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With 3 of the League One play-off places already spoken for, there is a 3-way fight for the final coveted place. Millwall sit at 6th place at the moment on 70 points, with Southend on 69 and Rochdale on 68.
Millwall are floundering at just the wrong time. A 1-0 defeat at automatic promotion chasers Fleetwood Town was followed by a devastating 3-0 home loss to Oxford United at the weekend. The Londoners go to Bristol Rovers on Sunday in what will be a very nervy encounter for them. A win will guarantee a play-off spot but this is no foregone conclusion.
Rovers sit just 4 points behind Millwall though their form is erratic. Their last 9 games have brought 5 wins and 4 defeats, though their profile suggests they definitely have enough to take something from this game. That being the case, Southend would be favourites to grab the 6th place with a win over Bury.
The Essex side have lost 4 of their last 5 games but despite this, they have retained a very healthy goal difference. Southend’s recent losses have been very narrow and sometimes unlucky, while their opposition’s away form has been improving. Bury have lost just once in 6 outings away from home and will come into the game expecting to gain something. However, their overall profile shows that they are not in Southend’s class.
Rochdale are the final contenders and once again have a home game to finish their season. The fact that the game is against Bradford though, who are in great form and looking for as high a finish as possible, means a positive result is not tremendously likely. Bradford will feel very confident of getting at least a draw from this game which would leave Rochdale dead in the water.
Millwall are capable of getting something at Bristol Rovers but will need to improve fast. Rovers have no pressure on them and will want to finish their season on a high in front of their own supporters. The game might go in the way of the home side, which would leave the door wide open for Southend.
Despite their awful recent run, a closer look at their home profile still reads well. 2 defeats in a row now have come against decent opposition and we have to go back 7 games to find another – this time against champions Sheffield United. It’s very easy to see them starting quickly in this game and getting an early foothold before going on to grab the win, which will probably send them into the playoffs.