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Hull City v Sheffield Wednesday - the £170m game: Ultimate Sky Bet Championship play-off final guide

Abel Hernandez's Hull and Fernando Forestieri's Sheffield Wednesday will do battle at Wembley in the Championship play-off final

As Hull and Sheffield Wednesday prepare to do battle for a place in the Premier League, we bring you the ultimate guide to the Sky Bet Championship play-off final - live on Sky Sports.

Saturday's Wembley showdown has been billed as the '£170m match' with a spot among England's elite, as well as unrivalled riches, waiting for the victor at the end of the 90 minutes or more.

Steve Bruce's Tigers will be looking for an instant return to the Premier League after being relegated at the end of the 2014/15 season while Carlos Carvalhal's Owls have been absent from the top flight since the 1999/00 campaign. 

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So how did they make it to Wembley, who is available for the game and what does Sky Sports Football League expert Ian Holloway have to say? Read on to find out...

How did they get here?

The two sides had differing seasons, with Hull sitting pretty in the automatic places until as late as February before slipping into the play-off spots while Sheffield Wednesday surged into sixth and held off the likes of Cardiff and Ipswich to seal sixth place and a shot at promotion. 

Andrew Robertson (26) and Jake Livermore (14) of Hull City celebrate victory at Derby with team mates, Sky Bet Championship play-offs
Image: Andrew Robertson, Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone celebrate after the first-leg at the iPro Stadium.

The Tigers faced Derby in their semi-final and stormed into a 3-0 lead during the first leg at the iPro Stadium with goals from Abel Hernandez, Andrew Robertson and a Jason Shackell own goal. 

And though the Rams came storming back into the tie at the KC Stadium, taking a 2-0 half-time lead after Johnny Russell and Robertson's own goal, they failed to find an elusive third. 

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final second leg between Hull City and Derby County.

It was a similar story for Wednesday, who dominated Brighton in the first leg thanks to great strikes from Ross Wallace and Kieran Lee but were given a scare early on by their opponents during the return fixture at the Amex Stadium.

Sheffield Wednesday's Ross Wallace scores the opening goal against Brighton
Image: Ross Wallace set Sheffield Wednesday en route to victory against Brighton

The Seagulls controlled the opening period but though Lewis Dunk finally pulled one back to raise hopes of a fightback, Wallace restored Wednesday's two-goal aggregate cushion nine minutes later and it proved enough.  

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final second leg between Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday.

Play-off previous 

Hull's last play-off appearance came in the 2007/08 season where they were promoted to the Premier League following a 1-0 victory over Bristol City at Wembley after Tigers legend Dean Windass scored his now-famous 38th minute volley.

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Highlights of the 2008 Championship play-off final between Bristol City and Hull.

Prior to that, Hull had lost in the 2001/02 Division Three play-off semi-final to Leyton Orient, but will be making their fourth visit to Wembley in the last eight years - their last being the 3-2 FA Cup final defeat against Arsenal in May 2014.

Sheffield Wednesday are yet to play at the new Wembley, but are unbeaten in their last five appearances in the play-offs. Their previous campaign came in the 2004/05 season where they were promoted to the Championship after beating Hartlepool 4-2 in the League One play-off final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. 


    These two could not be separated in the regular season, with both league meetings ending level. The sides drew 1-1 at Hillsborough in October with star strikers Fernando Forestieri and Abel Hernandez on the scoresheet - the latter accidentally injuring referee Keith Stroud - while the reverse fixture at the KC Stadium produced a stalemate.

    Saturday will see the 50th meeting between Hull and Sheffield Wednesday and the Owls edge the overall record, winning 20 games to the Tigers' 11, with 18 draws.

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    Highlights of the Championship play-off semi-final first leg between Derby and Hull at the iPro Stadium.

    The managers

    Steve Bruce could become the first ever manager to win four promotions to the Premier League, having previously done so twice with Birmingham - once via the play-offs - and having steered Hull to automatic promotion at the end of his first season in charge in 2013.

    But the former Manchester defender is sure his own experience - and that of his players over the last few seasons - will stand them in good stead. 

    Steve Bruce of Hull City
    Image: Steve Bruce could win promotion for the fourth time in his managerial career - more than anyone else.

    "I've been fortunate, near enough to 1,000 (games) as a player and something like 800 as a manager and in among that lot I've had a few big games," Bruce said.

    "We've got a squad that has been there (Wembley) before in the last couple of years; let's hope that's a bit of an advantage. We've got some good players and let's hope we can achieve what we want to achieve."

    That is in stark contrast to Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal - whom Bruce admitted he had not heard of ahead of his appointment in June 2015  - but the Owls boss has had play-off success in his homeland, winning promotion to the Portuguese top flight with Vitoria Setubal in 2003/04.

