Meet the Blackpool & Exeter stars who can define League Two final
Some of League Two’s brightest talents will be on show at Wembley on Saturday, as Blackpool face Exeter City in the play-off Final.
So, with that in mind, we’re rounding down the men who could make the difference in what promises to be a thrilling showpiece.
The Tangerines enjoyed the joint-third best defensive record during the regular season, and a huge part of that was down to star keeper Slocombe, who kept 13 clean sheets in his 34 outings, conceding less than a goal per game in the process.
An extremely agile shot stopper, he’s also something of a penalty specialist – having kept out multiple spot-kicks this term, including a superb save en route to victory over Newport in November. If Saturday’s game goes beyond extra time, we know who we’ll be fancying…
Blackpool’s midfield magician has already caused Exeter headaches this term. He netted a clinical strike in the pair’s 2-2 draw at St James’ Park back in February. That’s one of 10 goals he’s registered this season, with the Hexham native possessing a stinging strike and a keen eye for goal.
However, the biggest factor in his game is still chance creation. The 22-year-old’s range of passing is second-to-none at this level, and Exeter’s midfield need to be at their best to stop him from running the game.
It might seem strange to include a striker who’s spent a fair chunk of this season on the bench in a list of key performers. But Cullen’s recent form is very much on his side, when it comes to making an impact at Wembley on Sunday.
The striker had scored just three times by the end of February, but more game-time has suddenly seen him kick into gear, with the fleet-footed forward scoring nine times since.
Having netted an absolute worldie amidst a first-leg hat-trick against former club Luton Town in the semis, he’s absolutely at the top of his game right now.
He may not be the tallest of centre-backs, but what the 23-year-old lacks in height, he more than makes up for in his intelligent reading of the game, firm-but-fair challenges and composure on the ball.
The local lad started 42 of the Grecians’ 46 regular-season games, and despite not having a regular centre-half partner, he impressed whoever Paul Tisdale paired him alongside. The fact he chipped in with five goals and captained the side in a Devon derby cements his importance to the side, and with it, his spot on this list.
Midfielder Wheeler has taken an enormous step up this season. After three decent but unspectacular seasons following his 2013 move from Staines Town, he’s been an absolute revelation this term.
He’s scored 18 times in League Two, including 13 since the start of 2017. But as well as his fine long-range finishing, the Exeter ace has set up eight goals, and linked up brilliantly with the likes of Reuben Reid and Ollie Watkins. Speaking of which…
The 21-year-old forward was named EFL Young Player of the Season last month, and he offers a real threat both on the flank and centrally – having featured as both a left winger and centre-forward for the Grecians this term.
He’s netted 16 times this term, including a brace in the play-off Semi-Final second leg to help his side edge out Carlisle. Add to that a haul of 13 assists and the relentless energy which has worn out defenders throughout the season, and the Tangerines will have their hands full with him.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing