Salford secured the highest finish in their history during the regular season, amassing 75 points, which meant they finished in seventh place, ahead of Mansfield Town courtesy of their marginally better defensive record.
The Ammies just about scraped into the playoffs, as they did not make things easy for themselves on the final day of the season, losing 1-0 at home against Gillingham in a match where they never really looked like scoring.
That said, Neil Wood’s side have chalked up some very impressive victories in recent weeks, defeating fifth-placed Carlisle United 3-2 on the road courtesy of Luke Bolton’s late winner, also beating Walsall by the same scoreline after a 97th-minute Matthew Lund goal.
One concern Wood may have heading into the home leg of their playoff semi-final is that his side have struggled at the Peninsula Stadium all season, picking up just 35 points from 23 games on home soil, the 14th-best record in the fourth tier.
Salford have lost three of their last four games at home, with the solitary victory coming against 23rd-placed Hartlepool United, which does not bode well heading into a game of this magnitude, against quality opposition.
Indeed, Stockport were very impressive during the regular season, particularly in the second half of the campaign, picking up 48 points in their last 25 matches, five more than any other team in the league managed during that time period.
The Hatters came close to securing automatic promotion, and they still had a chance of finishing third on the final day, but they were unable to beat Hartlepool at home, although Northampton Town winning away at Tranmere Rovers meant three points would not have been enough anyway.
Manager Dave Challinor will still be content with a fourth-placed finish in the club’s first season back in the EFL, and he will be hoping his players can continue their fantastic form into the playoffs, having lost just one of their last 20 League Two matches.
Stockport were undefeated against Salford during the regular season, drawing 1-1 at home in the most recent encounter at the end of March and winning 2-0 at the Peninsula Stadium back in October, courtesy of goals from Will Collar and Paddy Madden.