FOOTBALL LEAGUE expert George Elek (@GeorgeElek) runs the rule over the League One play-off semi-final first leg between Bradford and Fleetwood.
Bradford v Fleetwood | Thursday 19:45 | Sky Sports
The home side here are the favourites to win the play-offs, but Fleetwood look a bit overpriced in the market. Uwe Rosler’s side still had a slim chance of being promoted automatically on Sunday, and their spot in the play-offs is richly deserved.
Rosler would be my pick for Manager of the Year in League One; taking a group of previously unremarkable players and turning them into a well-drilled outfit at both ends of the pitch.
Town have lost just three league games since the middle of November and, if it wasn’t for a fairly slow start to the season, they may well have pipped Bolton to second.
David Ball has affirmed himself as one of the classiest forwards in the league and Amari Bell has looked a different player under Rosler’s tutelage. This Fleetwood team are not in the play-offs to make up the numbers and will rightly believe that they have what it takes to come out on top against Bradford.
Eyebrows were raised when Stuart McCall was hired to replace the departing Phil Parkinson, but the club legend has done a good job. This has mainly been a case of continuing the good work of his predecessor, but McCall deserves credit for the work he has done.
Anything but a home banker
Much is made of Bradford’s unbeaten home record in the league, which, over the course of a whole season, is mightily impressive. They have, however, drawn more games than they have won at Valley Parade (W11-D12-L0), so thoughts that a home win is a banker are wide of the mark.
The 3/1 about Fleetwood makes some appeal, but it is the 10/11 (Betfair) on Fleetwood +1 on the handicap that is the best angle, meaning the bet is settled as a winner if Fleetwood avoid defeat.
Considering it’s something the Cod Army have only tasted three times in over four months, the visitors are the team to side with here.
Bradford v Fleetwood – Fleetwood +1 handicap (10/11 Betfair)