Wycombe Wanderers v Southend United

Defender Adam Thompson is not available for selection due to a dislocated shoulder. He is the only Southend player who is not available for Phil Brown to select for Saturday’s League Two play-off final after striker Steven Craig recovered from a hamstring injury.

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The Shrimpers were knocked out in the playoffs last season and will be desperate to negotiate them this year. They finished their League campaign like a train losing only one of their last 11 games. However they lost against Morecambe on the last day of the season to narrowly lose out on an automatic promotion spot.

It looked as though they would suffer the same fate as last year and get knocked out in the playoffs after key striker Barry Corr missed a 94th minute penalty in the second leg against Stevenage. However they kicked on in extra time and goals McLaughlin and Timlin sealed a 4-2 victory on aggregate.

Wycombe only survived in League Two on goal difference last year after being embroiled in a tense relegation scrap. However, Gareth Ainsworth is drawing a lot of plaudits now and rightly so as he has overseen a dramatic improvement in the squad in just one term. The Chairboys are one win away from being a League One side next term.

They negotiated the Playoff semi-final with relative ease against Plymouth Argyle. Influential midfielder Sam Saunders pulled the strings for long periods in the middle of the park and will need to impact on the game in similar fashion on the big Wembley pitch.

Young Aaron Holloway has also looked impressive of late and veteran target man Paul Hayes has the habit of being in the right place at the right time this season. The performance of these players is pivotal to Wycombe’s chances.

Wycombe goalkeeper Matt Ingram is still out with a knee injury. He missed both semi-final legs against Plymouth and is unlikely to play. Gareth Ainsworth is instead likely to keep his faith in young 20-year old goalkeeper Alex Lynch who is likely to be between the sticks at Wembley.

Lynch put in a brilliant display in the second leg of the semi-final against Plymouth at Adams Park making a couple of crucial saves to deny Plymouth any hope of a potential late comeback. He is still very green though and Southend will no doubt look to try and exploit his inexperience on the big stage by putting in plenty of crosses for the likes of big man Barry Corr.

Wycombe can take confidence from the fact that they are unbeaten against Southend this season.They won 4-1 at Adams Park in December and drew 2-2 at Roots Hall in March. This could give them psychological advantage.

Despite scoring all their goals from set pieces against Plymouth Wycombe’s midfield is their strength and are capable of dominating possession. However against Plymouth in the first leg they looked vulnerable from crosses and it was only Plymouth’s profligacy from wide deliveries that stopped them from conceding. Southend will need to take advantage from set pieces and corners.

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