It may have been a ‘rubbish’ game in their manager’s own words but Coventry City’s goalless draw against Morecambe on Saturday afternoon ensured the Sky Blues a spot in the play-offs while also ensuring safety in the division for their opponents.
Notts County now await in a two-legged semi-final which takes place at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday evening followed by a Friday night date by the River Trent.
The Magpies probably go in as slight favourites given some of the experienced names they have at their disposal but it looks a closely-matched affair and comes on the back of a gruelling 46-game season.
Mark Robins has said at various points throughout the campaign that he feels he has the best team in League Two and making the play-offs would probably have been the minimum he would have expected from the season.
From a club point of view, however, getting over the line and into the top seven does represent an achievement above and beyond being the first time that the Sky Blues have ever made the play-offs.
It should represent a line in the sand after last season’s relegation to say that the bottom has now been reached and progress can be made, regardless of the outcome of the upcoming matches.
That wasn’t a given this time last year as City dropped out of League One (look at Sunderland and Chesterfield suffering back-to-back relegations) after a disastrous league campaign marred by poor recruitment, managerial mayhem and the continuing uncertainty over the club’s future at the Ricoh Arena.
To some degree or another those problems have been addressed if not eliminated altogether.
Recruitment, from day one after relegation, has been much sharper although the man responsible alongside Robins has now left the club.
The manager himself is at home at this club and unlikely to be headhunted again as he was by Huddersfield during his first spell. You never know in football, of course, but Robins will surely be here for the foreseeable future.
And although the Ricoh question remains prominent, the recent announcement about the club’s academy staying put was very welcome indeed.