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Rupert Wyman 12th Apr 2009 - 13:13

League 1 promotion shoot-out at the Den

Second-placed Peterborough United travel to Millwall for a key match in the automatic promotion race in League 1.

Peterborough go in to the match six points ahead of Millwall and with just three matches remaining after this the home side really need the three points.

Millwall are the narrow favourites for the win at 11/8, but Darren Ferguson's side will be no pushovers at odds of 6/4 and the draw is priced at 23/10.

In recent weeks the younger Ferguson has shown that winning matches when it matters most runs in the family and he will hope that Posh can rediscover their winning form after surprisingly only drawing with bottom-of-the-table Cheltenham on Good Friday. That draw halted a run of seven consecutive wins, two short of a club record.

The winning run included beating top-of-the-table Leicester 2-0 and for a bit had The Foxes worried about losing the title to United. If Peterborough had won on Friday they would have gone top, albeit for a day, as Leicester did not play until Saturday. But after Leicester's win at Hereford on Saturday top spot now looks beyond Peterborough.

Despite losing their winning streak Posh still have another run to continue at The New Den on Monday night as they have won five straight away from home. Millwall's own winning streak on the road came to a halt at Yeovil on Friday when they fell to a 2-0 defeat. Before that The Lions had won six in a row.

Millwall have actually won more matches on the road this term, 12, compared with 11 wins at home. The match will be keenly contested because of what is at stake and there is not much between the teams as proved in the reverse fixture on Boxing Day when Posh won 1-0 and that was after Millwall had been down to 10 men for an hour.

Therefore at the prices the draw could be the best bet at 23/10. A scoreline of 1-1 or 2-2 is most likely at 11/2 and 12/1 respectively.

The last time Peterborough failed to score in a game was in January and with the impressive attacking trio of Aaron Mclean, Craig Mackail-Smith and George Boyd there is no reason to see this happening here.

Recently mercurial winger Boyd has not been at his best and if the former Stevenage man was to hit top form on Monday then Posh would have a much better chance of victory. He is a 11/4 shot to score at anytime.

Top-scorer Mackail-Smith has 24 goals this season although the hard-working front man has been guilty of missing plenty of chances throughout the season. He is 6/1 to open the scoring and 7/4 to score within the 90 minutes.

Strike-partner Aaron Mclean is on 19 goals and is the same prices as Mackail-Smith but with his superior finishing ability he would be the choice over Mackail-Smith. If it weren't for injury earlier on in the season Mclean arguably would be the club's top scorer.

Outside of the main three threats for Peterborough Paul Coutts must enter the equation as a value pick. The Scot is yet to open his account for Posh since joining from Highland League side Cove Rangers in the summer. But as the season has gone on the 19-year-old playmaker has grown in confidence and sooner rather than later will open his account and the odds of 12/1 to do so on Monday look too big.

For Millwall club legend and all-time top goalscorer Neil Harris is 7/4 to score, but the preference would be for Doncaster loanee Jason Price at 2/1. Price has netted twice in three starts since joining The Lions on loan.

Standing in Millwall's way should be Peterborough's star defender Gaby Zakuani. The Congolese international missed the draw on Friday after limping off at Oldham in the previous match. The return of the former Fulham man will be a massive boost to the second-placed side.

A win for Peterborough will go some way to helping them to back-to-back promotions. If they were promoted it would be just the third season ever they have spent in the second tier. On the other hand Millwall, under Kenny Jackett, are desperate to return to the Championship after their relegation in 2006.

If Posh take their chances, as with Ferguson's attacking approach they rarely fail to create opportunities, then an away win is possible but the draw looks the most likely result.

You can watch this tense affair live on Sky Sports 1 with a 19:45 kick-off and as usual we will be offering a wide range of in-play betting opportunities via our betlive service.

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