It’s been a gruelling 48-game campaign for Tranmere Rovers and Newport County. But for one set of fans the season will end in celebration under the Wembley arch in the 2019 League Two play-off final.
Both sides were made to work for it in their respective semi-finals. County overcame Mansfield Town in a penalty shoot-out, while Tranmere squeaked past Forest Green Rovers 2-1 on aggregate.
Now it comes down to a one-off match in North London. Who will come out on top? We’ve previewed the all-important tie in our League Two play-off final betting tips.
Newport are in marginally the better form ahead of the final. The Exiles are unbeaten in 12-matches in all competitions and haven’t lost in four meetings with Tranmere since returning to League Two.
Past fixtures between the two hint towards a tight affair. The duo have drawn three of their last four head-to-head contests, with two of those ending 0-0. It’s 2/1 about the Draw and 13/2 for a goalless stalemate.
Even if neither side can break the deadlock someone has to get promoted. Tranmere are 8/11 favourites to return to League One, with Newport an even-money chance.
Forest Green found Tranmere tough to break down over two legs. That was down to their own indiscipline but also the defensive performances of Sid Nelson and Cameroonian rock Manny Monthe.
Jake Caprice and Liam Ridehalgh will provide width at full-back with Ollie Banks shielding. Then it’s down to hotshot forward James Norwood to score the goals with support from Kieron Morris and Connor Jennings.
Midfield ace Joss Labadie has been crucial to Newport during the play-offs. He should be fit to start in the centre against his old club alongside Scot Bennett and Josh Sheehan.
Irishman Padraig Amond will line-up with the towering Jamille Matt and Robbie Willmott up-front. Joe Day has been excellent between the sticks in recent matches and could be a deciding factor once again.
Jennings has chipped in with 12 goals and 10 assists. He’s 11/4 Anytime, with Paul Mullin at 11/4. Alternatively, if you fancy a taste of crème de Monthe from set-pieces, the defender is a 14/1 chance.
Amond and Matt may sound like types of paint but they are in fact Newport’s main goalthreat. The pair have shared 43 goals this term and are available at 11/5 apiece Anytime.
County do tend to share out their goals round the rest of the team. Adebayo Azeez and Keanu Marsh-Brown offer a threat at 16/5 and 4/1 apiece, while Mickey Demetriou hit a brace in April and is 8/1 Anytime.
Where: Wembley Stadium.
When: 3pm, Saturday 25th May 2019.
How to Watch: Sky Sports Main Event.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication