Bristol Rovers will have to break a 10-year curse if they are to make an immediate Football League return when they take on Grimbsy at Wembley in the first play-off final of 2014/15.
It comes with the territory in these one-off ‘cup finals’ that form doesn’t enter the equation, however, the better t team over the season usually comes out on top.
In this case that has to be very slight 13/10 favourites Rovers. Relegated from League Two on the last day of last season the Pirates went within a whisker of claiming the title under the management of Darrell Clarke.
It wasn’t to be and Paul Hurst’s Grimsby won’t mind the tag of 19/10 underdogs, though the Mariners have suffered play-off defeats, albeit in the semis, over the past two campaigns.
There wasn’t all that between these sides during the regular season – five points and five goals difference separated second from third – though it was westcountry outfit who shaded over the two fixtures.
After drawing 0-0 at the Memorial Groud on the opening day of the season, Rovers scraped a 1-0 win on the east coast courtesy of a 67th Tom Lockyer strike on Valentine’s Day.
It could well be a tight affair once more with 0-0 half-time draw at 3/2 looking a fine wager.
Rovers boast the best defence in the Conference Premier and having only been breached once in the last six matches, there is plenty to admire about the 11/4 on the win to nil in the 90 minutes.
Having seen bitter rivals Bristol City return to the Championship in glorious fashion already, Rovers do not want to be left trailing their noisy neighbours by five whole divisions come Saturday evening.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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