THE BIG MATCH

Rotherham United could secure promotion to npower League 1 this Saturday with a win against Aldershot Town, who are rock bottom of League 2 and staring relegation in the face.

The Millers have emerged from the Play-Off pack with four consecutive wins to move into the top three, and they just need to beat Shots to earn a place in the third tier.

It's a simple equation and boss Steve Evans is confident, although he's wary of playing against a team who look destined for relegation.

"There is a quiet determination amongst the squad to deliver the result we all want," Evans told The Star. "The players have been real men in the face of some tough challenges at the back-end of this season and now they want to go about things professionally and ensure they get this last part of the job done.

"Aldershot are relegated really but they'll have a freedom to come and play and that, potentially, makes them dangerous.

"But the atmosphere will be electric and we always hoped that, come the final day, it would be in our hands. Well, it is and we are ready to grasp it."

Only a miracle would prevent the rock-bottom Shots from losing their Football League status at the New York Stadium on Saturday as they lie three points adrift of safety. They need to overcome the promotion-chasing Millers and hope both Barnet and Dagenham and Redbridge lose, and AFC Wimbledon, who occupy the other relegation place, fail to win.

Even then, Andy Scott's would need at least a six-goal swing, as they have an inferior goal difference to both the Bees and the Daggers.

"We're clutching at straws," boss Scott, a former Rotherham manager, admitted to Aldershot News and Mail. "A lot of people have worked extremely hard over the years to make sure the club gets into The Football League and I feel for everyone associated with it.

"Maybe now is the time to re-assess things properly and make sure we don't get ourselves in this position again because the club and the fans deserve more. Without finger-pointing, everyone must take responsibility for what happened, people past and present, and we need to learn lessons from it.

"But you've got to keep going and we'll go to Rotherham on Saturday looking to win the game and believing that miracles do happen. While there's a flicker of hope there, we'll try and take it."

KEEP AN EYE ON

AFC Wimbledon need a victory on Saturday to stand any chance of avoiding the drop back into non-league and they host Fleetwood Town.

The Wombles find themselves a point adrift of safety going into the final day of the campaign but their poor goal difference of -23 means they would need a win to be in with a shout of staying in The Football League.

If they do get a victory, they could mathematically catch any one of five teams who sit above the drop zone, so their chances of survival are good, providing they beat the Cod Army. Manager Neal Ardley is keeping the faith, calling on his players to embrace the occasion.

He told www.afcwimbledon.co.uk: "Someone said to me that in a way we are walking along a cliff. We can choose to look down and worry about how far we might fall or we can admire the view.

"They [the players] must try and enjoy the fact that there will be over 4,500 of our supporters absolutely singing their hearts out and willing them on to do every single thing they can to win the game

"The players would need to have buried their heads under the sand not to know about the magnitude of this game. We have therefore kept training similar to the way it has been when we have been winning games and been in good form.

"There is a balancing act between keeping the boys bright so that they are enjoying their training, rather than them being tense, and ensuring that there is an element of focus on the job in hand."

Fleetwood's first season in The Football League has been a positive one, despite their Play-Off hopes being extinguished in recent weeks. They now sit 12th but could drop into the bottom half of the table with a loss, if other results go against them.

Manager Graham Alexander, who took over in December, is eager for his players to treat the game as any other, regardless of AFC Wimbledon's predicament at the foot of the division.

The 41-year-old told www.fleetwoodtownfc.com: "We want to win any game we play in and this is as big as any game this season.

"We don't want to do any favours to anyone. For us, it is all about a responsibility to ourselves, the fans who are making the journey down and those following the game from home."

ELSEWHERE IN THE DIVISION

Cheltenham Town are the most likely candidates to overtake Rotherham United and earn automatic promotion to npower League 1 but they have a tricky tie on their hands at home to Play-Off dwellers Bradford City.

The Robins have won their last two and are two points behind the Millers going into the final day of League 2 fixtures, so need a victory against the Bantams and hope Steve Evans' men slip up at home to the Shots.

Port Vale are only three points above Cheltenham but their far better goal difference means they are all but promoted to League 1. The Valiants visit Wycombe this weekend.

Bradford's participation in the fixture against Mark Yates' Robins is a formality as they have already secured a Play-Off place, along with Northampton Town and Burton Albion. However, the latter two teams will be jostling for position in the Play-Offs to ensure they get home advantage.

The Brewers could still mathematically catch third-placed Rotherham, who they trail by three points, but they possess a far inferior goal difference prior to their match at home to champions Gillingham.

Aidy Boothroyd's Cobblers may have their place in the end-of-season festivities confirmed but their match at Sixfields against Barnet is vital for the visitors who lie just a point above the bottom two. The Bees need a victory to preserve their Football League status, and they are likely to be roared on by a large following.

Dagenham and Redbridge and York City are just above Barnet in the table ahead of their meeting in East London this weekend. The Daggers have lost their last two and have won just once in eight but will be eager for three points to maintain their place in The League. Nigel Worthington's Minstermen, on the other hand, are the form team down at the bottom of the division and go into the game at Dagenham unbeaten in five, winning three of those.

It's a simple equation for the two strugglers; win to assure safety. Any other result would leave their fate out of their own hands.

Plymouth Argyle and Torquay United are level on 52 points with the Daggers so will also face a nervy final day. The Gulls have registered maximum points from their last two matches and host Bristol Rovers on Saturday, while Plymouth are on the road to mid-table Rochdale.

Accrington Stanley have secured their Football League status for another year after a run of five games unbeaten and they host 10th-placed Oxford United.

Pride is the only thing on offer in the two other League 2 matches on Saturday, as Southend United host Morecambe at Roots Hall and Chesterfield welcome Exeter City to Derbyshire.

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