Thursday, April 21, 2005

Bulls await name of Play-off opponents

The outcome of several Conference games on Saturday will be awaited by Hereford fans looking to see whom the Bulls will face in the play-offs. The result of the Carlisle and Hereford games will determine which of the two clubs is in second or third position. The only certainty at present is that they can not meet each other in first part of the play-offs.

The club that is second in the final Conference table plays the team that gets to fifth position, and the third placed side plays the fourth team.

Carlisle and Hereford currently have the same number of points but the Cumbrians have a much better goal difference. If the results are the same on Saturday for both teams then Carlisle will finish second and the Bulls third.

Hereford entertain Accrington Stanley (A preview will be published tomorrow) whilst Carlisle play Exeter. The Grecians have to win their game and hope other teams slip up to have any chance of making the play-offs.

Carlisle manager Paul Simpson told the News and Star that his side didn't realish the prospect of a 700 mile trip to Exeter (7th) for a play-off game on Bank Holiday monday which could happen if Carlisle lose the game.

"We are aiming to finish with a victory and end Exeter's play-off hopes in the process.

"We want to finish as high as we can and we require three points to ensure we keep hold of second place ahead of Hereford."

However Lee Phillips, the Exeter forward has other ideas.

"There is always one team that sneaks it at the end and hopefully we can be that team. We have certainly given ourselves a chance having won our last two games."

It could be a close call at Brunton Park.

Morecambe (4th) are away at Tamworth (15th). The Lambs announced this week that veteran striker Bob Taylor has agreed a new 12-month deal to keep him at the club and this news could inspire the Lambs to curtail Morecambe's play-off hopes.

Aldershot (5th) have a home game against Scarborough (13th). They need to win this game as a draw might not be enough to secure a place in the play-offs. The Shots are keen to return to League Football after missing out last year. It is thirteen years since Aldershot were forced to resign from the League.

Stevenage (6th) probably have the easiest game of the challengers as they are at home to Leigh RMI. It will be a real upset if they can't defeat the Railwaymen.

Elsewhere Woking (8th) travel to Halifax (10th). The Shaymen cannot make the play-offs but Woking could if others lose their games. However for the Cards to make it firstly they need three points and secondly Morecambe, Aldershot, Stevenage or Exeter all need to drop points. As Halifax appear to have little to play for a win for Woking is a probability.

So who will Hereford face in the play-offs? If our hunch is correct then Stevenage might just make fifth spot above Morecambe and Hereford finish third, then it will be Aldershot. But in truth no-one knows for sure. We will just have to wait until around 4.50pm on Saturday.

The fixture list for Saturday is as below:

Aldershot v Scarborough
Carlisle v Exeter
Dag & Red v Barnet
Forest Green v Canvey Island
Gravesend v Burton Albion
Halifax v Woking
Hereford v Accrington Stanley
Northwich v Crawley Town
Stevenage v Leigh RMI
Tamworth v Morecambe
York v Farnborough