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‘This is Sunderland’s year,’ ‘Got a feeling about Lincoln’ – FLW writers predict who wins the League One play-offs this season



The Sky Bet League One play-off teams have been confirmed following the final day of the season on Sunday.

Blackpool, Sunderland, Lincoln and Oxford United will battle it out to secure promotion to the Championship, with the semi-final first legs set to be played out next week.

But who is going all the way and winning the League One play-off final?

A selection of the writers here at Football League World offer up their predictions….

Alfie Burns – Blackpool

I’m going to go for the form side and, for my money, the best side: Blackpool.

Neil Critchley has got his side on a strong run of form heading into the play-offs, having won four games on the spin, whilst their run to get into the top-six was impressive given the games in hand they had to make up.

So, for them to get themselves into third from there is some achievement.

Interestingly, Blackpool are the lowest scorers of the four sides set to compete, but they do boast the best defensive record by some stretch, which is arguably more important.

Critchley’s side just look well oiled heading into the play-offs, so have got my backing.

It would be great to see them back in the Championship.

Phil Spencer – Blackpool

As much as I’d like Sunderland to get promoted, I have a sneaky feeling that Blackpool could come out on top.

Neil Critchley has done a wonderful job with the Seasiders this term and has turned them into an incredibly hard outfit to beat.

A tally of 23 wins this term is higher than any team in the play-offs, and while their goals scored tally is significantly lower than the rest, so is their goals conceded count with just 37 strikes against them this term.

Blackpool will pose a really tough test for Oxford United first of all, and I think that they’ll have enough resilience to be able to go all the way and return to the Championship.

George Dagless – Lincoln City

I’ve got a feeling about Lincoln City and I don’t really know why because they’re bang out of form.

Blackpool v Oxford sees two in-form sides meet, of course, whilst neither Sunderland or Lincoln have shown much momentum – the 3-3 draw with the Posh has really knocked the stuffing out of the Imps.

I think Blackpool have been marvellous to watch and I really hope they do it of the four as Neil Critchley has done a good job but I just think Lincoln may well reset, and use recent grievances as extra motivation to get the job done.

The Imps have been there or thereabouts for promotion all season, if they get their heads right for these final games I do think they will be tough to stop.

Sam Rourke – Oxford United

This is all set to be an enthralling League One play-offs, with all four teams showing they have the quality to secure promotion this term.

You can genuinely make a case for all the clubs involved, but something is telling me Oxford United could go all the way this season after the play-off heartbreak they suffered last time.

Karl Robinson’s side are entering a rich vein of form at just the right time, and their impressive 4-0 win on the final day of the season to sneak into the play-offs certainly impressed me.

A lot of the players involved in that U’s squad were involved last season too, so they know what to expect and Robinson will have learnt a lot from last season’s experience.

Blackpool will be very tough semi-final opponents, there is no denying that, but I just think if Oxford are in full flow they could do the business this term.

Sunderland and Lincoln both also have a cracking chance of promotion, but their recent dip in form, notably for the former, has concerned me somewhat.

Ben Wignall – Blackpool

This could be the most competitive play-offs out of all four and it’s really hard to pick just one team.

All four outfits have their individual qualities – Sunderland have a prolific partnership in Aiden McGeady and Charlie Wyke, Lincoln have talented young players like Brennan Johnson and Morgan Rogers, Oxford seem to be free-scoring right now and Blackpool have only lost twice in their last 21 league games and are a solid unit all around.

Sunderland have looked really shaky in recent weeks and I feel as though their defensive fragilities with the amount of injuries they have is going to haunt them – Lincoln are a dangerous outfit and I can see them getting past the Black Cats.

Blackpool v Oxford is a tough one to call but on the basis of form over the last couple of months I’d have to fancy Blackpool for it despite Karl Robinson’s side looking really strong in attack.

Overall I can see Blackpool doing it and as a Preston North End fan that would please me – the Seasiders are our biggest rivals however it will be nice to have a proper Lancashire derby once again.

Jacob Potter – Sunderland

I think this is Sunderland’s year.

The Black Cats haven’t been at their best in recent months, and Lee Johnson will know that his side have to show improvement in the near future, if they’re to stand a chance of winning promotion.

If Charlie Wyke is fully fit, then I think the Black Cats will have enough quality in their team to win promotion into the Championship this term.

Oxford United will push them close I think, and they’ll be the dark horses in the play-offs, after sneaking into the top-six on the final day of the League One season.

But the pressure is on Sunderland, and I think this will be the year that they return to the second-tier.

Chris Thorpe – Oxford United

I feel like this year could be Oxford’s as they have come into form at just the right time after looking like they had blown it.

The likes of Sunderland and Lincoln City are stuttering at present and for me Blackpool are the only side that pose any real threat to Karl Robinson’s men.

They’ve just thumped Burton Albion 4-0 and the confidence is sky high amongst the squad with goals coming from all areas.

Championship football has been a long time coming at the Kassam Stadium and I think this is as good a chance as they have ever had to bring it home.

George Harbey – Oxford United

I’m really liking the look of Oxford to be honest.

I think they will have been given the edge after thinking they were going to miss out on the play-offs, but creeping in with an emphatic win over Portsmouth on the final day of the season.

I think they have some excellent players in every area of the pitch, especially in midfield with Cameron Brannigan and Alex Rodriguez, and they also have a prolific forward in Matty Taylor up top who can always score goals if you need him to.

I know Sunderland will be hurting after missing out on promotion for two years now, but Oxford will also be hurting after losing in the final against Wycombe last season, and it’s a similar group of players too.

I think they come into this with real momentum, whereas Blackpool’s fate has been confirmed for a while now. The home leg could make all the difference, though, and they need to go to Bloomfield Road carrying with a win.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: ‘This is Sunderland’s year,’ ‘Got a feeling about Lincoln’ – FLW writers predict who wins the League One play-offs this season

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