Newport County and Tranmere Rovers face off at Wembley on Saturday as both sides compete for a place in League One next season. Reaching the final is a terrific achievement for both as they edged past Mansfield and Forest Green respectively who finished above them.
It should be a competitive and close-fought final as there has been little to separate the two clubs over the course of the season. They finished side by side in the league, with just two points between them. The last time they both met it ended in a 0-0 stalemate and the other meeting was a 1-0 win with the three points going to Newport.
Tranmere will be hoping to make it back-to-back promotions after being successful in last season’s National League play-off final. Newport have the momentum behind them as they ended the season in good form and sneaked their way into the post-season, whereas Tranmere’s form faltered towards the end. However, Tranmere won’t be too concerned as a play-off final is a one off occasion plus they have firepower in James Norwood and plenty of experienced personnel.
Newport have no missing players ahead of the League Two play-off final, therefore their team sheet should be fairly predictable. The only uncertainty in terms of their line-up at Wembley comes as Matt Dolan and Joss Labadie compete for a spot in midfield, with Dolan appearing to be the favourite for the role.
Tranmere named unchanged line-ups as they dispatched Forest Green over two legs, and they could do the same on Saturday. Ishmael Miller, Evan Gumbs and Mark Ellis will play no part in the final, and the same goes for Luke McCullough whose absence has had a devastating impact on the team and led to them having to be satisfied with a play-off spot.
Over 2.5 goals has landed just twice in Tranmere’s last nine League Two games, and just once in their last six. Newport have also been lacking goals as there has only been three or more scored in two of their last 10 outings, a stretch of fixtures which included four 0-0’s… Play-Off finals are always tense scenarios given what’s on the line for both clubs, therefore under 2.5 goals to be scored at Wembley on Saturday looks like a certainty @ 1.50. These two sides have met on four occasions previously and there was only three goals scored across those meetings.
Both sides have done well in reaching the final as they both dumped out higher ranked opposition in Forest Green and Mansfield. However, there can only be one winner and one promoted side on Saturday afternoon and I believe that it will be Tranmere. You can get them to be promoted to League One @ 1.72.
Micky Mellon’s side head into the final as slight favourites and I think that is fair. They have a formidable goal scorer in James Norwood up front and a Football League veteran in David Perkins in the middle of the park, who’s experience could prove invaluable on an occasion like Saturday. Those two factors could be the difference.
James Norwood to score anytime during the final is priced at 2.70. The 28-year-old has scored 29 goals throughout the 2018/19 campaign and he was also instrumental during the semi-final stage as he scored against his former club Forest Green. Don’t be surprised if Norwood is the difference again at Wembley.
Tranmere to be promoted @ 1.72
Under 2.5 goals @ 1.50
James Norwood to score anytime @ 2.70