Some good pre-game reads for you: Will Unwin on father and son on opposite sides at Wembley today
Carlisle (likely 3-4-1-2): Holy; Whelan, Mellish, Huntington; Senior, Guy, Moxon, Armer; McCalmont; Garner, Gordon. Subtitles: Kelly, Gibson, Edmondson, Patrick, Dennis, Charters, Robinson.
Stockport (likely 3-5-2): Hinchcliffe; Wright, Horsfall, Hussey; Knoyle, Sarcevic, Camps, Croasdale, Rydel; Madden, Olofe. Subtitles: Jaros, Byrne, Evans, Collier, Stretton, Hippolye, Lewis.
Hello everyone and welcome to the big one – Football League Play-Off Weekend II: Secret of the League Twoooze. (Yes, yes. Yes, I know. I’m sorry.)
If Saturday’s first installment is anything to go by, we should be entertained. There was certainly no lack of drama in the semi-finals, where Stockport went out on penalties against Salford, and Carlisle needed extra time in the second leg to beat Bradford. The teams drew 2-2 in their league encounter in April and only three points separated the teams at the end of the season.
But if their recent journeys have been similar, their past decade couldn’t have been much different. Stockport were last in the third tier in 20019-10, alongside Leeds, Southampton and Brighton, among others. But after a precipitous fall, they were still in the Conference North side as recently as 2018-19, tangling with Blyth Spartans, Alfreton Town et al. Two promotions in four seasons have followed one another and they are close to the third in five.
While County have had their ups and downs, Carlisle have played in League Two since 2014-15, with this being just their second trip to the playoffs in those nine seasons.
Kick-off is at 1.30pm BST.