Fleetwood flair may mean Burton bottle it in League Two play-off final
Both Graham Alexander and Garry Rowett will be thankful the League Two play-off final between Fleetwood Town and Burton Albion is at a neutral venue. Of the two sides’ six meetings since both became fourth-tier clubs, the home team has only won once.
Coral make the Cod Army odds-on 4/6 favourites for promotion as the curtain falls on another absorbing Football League season. Town are a more attractive 13/10 price to close things out in the regulation 90 minutes.
The Brewers, meanwhile, are 6/5 to go up and 21/10 to do so without needing extra time in the final Wembley showpiece. A draw, which means we’ll get to see an additional half hour, is 9/4.
A pair of former non-league outfits playing on another for the right to be promoted it just one of several subplots that surrounds this encounter on hallowed turf. Fleetwood had the worst during the regular 46-game campaign, but Burton, despite possessing a strikeforce of Billy Kee, Adam McGurk and Gary Alexander, scored the fewest goals of any fourth-tier team outside the bottom four.
It will come as no surprise to punters that Rowett’s Brewers kept more clean sheets that their Lancashire opponents, yet it was the Cod Army that shut York City out both home and away in the two-legged semi. Although the league meetings between Burton and Fleetwood contained 11 goals, the clean sheet and win to nil markets must be considered.
Town are 17/10 to shut out the Brewers, who are 23/10 themselves. Victories without reply for Graham Alexander (11/4) and Rowett (21/5) are more enticing. Both sides scored during the League Two encounters, but the team that netted the opener went on to win. Yet again, getting noses in front will be vital here.
Brewers attackers Kee and McGurk scored over half (26) of their 50 goals in league and play-offs so far. The former, in particular, has enjoyed days out against the Cod Army, with three in his last four. Kee is 6/4 to net anytime, while McGurk is 7/4. Do not discount veteran Gary Alexander either off the bench at 2/1.
Fleetwood will miss the goal threat of injured ex-Crystal Palace, Bristol Rovers and Lincoln City left-sided player Jeff Hughes. Once upon a time he was a Northern Ireland international, and struck twice in three outings against Burton this term. In Hughes’ absence, winger Matty Blair has stepped up.
The former York City man scored the goals that took the Cod Army past his old employers. Blair has two in his last three, so back him to be on target again at 3/1. Giant target Jon Parkin may bully the Brewers defence and, like fellow Fleetwood frontman David Ball, is 11/8 in the anytime market.
If the match goes to penalties, remember how much of a master Graham Alexander was at taking them. Fleetwood are firm favourites to climb to the dizzying heights of League One. Iain Hume, on loan from Preston North End and facing Deepdale colleague Shane Cansdell-Sherriff in the Burton backline, may help them off the bench too and is 13/8 to net.
The 19/4 price on the Cod Army winning and both teams scoring is a worthy outside bet on this final League Two fixture of the season. Another is 10/1 on the total goals exceeding 4.5 – remember those 11 goals in two league meetings punters.