One more game for Cook as Chesterfield will beat Preston

Based on the way Preston played in the first leg of their League One play-off semi-final with Chesterfield, it is tough to justify backing them at odds-on to win the return encounter, even if it is taking place at Deepdale.

Simon Grayson’s men struck early through Jermaine Beckford and were then second best for virtually the remainder of the game, especially when put under heavy pressure after the interval.

However, they hung on to secure a 1-0 victory.

Further good news for Preston is that they were only beaten once on home soil throughout the whole of the 46-game regular season and they never once failed to score at home.

These figures show the height of the challenge facing Chesterfield in the second leg, but 10/3 does look a fair price that they are ahead at the end of normal time.

The general consensus is that Paul Cook will be leaving the Spireites at the end of the season, with a drop down to League Two to take over at underachieving Portsmouth looking the most likely destination.

His achievements to date at Chesterfield have been quietly impressive, winning League Two last season in his first full term at the club and then reaching the play-offs when avoiding relegation would have been regarded as a target achieved.

Theoretically then, this could be Cook’s last game in charge and bearing in mind his team will probably need to score two to win this, one goal across four games doesn’t inspire the utmost confidence.

Cook has already highlighted how key the first goal will be and Sam Clucas is the player that looks invitingly priced to give Chesterfield the lead in the lunchtime kick off.

Of his nine league goals this season, six have come in the opening half-hour of matches.

Preston can be backed at 5/6 for victory, while the draw that will also be enough to book their place in the final is on offer at 5/2.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.