The Championship play off final line up was concluded in midweek with Hull and Sheffield Wednesday set to do battle at Wembley later in the month. Now it’s the turn of the League One sides to fight it out for an appearance at the national stadium, with Barnsley and Millwall in the driving seat of their respective ties.
Barnsley made a mockery of league positions on Saturday when they put Wallsall to the sword with a comprehensive 3-0 victory. The Tykes had finished 6th, 10 points adrift of the Saddlers, but three goals in ten minutes either side of half-time gave them a commanding lead heading into Thursday’s second leg. It was a bitter blow for Wallsall who only missed out on automatic promotion by a single point, and they have it all to do back at the Bank’s stadium.
Millwall are the clear favourites to progress from the other semi final after beating Bradford 3-1 in an impressive display where they came from behind to earn victory. That puts them in pole position with the second leg at the Den to come on Friday night, as they look to bounce back to the Championship at the first time of asking.
Wallsall v Barnsley
They’ve been one of the best sides in the division over the course of the season, and were it not for the managerial shenanigans throughout the season, they may have already booked their place in the Championship. As circumstances have transpired, they now face another season in the third tier unless they can pull off the near-impossible on Friday night.
One thing is for sure though, and it’s that the Saddlers will throw everything in their armoury at Barnsley, who themselves will be happy to hang on to the lead that they have. Wallsall have had an excellent home record in recent weeks, winning four of the last five on home soil, with the only blip a 1-1 draw with Swindon. Barnsley did win here 3-1 in the league back in March, but that was an entirely different set of circumstances. This time around they are protecting a 3-0 lead so have no pressing need to go chasing the game.
The beauty of this bet is that if Wallsall can take a lead, Barnsley are highly unlikely to come out looking for an equalizer, but much more likely to continue to protect the lead. a one-goal or two-goal win for Wallsall will still see the Tykes progress but would be more than enough to land the odds.
Millwall v Bradford
One could follow the same route in the second semi final, but as the home side Millwall are tempting at +118 with Marathonbet
Bradford trail 3-1 after the first leg and will have to go to the Den in search of a at least a two-goal victory even to take it to extra-time. Had they been on home soil for this match they may well have been worth backing, but the Den is a very tough and intimidating place to go to try and get a result, and Millwall have already shown what they are capable of.
The Lions have won six consecutive home games, conceding just one goal in the process, and manager Neil Harris has already said there will be no room for complacency as they look to see the tie out. His side have hit winning form at just the right time though, and will be looking for an early goal to put the result beyond doubt.
Bradford only won 9 of their 23 away matches during the course of the regular season, and have only won 2 of the last 6 on the road in recent weeks. The 3-1 defeat on Sunday will have knocked the stuffing out of them to a degree, and although they must travel with hope, it’s hard to see them turning over the Lion’s on their own patch.
Wallsall to beat Barnsley
Thursday 19th May, 19:45 GMT
Millwall to beat Bradford
Friday 20th May, 19:45 GMT