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Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Aldershot, Ebbsfleet and Halifax could all be on their way up

Ebbsfleet fans could be celebrating
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Gary Waddock led Aldershot to promotion to the Football League in 2007-08 in the first season of his first spell as the club's manager and he can repeat the feat by steering the Shots to glory in the 2017 National League playoffs.

Last summer Waddock returned to Aldershot with the aim of turning around the fortunes of a club who had finished in the bottom half of the fifth tier for three successive seasons.

It looked a long-term project but Waddock's young side have taken off in the second half of the season and go into their semi-final against Tranmere aiming to extend a 12-match unbeaten run.

Tranmere finished second on 95 points and were the only team to give champions Lincoln a decent run for their money.

Having had such an impressive season, Rovers can feel hard done by if they don't go up.

But their semi-final with Aldershot looks very tough to call and there is a value case for siding with the Shots in the promotion betting.

Forest Green's semi-final with Dagenham and Redbridge also looks finely balanced because neither club has convinced in the closing weeks of the season.

Confidence in the Rovers camp has been dented by a three-game winless sequence but the Daggers have been inconsistent and haven't won more than two games in a row since February.

Neither is playing like a team destined for promotion and it seems more likely the playoff winner will come from the Tranmere v Aldershot semi-final.

Ebbsfleet look the outstanding team in the National League South playoffs and deserve their position at the top of the betting.

The Kent side face seventh-placed Hampton and Richmond in the semi-final because the stadiums of fifth-placed Poole and sixth-placed Hungerford were judged to fall beneath the specifications required for fifth-tier football.

Hampton were 27 points inferior to Ebbsfleet in the final table and will struggle to bridge the gap in class over the two legs.

Should they qualify, Ebbsfleet are guaranteed to play the final at home and they are likely to be too strong for the winners of Dartford v Chelmsford.

The National League North playoff battle could go the way of Halifax, who are bidding to recover the fifth-tier status they lost last year.

Kidderminster are the favourites but look too short given the difficulty of their tricky semi-final against sixth-placed Chorley.

Halifax's semi-final against Salford could also go either way.

Both are on a three-match winning sequence but the team with the better promotion credentials are Halifax, who have taken 22 points from the last 27 available.

Recommendations
Aldershot to win National League playoffs
1pt 11-2 Betway
Ebbsfleet to win National League South playoffs
2pts Evs Betway
Halifax to win National League North playoffs
1pt 9-4 general

Should they qualify, Ebbsfleet are guaranteed to play the final at home and they are likely to be too strong for the winners of Dartford v Chelmsford
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