Championship Play Off Final
QPR will be looking to do a better job of holding on to their top flight status next season as they made their way back to the Premier League. Their ten men hung on at Wembley on Saturday, looking like they would have been relieved to get to a penalty shoot and take their chances there against Derby. However, a howler of a defensive mistake by the Rams at the death, allowed veteran striker Bobby Zamora to slot the ball into the back of the net and take a dramatic 1-0 win, which was a bit harsh on Steve McLaren’s derby side.
Bookmakers, thanks largely to the experienced squad that Harry Redknapp has at his disposal (15 players in their play off final squad had an accumulated 2088 Premier League games between them), are expecting the R’s to stay up. While they are facing a hefty fine for their financial miseries, it shouldn’t stop them adding to the squad over the summer, and building on what is a solid foundation. Rangers are odds on 1/3 to survive next season in the Premier League, while they have been priced up at 7/4 to have a shot at surviving in style with landing a top ten finish.
League One Play Off Final
As expected, the League One play off final between the two high scoring outfits, Leyton Orient and Rotherham was a goal fest. With the two sides inseparable at the end of extra time at 2-2, it was Rotherham who took the step up to the second tier of English football with a 4-3 penalty shoot out win. It was heartbreak for Orient, who had been looking comfortable with a 2-0 lead at half time. The comeback from the Millers sees them make their move back up to the Championship for the first time in nine years. Steve Evans’s men, one of the top scoring teams in League One are running at 14/1 to win promotion from the Championship next season, while they are in as short as 2/1 to take the drop back to League One, with only Blackpool shorter at 13/8.
League Two Play Off Final
Fleetwood, in what was their first taste of play off final football in the fourth tier of English football, secured a 1-0 win at Wembley over Burton Albion to move up to the third tier for the first time in their history. It was fantastic 30 yard free kick from Antoni Sarcevic, which settled the tie and the Fleetwood promotion train gathered more momentum. That was the sixth promotion in the last decade that they have celebrated, playing back in the North West Counties League just nine years ago. Now it is League One football next season for them, where they are trading at around 14/1 to gain promotion to the Championship. Graham Alexander’s men are now just two promotions away from the Premier League and what a remarkable story that would be. It is likely to be a season of consolidation for them in stepping up a level first, and they are hovering around the 13/2 mark to be relegated from League One next term.
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