    Sheffield Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal during the Sky Bet Championship match at the KC Stadium, Hull.
    Image: Sheffield Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal was relatively unknown when he arrived at Hillsborough.

    Carvalhal has certainly made himself known after a stellar season with the Owls and has - in his own words - "awoken the giant". 

    "We have achieved something. I remember we was in 19th in the league, so we have grown together - me, the staff, the owner and the fans like a team," Carvalhal said after the semi-final second leg.

    "The self-confidence of the club is much higher this season. The club was sleeping and we have woken up the giant. The final is something that we deserve but it's not finished yet."

    Team news

    Bruce has confirmed goalkeeper Allan McGregor (back) will not recover in time to feature with Eldin Jakupovic the man to take his place, but every other outfield player is fit and in contention.

    Manchester United loanee Nick Powell remains an absentee due to a thigh problem with David Meyler, Sam Clucas, Harry Maguire and Arsenal loanee Chuba Akpom among those pushing for recalls to the starting line-up.

    Eldin Jakupovic was excellent for Hull
    Image: Eldin Jakupovic is set to start between the posts for Hull

    Carvalhal says his players are "fresh and ready to go" - but the Owls boss faces a midfield dilemma.

    Alex Lopez partnered Kieran Lee at the Amex but was substituted at half-time in the second leg, with Sam Hutchinson catching the eye. 

    On loan Aiden McGeady has been deemed surplus to requirements and has already met up with the Republic of Ireland squad to begin preparations for Euro 2016.

    Ian Holloway's key men

    Hull City - Moses Odubajo

    Moses Odubajo gets away from Jake Bidwell
    Image: Moses Odubajo is Hull City's key man, according to Ollie

    "He was sensational in the first-leg against Derby and is progressing into a top-class attacking full-back. He reminds me of Seamus Coleman, who I had at Blackpool. The way he flies up and down the wing will give Sheffield Wednesday all sorts of problems."

    Sheffield Wednesday - Fernando Forestieri

    Sheffield Wednesday v Brighton & Hove Albion - Sky Bet Football League Championship Play-Off Semi Final First Leg
    Image: Fernando Forestieri could be key for Sheffield Wednesday, thinks Ian Holloway

    "He links the play between midfield and attack. He's so crucial to the way Sheffield Wednesday play. There's so much talent in his boots - Premier League level. I can't believe Watford let him go. I've thoroughly enjoyed watching him play this season and the crowd love him. It's a match made in heaven."

    Match stats

    Sheffield Wednesday players celebrate after the Sky Bet Championship Play Off semi final at Brighton
    Image: Sheffield Wednesday players celebrate after the Sky Bet Championship Play Off semi final at Brighton.

    It is the first time the second tier play-off final has been contested by two Yorkshire clubs.

    It is 5,859 days since Sheffield Wednesday's last Premier League game - a 4-0 final day win v Leicester at Hillsborough on May 14, 2000 (relegation had been confirmed in the previous game).

    Hull go into the game having won five of their last eight games (D1 L2).

    Sheffield Wednesday's only defeat in last seven games was 2-1 to Wolves on the Championship's final day, having made 10 changes from their previous game.

    Sheffield Wednesday are making their first appearance at Wembley since the 92-93 season, when they played at the stadium on four occasions (W1 D1 L2), including losing both the League Cup and FA Cup finals to Arsenal.


    Hull are 5/4 favourites with Football League sponsor Sky Bet to secure promotion within 90 minutes as Sheffield Wednesday are rated 12/5 outsiders, while the clash is 21/10 to go to added time. With both league meetings ending in draws, promotion to be settled in extra-time is a 6/1 chance while a penalty shoot-out is considered a real possibility at 7/2.

    Abel Hernandez, who has four goals from his last five appearances, heads the first goalscorer betting at 4/1 while Fernando Forestieri and Gary Hooper are considered the Owls' main threats at 6/1 apiece

    Ollie's verdict

    "Will it be the experience and strength in depth that Hull City have in abundance that will shine on the day or will it be the surprise package in Sheffield Wednesday, who have a little bit more flair about them? I can't wait to find out. It's going to be a fascinating game. 

    Sheffield Wednesday's Ross Wallace (centre) celebrates scoring his side's first goal
    Image: Sheffield Wednesday's Ross Wallace celebrates scoring the opening goal against Brighton at Hillsborough.

    "I've just got a sneaky feeling Wednesday, who believe they're on the way back, will be celebrating in the Wembley sunshine on Saturday after a dramatic extra-time victory." 

    OLLIE PREDICTS: 1-1 (Sky Bet odds 6/1) with Sheffield Wednesday to in extra-time (12/1)

    Watch the Championship play-off final on Sky Sports 1 HD from 4pm on Saturday, May 28 - or follow with our live blog on and the Sky Sports apps.

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