League One Preview: Bees on brink of promotion

Brentford can erase the nightmare of last season on Friday by securing promotion to the Championship when they host Preston North End.

Mark Warburton's men sit seven points clear of third-placed Leyton Orient with four games remaining, knowing that victory over Preston combined with defeat for Orient and Rotherham United failing to win would see them return to the second tier for the first time since 1993.

Brentford were denied promotion last season by a stunning last-minute defeat to Doncaster Rovers, before another loss to Yeovil Town in the play-off final compounded their misery.

Warburton insists that disappointment has helped focus his players on the challenge ahead.

"They learned from last year. They've moved on from last year," he told The Evening Standard.

"Our target, in a non-arrogant way, is to win four out of four, to secure promotion."

Facing an in-form Preston side will not be easy, though, and Simon Grayson's men could still catch their opponents should they secure victory at Griffin Park.

Rotherham will likely have to settle for the play-offs and will need to beat league leaders, and title chasers, Wolves to keep their top-two hopes alive, while Orient travel to Crawley Town, who practically secured survival with a midweek win over Tranmere Rovers.

Peterborough United's return to form has boosted their hopes of a top-six finish and they travel to Bradford City, while Swindon Town, in seventh, will look to keep the pressure on Darren Ferguson's side when they visit Coventry City.

Port Vale entertain MK Dons at Vale Park in a clash of two sides whose play-off push looks to have come too late.

Rock-bottom Stevenage need to get back to winning ways if they are to survive and they travel to a Sheffield United side looking to bounce back after a dramatic 5-3 defeat to Hull City in the FA Cup semi-finals on Sunday.

Though manager Graham Westley has not led his side to victory in eight games, they are just four points behind 20t-placedĀ Notts County, who will hope that a run of four wins from five can be improved further at Bristol City.

Two of the sides in the drop zone meet as Shrewsbury Town welcome Crewe Alexandra, while Carlisle United, who face Walsall, are in the bottom four due to their inferior goal difference to Notts County.

Tranmere remain just three points above the drop zone ahead of their trip to Gillingham, who may have enough to keep their head above water, and Colchester United host Oldham Athletic with a win likely enough to secure safety for either team.


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