STUART McCall admits to two reasons why he will be backing Exeter to win promotion to League One tonight.

Exeter and Northampton will contest the first play-off final to be staged behind closed doors at Wembley.

It pits Nicky Law against Mark Marshall – two of McCall’s City team who suffered heartbreak against Millwall three years ago.

Northampton replicated City’s comeback heroics of 1996 to reach the final after losing 2-0 at home to Cheltenham in their play-off home leg.

But McCall will be rooting for Exeter, managed by former Bantams centre half Matt Taylor, to edge through for purely selfish reasons.

He said: “I can’t really decide between them but I want to see Exeter go up, only for the travelling next season and the fact I’ve got a good record at Northampton.

“As soon as someone mentions Northampton to me, I always think of (Tony) McMahon’s free-kick and little Marsh coming on second half and us winning 2-1 in front of all the City fans on New Year’s Day.

“You’ve got Marshy and Lawsy going back to Wembley – at least this time one of them will be smiling unlike last time."

Northampton are only the third club after City and Yeovil to overturn a two-goal deficit in the semi-finals. McCall admitted he never saw it coming following Cheltenham’s initial away win.

“I thought they should have enough after the first leg,” added the City boss. “Northampton threw a lot of balls into the box but never really threatened the goal that much.

“But you know in those games that if you get the first goal anything can happen. Just like Bradford did at Blackpool.

“I remember going away from the first leg at Valley Parade in ’96 thinking that Blackpool had just bullied them and couldn’t see a turnaround. But then you get that first goal and the doubts appear.

“Northampton have got a way of playing but the key thing is to be effective at what you do.

“Certainly in the second leg, they did that. They got the balls in the box, long throw-ins and Cheltenham couldn’t deal with it.

“Obviously, Wembley is a bigger pitch but they’ll still be able to throw the ball in. It depends on the quality.

“Exeter play a little bit more football but it’s about who turns up on the day.

“I was disappointed not to see Marsh come on in the semi-finals because he’s certainly got quality. But who knows, maybe he’ll get a chance at Wembley?”

McCall’s close links with Law have inevitably raised speculation of a fourth spell at City. But the midfielder still has another year left on the deal he signed for Exeter after being released in the summer of 2018.

McCall said: “Lawsy has done well since he moved down there. He’s got good ability but you always need to keep producing an end product.

“It’s the same with any middle to forward player. When you’re asked to go and open teams up, it’s all right looking good but you’ve got to make sure the passes are clinical.

“The only game I saw live at this level before coming back here was when Bradford played Exeter at Valley Parade.

“Exeter played some really good football but couldn’t hit the target."