Matthew Crichton: First and foremost, how does it feel to have achieved survival in League One?
Tom Collins: It feels unbelievable! Fivethirtyeight.com had us with a 90% chance of relegation a few weeks ago and we’ve literally gone against the odds.
At the start of the season, we were managerless with just 3 contracted players with one of the lowest budgets in League One. We since lost our manager mid-season and still managed to survive. It’s been a huge effort from everyone, and I’m delighted we get another shot at League One next season.
Although we have never been relegated in over 101 years, so perhaps it was never in doubt?
MC: In a game that lacked quality overall, it was won by a moment of magic by Nathan Broadhead - what were your thoughts on his goal?
TC: I was impressed with his technical ability in the game at The Stadium of Light and he took his goal very well on Saturday.
Rhys Bennett will be annoyed with himself for how he mistimed his interception. You can’t give Broadhead that kind of chance! It’ll be interesting to see if you can keep hold of him, as I’ve heard he’s highly rated at Everton.
MC: Morecambe failed to create any clear-cut chances, but you did have a penalty shout late on when Aaron Wildig went down - did you feel this was a penalty?
TC: I must admit, I’m struggling to remember it now so it can’t have been that clearcut!
Perhaps the emotion of the day clouded my judgement somewhat.
MC: Sunderland managed to secure a playoff spot with the victory - which of Alex Neil’s side impressed you most and why?
TC: Corry Evans in the middle of the park dictated play well, then Pritchard found some useful spaces high up the pitch and Roberts showed some lovely technical ability.
I said after our game at The Stadium of Light, that you have players who should be playing Championship football and I still feel that’s the case.
MC: Ourselves, Sheffield Wednesday, MK Dons and Wycombe will compete for a spot in the Championship. Who would you put your money on?
TC: It’s tough, isn’t it? Now that we’ve secured safety, I can sit back and soak up these amazing matchups without the stress. My gut had said Sheffield Wednesday, but now I’m not so sure! I’ve heard a whisper that Barry Bannan may be a question mark for being fit for the playoffs. This would be a huge blow for them!
Scott Twine scoring four against a quality Plymouth side makes you sit up and take note. He genuinely looks Premier League level and it’s that bit of magic that can separate these close tense games.
No one will talk about Ainsworth’s Wycombe so they may be underestimated. They have terrific home form, and they can be very tough to play against. Once they have a lead, they’ll do absolutely everything to hold onto it.
You’ve got every chance, but I do worry if Broadhead is injured. You looked solid defensively but didn’t test Trevor Carson an awful lot. Perhaps Aidan McGeady is fit just at the right time? What I will say is your support was superb coming to The Mazuma. You didn’t cause any bother or create any ill feeling, so I wish you all the best on your hunt for promotion.
That being said, I’m going to stick with Wednesday for my prediction. I went to watch them at Fleetwood and there seems to be a momentum building with them.
MC: Ex-Sunderland goalkeeper Trevor Carson has enjoyed a productive loan spell at Morecambe - would you like to see him stay permanently?
TC: Yes, but I’m not sure he will. He’s been terrific and a big factor in us staying up. He’s made big saves and be a steady influence for us, bringing in a wealth of experience.
MC: What was your overall assessment of the match and your season as a whole?
TC: It was a strange match because it became almost immaterial with results going in our favour in other parts of the country. I enjoyed its competitive nature, but it did lack end product to make it a truly entertaining spectacle. Both sets of fans were brilliant though.
As for the season, we’ve had our moments of doubt, but we’ve pulled off a huge achievement to stay up in League One. I hope this can be the catalyst for further progression on and off the pitch.
Best of luck for the playoffs!