorer Andy Williams expected to be able to feature despite suffering a muscle tear.

Betting

The bookmakers make Preston 11/10 favourites to run out victorious at Wembley in 90 minutes while Swindon, who beat Preston 1-0 at home in November, are 12/5 for the win.

Beckford is likely to be very popular in the first goalscorer market and he can be backed at 11/2 to fire first while his strike partner Joe Garner, who has 27 goals this campaign, has been well supported to score in 90 minutes at 5/4.

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