The final league game of the 2020/21 season in England’s top four tiers takes place on Monday as Morecambe and Newport battle to secure a spot in League One next season.
Ahead of the League Two play-off final, WhoScored.com run through their combined XI…
Goalkeeper: Tom King (Newport) – 6.75 rating
Tom King hasn’t been a first-team regular for Newport this season, but came into the side in mid-April and has kept his spot between the sticks since. While he has made just 10 league starts this term, King is set to feature from the off against Morecambe and having garnered a WhoScored.com rating of 6.75, is the best-rated goalkeeper from the League Two play-off final pair.
Centre-back: Liam Shephard (Newport) – 6.73 rating
It’s an all-Newport back-three in this combined XI and for a side that has conceded the fourth-fewest goals (46) in League One this season, that’s not a surprise. Liam Shephard is the first Newport player in this team and while nominally a right-back, the 26-year-old has operated at centre-back to good effect for the Exiles when required in 2020/21 and having featured here in his last eight starts, expect that run to continue at Wembley.
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Centre-back: Mickey Demetriou (Newport) – 7.19 rating
With a WhoScored.com rating of 7.19, Mickey Demetriou is the highest-rated player between the two teams coming into the League Two play-off final. The 31-year-old has been a dominant force in the air at both ends of the pitch this season, scoring three headed goals, the fifth-best return, and winning 328 aerial duels, more than any other defender in League Two.
Centre-back: Matthew Dolan (Newport) – 6.86 rating
While he has operated in midfield a handful of times this season, Matthew Dolan has largely been used at centre-back for Newport in 2020/21 and though his primary task is to defend his goal, the 28-year-old has been a handy weapon in the final third. Indeed, Dolan has had a direct hand in 10 of their 62 league goals this season, scoring seven, to help round off the defence.
Right midfield: John O’Sullivan (Morecambe) – 6.93 rating
The first Morecambe player in the side, John O’Sullivan is unfortunate to have just six assists to his name this season. The 27-year-old ranks sixth for key passes (71) in League Two in 2020/21 and the Shrimps will again look to him to provide the ammunition for the forwards at Wembley.
Central midfield: Josh Sheehan (Newport) – 6.86 rating
The final Newport representative in the XI, Josh Sheehan has provided four assists in League Two this season, the most recent of which was in a man-of-the-match showing against Forest Green. Sheehan has proven a tidy performer off the ball, with an average of 1.5 tackles and 0.9 interceptions per 90 helping the Newport midfielder to a WhoScored.com rating of 6.86.
Central midfield: Yann Songo’o (Morecambe) – 7.05 rating
It’s all Morecambe for the remaining five players in the combined XI, with Yann Songo’o first up. The Cameroonian has been a towering presence in the middle of the park for the Shrimps this season with his 5.4 aerial duels won per game ranking high in League Two. The 29-year-old isn’t afraid to get stuck in either as averages of 1.9 tackles, 1.6 interceptions and 1.8 fouls per 90 suggest.
Central midfield: Aaron Wildig (Morecambe) – 6.96 rating
Aaron Wildig scored his ninth league goal of the season in Morecambe’s 1-1 draw with Tranmere on Sunday and it may have been his most important yet. In total, Wildig has had a direct hand in four goals in his last five league outings and he comes into Monday’s clash with Newport in good form.
Left midfield: Liam Gibson (Morecambe) – 6.81 rating
Completing the midfield, Liam Gibson has reinforced a WhoScored.com strength of ‘tackling’ and then some over the course of the season. A return of 4.1 tackles per 90 is the best in League Two in 2020/21, while 1.8 interceptions per 90 is also a solid return for the 24-year-old, who’ll be crucial for Morecambe on Monday.
Striker: Cole Stockton (Morecambe) – 6.90 rating
Cole Stockton is ending the season strongly and has now scored 13 league goals this season. Of those, six have come in his last 10 outings and while he was unable to net against Tranmere, he’s still a goal threat that will go all out to put Newport to the sword to book a spot in League One next season.
Striker: Carlos Mendes Gomes (Morecambe) – 6.98
Morecambe’s top scorer this season rounds off the XI. Carlos Mendes Gomes has netted 15 league goals in 2020/21, while an additional five assists means he has had a direct hand in 27.8 per cent of their total league goals this season. A 20 per cent conversion rate is the sixth-best of the 65 players to muster 50 or more shots in League Two and Morecambe will look to the Spaniard to fire them to promotion at Wembley.
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