League Two play-off predictions: Swindon can surprise Valiants
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Warren Ashurst
Wembley will host the conclusion of the League Two campaign later this month
Wembley will host the conclusion of the League Two campaign later this month

The League Two play-offs begin on Saturday with Mansfield up against Northampton, while two of the best-supported teams in the division battle it out in the other semi-final as Swindon face Port Vale.

Both semi-finals should be tight affairs given only three points separated the four teams during the 46-game season.

Northampton and Swindon are the sides in form but will that make a big difference in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of the play-offs?

Mansfield vs Northampton — home win

Field Mill is the venue for the first match of the League Two semi-finals as Mansfield and Northampton do battle on Saturday night.

The visitors make the journey unbeaten in their last six games — four wins and two draws — but there are likely to be some mental scars after a bitter disappointment on the final day.

Bristol Rovers' 7-0 win over Scunthorpe saw the Gas pip the Cobblers to the third automatic promotion spot on goal difference and it is a big ask for Jon Brady's men to simply forget all about that and bounce straight back.

Mansfield have an imposing home record, suffering just one defeat in their last 17 league matches on their own patch alongside 13 victories and three draws.

The Stags, who also enjoyed a 1-0 success in their home clash with Northampton in early April, are 6/5 to take a lead into Wednesday's second leg.

It is also worth considering the over 2.5 goals option, with four goals in each of Mansfield's last two games and 12 goals scored in Northampton's previous three matches.

Swindon vs Port Vale — home win

Harry McKirdy has been in fine form for Swindon this term
Harry McKirdy has been in fine form for Swindon this term

It is a midday showdown at the County Ground on Sunday when Swindon play host to Port Vale in a game that was actually a second-tier fixture back in 1999-00.

Ben Garner's Robins go into the clash off the back of four straight league wins, compared to just one win in four for the visitors, and that run makes 7/5 for a first-leg home win an attractive prospect.

Swindon have had a solid home record since the turn of the year, losing just four of their 13 League Two games at the County Ground in 2022.

One of the reasons behind that successful run in the last five months has been the arrival of young Aston Villa loanee Louie Barry. 

The teenage forward has scored six goals in 12 starts for the Wiltshire club and is 5/2 to find the back of the net at any time on Sunday.

Vale, meanwhile, have won five of their last six games on the road but their form has slipped off towards the end of the season with three defeats in their previous four.

Darrell Clarke's side did win 2-1 at the County Ground in September but a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then and Swindon gained revenge with a 3-1 win at Vale Park in January.

Harry McKirdy has eight strikes in his last 10 games and the 20-goal forward can be backed at 4/1 to break the deadlock on Sunday afternoon.


League TwoSwindonPort ValeNorthamptonMansfield
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