We give the lowdown on League 1’s incredible play-off push
To say that the Ladbrokes League 1 play-off push is “a bit tight” might be the understatement of 2017.
Four sides are battling for the final two promotion play-off spots, with East Fife, Brechin City, Airdrieonians and Queen’s Park all locked on 46 points with two games remaining.
So, with everything on the line in the coming fortnight, who are the Ladbrokes News team tipping to make the cut – and who could fall just short?
East Fife (Third place, 64 points, GD: +2)
The Methil club ended a barren run of six winless games on Saturday, securing a 1-0 victory at Albion Rovers, despite finishing the match with 10 men. And it’s their defensive strength which should just about see Barry Smith’s men over the line.
At their best, the Fifers have proved almost impossible to break down. And with Kerr’s goal having finally given them a lift last time out, there’s a good chance they can recapture something of the form which saw them win six games on the bounce at the turn of the year.
Barry Smith’s men have also proved they can come good when the pressure’s on. They edged last season’s title tussle with Elgin City by just three points, following a crucial winning run in March and April.
Add to that the fact they’ve got home advantage against Airdrieonians on Saturday, followed by a game against eighth-placed Stranraer, and we reckon they’ll make it into the play-off pack.
Verdict: Heading for the play-offs
Brechin City (Fourth place, 64 points, GD: -7)
In the early months of the season, City looked like genuine title contenders. They took 13 points from the opening five games, the returning Alan Trouten was in fine form, and – at that stage – no visitors had won a league game at Glebe Park since February.
What they wouldn’t give for those form stats right now…
Brechin have taken just one point from their last four games, conceding 11 goals and scoring just two in the process. But their poor run stretches back further than that – with just four league wins since the start of this calendar year.
They may have shone earlier in the campaign, but it seems City’s promotion charge has well and truly run out of steam.
Verdict: Set to miss out
Aidrieonians (Fifth Place, 64 points, GD: -10)
Much like Brechin, the Diamonds enjoyed an early-season stint where everything looked to be perfect. They won six of seven League 1 games between the start of October and late November, including victory over Alloa and a 4-1 demolition of Queen’s Park.
And, as with the Glebe Park outfit, Mark Wilson has seen his side’s form tail off in worrying fashion, with the Excelsior Stadium outfit having lost 12 of their last 19 league games.
With a tough trip to Bayview and a meeting with in-form Queen’s Park on the agenda in the coming fortnight, the play-offs could just be a bridge too far for Wilson’s men.
Verdict: Probably missing out
Queen’s Park (Sixth place, 64 points, GD: – 11)
They may have lost at Livingston last weekend, but that was the Spiders’ first defeat in nine games, and came fresh off the back of comfortable wins from Peterhead and Albion Rovers.
Perhaps the most impressive facet of that eight-game unbeaten streak has been the Glasgow club’s never-say-die attitude. Three times they’ve trailed with 89 minutes on the clock, and every time they’ve come back to get a result.
With momentum on their side, and a meeting with basement club Stenhousemuir up next, Gus MacPherson’s men look good to crack the top four and secure a play-off place.
Verdict: See you in the play-offs!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing