OXFORD United are the latest in a long line of teams to reach the play-offs in back-to-back years – but few have made it second time lucky.

The end-of-season competition was introduced for the 1986/87 campaign and the U’s are the 23rd third-tier team to qualify after falling short 12 months earlier.

But only seven have gained promotion at the second attempt, a feat United are attempting to match in the next fortnight.

Tranmere Rovers were the first to do it, making up for their defeat to Notts County in the 1990 final by seeing off Bolton Wanderers in 1991.

Gillingham lost out to Manchester City in 1999 but beat Wigan Athletic the following year, while Cardiff City and Preston North End gained promotion in 2003 and 2015 after falling in the semi-finals 12 months earlier. 

Meanwhile, Millwall have twice gained promotion the season after they were beaten play-off finalists.

Karl Robinson: Pressure is off Oxford United against Blackpool

They lost to Scunthorpe United in 2009 but made up for it against Swindon Town in 2010, while in 2017 they overcame Bradford City a year after losing to Barnsley.

Charlton Athletic were the most recent team to achieve the feat, going out to Shrewsbury Town in the 2018 semi-finals but beating Sunderland in the following season’s final.

U’s head coach Karl Robinson reached the play-offs in 2011 and 2012 with MK Dons, but did not reach the final in either season.