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Nic Ladds 13th May 2010 - 12:28

A close encounter at the County Ground

The thrilling race for automatic promotion in League One went right down to the wire with Leeds just edging it with a final day win. Now the play-off lottery gets underway as fourth-placed Charlton travel to fifth-placed Swindon to battle for a place in England's second tier.

After being relegated from The Championship last season, Charlton (7/4) were many people's pick to bounce straight back up but after some disappointing form, they have had to settle for a place in the play-offs.

Swindon (13/10) have performed above expectations and pushed for an automatic place all season. With the help of two big scoring strikers they have managed to keep up with some bigger names in the league and it would not be a shock at all to see them go up.

In both league meetings, Swindon went ahead only to be pegged back in the dying moments. In December, Llera scored in the 93rd minute for Charlton to make it 2-2 and then in February, Nicky Bailey scored in the 92nd minute to make it 1-1.

If you think history will repeat itself again you can get 15/2 on Charlton to come from behind and draw once more.

Charlton have just lost one of their last eight matches against Swindon and as the Robins have won just one of their last six matches, the Addicks may be coming in to this match with a slight psychological advantage.

Swindon will obviously look towards their two front men Billy Paynter (4/1 first goal) and Charlie Austin (5/1) to fire them in to the final. Paynter has 26 league goals this season and Austin, who was a part-time footballer and part-time bricklayer until October has banged 19 in this season.

You can also double up Paynter OR Austin to score first at the intriguing price of 7/4.

Charlton will hope midfielder Nicky Bailey can continue his impressive form in front of goal. He has 12 league goals this season and looks a decent price at 9/1 to score first or 10/3 any time. Deon Burton is probably their major threat up front and is 6/1 to score first.

Vincent Pericard is still missing for Swindon but Scott Cuthbert comes back in to contention for a place at the back. Other than that, Danny Wilson has an almost full squad of players to pick from.

For Charlton, Kelly Youga and Grant Basey are still missing but Leon McKenzie is in the squad and could make a return from his thigh injury.

As we have seen from the last week of Championship play-offs, form and reputation seem to count for very little and the under-dogs can really impress with packed houses and almost cup final like atmospheres.

I reckon Swindon are slight favourites to get a first leg lead but Charlton have the better squad on paper so it really could be down to who wants it more on the night.

I would certainly have a go on the draw at 21/10 but if either side is going to nick it, I can see it by a one goal margin. Swindon to win by 1 goal is 3/1 and Charlton to win by 1 goal is 10/3 which provides a bit better coverage than the correct score markets.



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