Ferguson an Old Trafford underdog? Only in play-offs
Saturday 28 May 2011
With Wembley double-booked for some event involving his Dad, Darren Ferguson is one of four lower league managers who will be seeking promotion at his father's Old Trafford fiefdom this weekend. The Football League play-off series concludes back at Wembley with Brendan Rodgers facing his old club for the sport's richest prize, the £60m Premier League golden share.
Today: League Two
Stevenage v Torquay United
These clubs were in the Conference two seasons ago which is testament to the strength of the "fifth division". Indeed, Graham Westley's Stevenage are hoping to become the third team in six years to win successive promotions to the third tier following Carlisle United and Exeter City.
Torquay, whose manager Paul Buckle has been strongly linked with a move to Bristol Rovers, might have preferred a return to Wembley, where they won the Conference play-off in 2009, but Matt Roberts, of Stevenage, is happy. "As a Manchester United fan who sat in the Stretford End as a boy it will be one of the proudest moments of my life leading the team out on to the hallowed Old Trafford turf," he said. "Even bigger than Wembley."
Tomorrow: League One
Huddersfield v Peterborough
Peterborough have been training at Manchester United's Carrington training ground this week and are sure to be made welcome at Old Trafford as Darren Ferguson aims to repeat the promotion he achieved for Posh two seasons ago.
Craig Mackail-Smith, the former non-league striker turned Scottish international, hopes to bring up a century of Peterborough goals before leaving the club this summer. He currently has 98, 34 of them this season.
Lee Clark's Huddersfield, who start as narrow favourites, anticipate promotion would be worth £10m. Perhaps some of that could cover the flight costs of former season-ticket holders Stuart and Kathryn Franklin who have flown in for the weekend from Nelson, New Zealand, where they now live.
Reading v Swansea City
Hal Robson-Kanu, who grew up near Wembley but has never set foot inside the stadium (new or old), is set to start. The Welsh winger will seek to undo his former boss, the current Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers, who lasted 23 matches at Reading before being sacked. Rodgers was succeeded by Brian McDermott, with whom he had worked in Reading's academy. "It's a long way from setting the goals up in the park together," said McDermott.
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