Saturday we play Leeds in what is not a significant game, but technically we can still make second place. My Dad is being cautious, but has decided to go to Oldham should we win and Millwall lose or they draw and Swindon lose. I don't think I'll be going to Oldham either way. It is my Son's birthday on the 9th and we are going away for the weekend. If it was in our hands I might have stuck out, but not when we need to win while Leeds lose at home and the Millwall, Swindon game goes our way.
So I'm expecting it to be the Playoffs. That's ok I guess. I'd prefer to have the second leg at home and if we can beat Leeds there is every chance that we can achieve that as Swindon are only one point above us with an inferior goal difference and they go to Millwall on the last day of the season. With Huddersfield looking like they are hitting form at just the right time I'm Happy for them to play Millwall or Leeds while we face Swindon.
If we play Swindon away first I will probably go if I can. I will definitely go if I can if we play at home first. I'm not sure I'll qualify for tickets however, as I haven't been to all that many away games, and both Gillingham and MK Dons tickets were not bought with my Red Card and I doubt the club will give me credit on that basis.
I'm not going to Millwall under any circumstances, although I'd go to a home game with them. I'm also not convinced I'd travel to Leeds for an evening kick off game, but I might just change my mind if it comes to it. However on the basis that for us to finish sixth we probably need to lose to Leeds, and that result would probably see them finish second the discussion it a little mute. Technically we could still finish third and face Huddersfield, but, again there is little chance of that, and as it would have to be away first I'd probably give it a miss.
After the anger and bitterness of yesterday, I am feeling much happier and even excited about the next few weeks now. It helps that the personal issues I had that were playing on my mind have also been sorted out, but either way the past needs to be left there and the next few weeks will be exciting even if the outcome is ultimately disappointing.
So to Leeds. I think a win on Saturday will benefit us in the long run. There are two possible outcomes and they have two potential implications for us. I hate the idea of Millwall being promoted but realistically we are much better to have Leeds in both the playoffs and this division next season. The first of those covers the fact that Leeds are nowhere near as strong at this moment in time as Millwall. Swindon look beatable, Huddersfield we have beaten once and drawn once with this season, and Leeds have looked like a club with no confidence in recent weeks.
I suspect that we would have more chance of beating Leeds than Millwall in a one off game, and especially over two legs. Next season Millwall are likely to be very strong in this division. Leeds, with Beckford (plus others?) gone, are likely to be a much different proposition. Also should Leeds get promoted they are likely to have a lot more pull in the Championship than Millwal would.
So a win this weekend would bring Leeds closer to the playoffs (where they have choked in each of the last two seasons) and would push Millwall closer to not being involved at all. Sure I'd love to beat Millwall in the playoffs - the Final would be even better - but I'd be more than happy to avoid them if the outcome would be that they would beat us.
Leeds have been very lucky this season. I have a friend that I went to University with who is a Leeds fan and we speak regularly and he agrees that they have won a number of games that they shouldn't have done. With two games to go we will soon know if their luck ran out, or was enough to get them promoted. They have been tight at the back and have scored a lot of late goals.
This being the case it is likely that we will see a low scoring game. Exeter was the first game we've been involved in where there has been more than one goal since March. I would take a 1-0 in this game. I suspect that a draw will be enough to keep Leeds in the playoffs and may well be enough to enable us to take that precious 4th place that gives us a home second leg. The first goal will be crucial and I suspect it will come in the second half. I'm not expecting a spectacle, but a good performance (anything like Norwich) is likely to bring us a good result. I'm going to predict a 1-0 home win and broken hearts in the Jimmy Seed Stand.
At the very least it will be a decent crowd and at least one group of supporters will have something to shout about if they win.
Elsewhere this weekend Crystal Palace go to Hillsborough on Sunday knowing that a defeat will see them relegated. I think this is justice for knocking their creditors. However, if they do win then they will have earned their place in the Championship next season by virtue of the rules. Something needs to be done about the consequences of Administration, but that is a discussion for another day.
Come on Wednesday!