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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 May 2007, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Brown tips Exeter to win through
Non League
Former Aldershot boss Terry Brown tips Exeter to emerge from the Conference play-offs and regain their Football League status.

Brown, who stepped down in March, managed the Shots against all four clubs during the course of the season.

Exeter face Oxford in one semi-final and Brown told BBC Sport: "I'm going to go for Exeter all the way.

"The other semi-final between Morecambe and York is too close to call and I think it will go to penalties."

Oxford, York and Exeter are seeking a return to the Football League, with Morecambe trying to follow champions Dagenham and Redbridge and break new ground.

The winners will ultimately secure their promotion at Wembley with a guaranteed north versus south final scheduled for Sunday, 20 May.

Brown has plenty of Conference play-off experience, leading the Shots to the final in 2003/04 when they lost on penalties to Shrewsbury Town.

Twelve months later Brown's side lost out again to the eventual winners, with Carlisle edging out the Shots in the semi-finals.

Here, Brown gives his view on the two semi-finals to BBC Sport and gives his winning tip for the final itself.

OVERVIEW

"They will be two great ties and the play-offs are fantastic theatre. They are the best games I have been involved in.

"They will be full houses and the fans will love it. The atmosphere will be fantastic - not hostile but more celebratory.

"And in the semi-finals if one team dominates the first leg it does not mean they will dominate the second. They are like two completely different one-off games."

Exeter (5th) v Oxford (2nd)

First leg: St James' Park: Friday, May 4 (8pm)

Second leg: Kassam Stadium: Tuesday, May 8 (7.45pm)

TACTICS: "I think the key to this will be the forwards. I don't think either team has really taken enough of their chances.

"Oxford and Exeter both create a lot of chances but probably miss a clinical finisher.

"If either side had a Daryl Clare, Giuliano Grazioli or a Paul Benson you would fancy them.

"But I think Exeter have got a good chance playing the second leg away from home, where the pressure will be on Oxford.

"They have got the right man in Jim Smith to take that pressure off but sometimes playing the second leg away does ease the pressure.

"I felt that when we played Hereford (Aldershot won on penalties in 2004). We only drew there but I felt the pressure was on them."

KEY MEN: "If you allow Oxford's Andy Burgess to play he can hurt you. If you can stop him playing it could nullify a lot of their creativity.

"Striker Rob Duffy can also bully a back four so you have to try and stop that.

"Exeter is more of a team ethic. They work very hard but Lee Elam has had a fantastic year with Weymouth and then Exeter.

"He has proved a lot of people wrong and it wouldn't surprise me if he ended up in the team that wins promotion."

VERDICT: "I will chance my arm and go for Exeter."

York (4th) v Morecambe (3rd)

First leg: KitKat Crescent: Friday, May 4 (8pm)

Second leg: Christie Park: Monday, May 7 (5pm)

TACTICS: "They are both good footballing sides who like to get the ball down and play.

"Morecambe have the more technical players so they could edge it if it's a free and open game.

"But Billy (McEwan) is cute enough to make sure he does not allow that to happen to make sure York have got a chance.

"Both sides are more than capable of winning their home game. It will be interesting to see how York take it, playing at home first.

"I think both managers will be aware that the second game is what it's all about.

"When we were 1-0 up against Carlisle (in 2005) you never think that's enough and it didn't prove to be."

KEY MEN: "York striker Clayton Donaldson can cause all sorts of problems with his strength and pace.

"He can be a real handful and Morecambe need to take special care of him.

"Morecambe will be glad to have Michael Twiss back because he is another match-winner.

"Like Clayton Donaldson, he can change a game for you and both sides will be working hard to nullify those two individuals."

VERDICT: "There's not a lot to choose between either side and it's too close to call. I think it will go to penalties."

FINAL

"Whoever makes it, it should be a fantastic occasion at Wembley but I am going to go for Exeter to go all the way."

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