How good are the playoffs this season?

In seasons past (or indeed, through the seasons before us?!) we’ve either been in the thick of playoff action, or looking bitterly wishing we at least had a chance in this lottery of attaining promotion.  Having steeled myself for our involvement this year, it’s been great to pay just a passing interest to the games as they occur – Southend vs Doncaster last night, and of course the Championship saw last year’s League One runners up facing Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park for a shot at the big time.

Southend couldn’t make home advantage count against a lacklustre Rovers, despite having the lion’s share of possession, and having more shots both on and off target, the Shrimpers must be content to take the game to Rovers up at the Keepmoat Stadium next week.  They will be boosted by the fact that former Notts striker Paul Heffernan decided to headbutt a Southend player directly infront of the referee, yielding the only card of the game – a red one – which will leave the striker suspended for the next leg on Friday 16th.

Leeds United will entertain Carlisle on Monday night at Elland Road for the second semi-final, and battle here will resume just three days later at Brunton Park.  I’ve never understood the scheduling of playoff dates – whilst Southend and Doncaster get a full week gap between their two games, Leeds and Carlisle get half.  But still, Carlisle won’t be relishing the trip, on an abysmal run of league form and facing not only an in-form Leeds side, but one with renewed rage following the failure of Ken Bates’ appeal to The Football League.

Of course, since we are now a Championship club (that felt good to type!) we should consider the playoffs at this level too.  Bristol City were, this time last season, where we are now – contemplating and planning for their future at the next level up.  Well this year they’ve just beaten Neil Warnock’s Crystal Palace in the first leg of their playoff semi-final.  They took the lead before being pegged back by a penalty – but won the game with a 30 yard screamer to set up a challenge for Warnock’s men on Tuesday in Bristol.

Tomorrow Watford entertain Hull City, to be followed by a return fixture on Wednesday.  The same gap for all competitors in the Championship compared to the randomness of the league we’ve just left.  Whilst I wouldn’t say I’ve been religiously following them as I had considered doing, it’s great to sit back and check results and match reports without having any real worry about what they’ll be.  It’s certainly interesting to know who’ll join us or leave us, but beyond that – it’s blissfully irrelevant!

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2 Responses

  1. No offence to Leeds fans, but I’d love Carlisle to join Forest in the Champ. Through this season they have been consistent and on the whole have played attractive football, which is more than I can say for Forest at times this season! Hope they can find some form again

  2. Nice not to have to care!!!! 🙂

    Seriously though, I’d favour the weakest side going up, so they can fill one of the relegation places next season! Expect that’s donny, but dont tell my nephew who is an avid fan.

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