League Two playoff preview: Ones to Watch
Following an enforced three month break, League Two is back (nearly). After it was agreed the rest of the season could not be played, four teams are set to square off in the playoffs. The action kicks off at 5.15 pm on Thursday as Colchester United host Exeter City. This game is immediately followed by Northampton Town vs Cheltenham Town at The PTS Academy Stadium (Sixfields). The return legs are set to take place the following Monday (22nd June).
Here are some of the key names to look out for from each side.
Randell Williams has been the standout performer for Exeter City this season. This has been Williams’ first full season at St James’ Park following his move in January 2019. The 23-year-old has consistently put in a 7/10 performance each week for the Grecians and will be looking to continue that in the playoffs. The right-sided player has featured at right-back, right-midfield and right-wing has 14 assists to his name, as well as five goals – the first of which came in the 4-0 hammering of rivals Plymouth Argyle. Williams has impressed with his eye for a key pass creating chances for Exeter. His pace is also frightening causing problems to opposition defences. He is certainly a player to keep a close eye on during the playoffs. (Stats from WhoScored)
Looking at Exeter’s opponents, Colchester United, attacking midfielder Kwame Poku is one to watch. This has been a breakthrough season for the 18-year-old who recently signed a new contract to keep him at the club until 2022. Poku hasn’t always found himself in the starting XI, making 23 appearances as a starter and 6 coming on as a substitute. Poku has found the net on five occasions and has three assists to his name. Poku has impressed with his pace and his willingness to run at defenders. He will be hoping he finds himself on the teamsheet and can impress once again. (Stats from WhoScored)
Moving our attention to the other playoffs semi-final, Northampton Town’s captain Charlie Goode has arguably been the Cobblers player of the season. The towering centre-back has an average rating of 7.45 season, higher than any other player at the club. The 24-year-old does not allow himself to be bullied by attackers and on average wins 5.8 areal duels per game, as well as 1.2 blocks and 1.1 interceptions. Goode has also proved his worth at the other end of the pitch, popping up with three goals and two assists. Goode knows that he will have to be at the top of his game to keep the Cheltenham Town attackers quiet, but Cheltenham will also have to be wary of the threat Goode poses at set-pieces. (Stats from WhoScored)
Cheltenham Town’s player to watch closely is midfield-maestro Ryan Broom. The Welshman joined Cheltenham in 2018 and has accumulated over 70 appearances for the club. Broom has been directly involved in 29% of Cheltenham’s goals this season; scoring eight and setting up seven. This is a very good return for a player who has found himself at the heart of Town’s midfield. Broom has shown he is strong on the ball as well as being able to pick out a pass. He could just be the man that sends Cheltenham to the playoff final. (Stats from WhoScored)