Matty Blair expecting play-off semi-final to be a tight duel

Fleetwood's Jonathan Parkin celebrates his goal with Matty Blair during the Sky Bet League Two match at Highbury Stadium, Fleetwood. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday October 12, 2013. See PA story SOCCER Fleetwood. Photo credit should r

Fleetwood's Jonathan Parkin celebrates his goal with Matty Blair during the Sky Bet League Two match at Highbury Stadium, Fleetwood. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday October 12, 2013. See PA story SOCCER Fleetwood. Photo credit should r

First published in Sport
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York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter

FORMER York City favourite Matty Blair is predicting a close play-off semi-final opener tomorrow followed by a few potential fireworks a week on Friday for the return leg.

On his expectations for the tie, The Press’ 2012 Player of the Year admitted: “I cannot see it being a dramatic 7-6 on aggregate.

“It will probably be tight and I think both sides might be cautious in the first leg.

“You never really get a big score in the first leg of any semi-final and I think our home leg might be the exciting game.”

He believes, however, that all talk of an advantage for the team playing at home in the second leg is hypothetical at this stage.

Blair argued: “I think everybody would prefer to play the second leg at home but I don’t know whether you can say if it is an advantage or not until after the first game at least.

“A lot depends on the result from that leg because, if you are behind, I think the crowd could drive you on and help you go for it.”

Blair is also expecting a sterner test than the one Fleetwood faced in the autumn.

During a brief loan spell at Northampton, Blair was a member of the Cobblers side that were beaten 2-0 by City in January and noticed a marked improvement then.

He said: “To be totally honest, I thought York were poor when we played them earlier in the season and I am sure anybody else that was there would agree with that.

“During the second half of the season, though, they have become really well-organised, structured and hard to break down or beat.

“Thirteen clean sheets in 17 games deserves a reward in itself and is really impressive.

“When I played in the Northampton game, the back four were solid and I know Michael Coulson has had a fantastic end to the season as well.”

Blair insists as well that Fleetwood, who coveted automatic promotion for the majority of the season, will carry no hangover into the play-offs.

“Our hunger and desire is still there,” he explained.

“We were going for automatic promotion from the beginning of the season and that was there for everyone to see.

“We just missed out, but we have had a couple of weeks to get used to that and have got our minds around it.

This week, everyone is ready to go and looking forward to the matches.”

Blair, himself, is dreaming of another match-winning day out at the national stadium, though he is also guarding against getting too far ahead of himself.

“I would really love to go back and have another go there,” he confessed.

“It’s the same as when I was at York though - you can’t think about Wembley.

All I am thinking about now is getting a result at York on Saturday.”

Comments (1)

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8:04pm Fri 9 May 14

RooBeck says...

Personally, I was very sad to see him leave us - I thought we were going to build an attacking team around him!! His interview, post the Luton match on 200512, demonstrated his heart was at York City. BUT, financial security takes over and Fleetwood have the dosh and it is understandable what his thinking was. Whatever the outcome of the 2014 League 2 play-offs, thank-you Matty for Luton away in FATSF2, BSBPSFPO2 at Mansfield, FATFinal against Newport at Wembley & of course, that winning goal against Luton at Wembley just eight days later!! You will always have a special place at York City and I have no doubts you will be made very welcome to-morrow evening!! COYR.
Personally, I was very sad to see him leave us - I thought we were going to build an attacking team around him!! His interview, post the Luton match on 200512, demonstrated his heart was at York City. BUT, financial security takes over and Fleetwood have the dosh and it is understandable what his thinking was. Whatever the outcome of the 2014 League 2 play-offs, thank-you Matty for Luton away in FATSF2, BSBPSFPO2 at Mansfield, FATFinal against Newport at Wembley & of course, that winning goal against Luton at Wembley just eight days later!! You will always have a special place at York City and I have no doubts you will be made very welcome to-morrow evening!! COYR. RooBeck
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