Championship Play-Offs: Race For Promotion To The Premier League

Russell Martin
Russell Martin lifting the 2015 Championship play-off trophy at Wembley Stadium, London, May 25, 2015. Last year Norwich won but who will gain promotion this season? GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty

Regarded as the most lucrative win in football, the Championship play-off final give the four contenders a lot to fight for.

A windfall of around £120 million is pocketed by the winner, plus a share of the Premier League's television deal, worth £5.14 billion, which comes into effect from the start of next season.

Brighton and Hove Albion and Sheffield Wednesday face off for a place in the final at Wembley Stadium on May 29, with Hull City and Derby County in the other semi-final.

Brighton vs Sheffield Wednesday

Brighton's 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough on the final day of the season saw the north east club promoted ahead of the Seagulls on goal difference, leaving the seaside club's only route up through the play-offs.

Promotion would see Albion enter the top-flight for the first time in 33 years, while sixth-place Sheffield Wednesday were relegated from the Premier League in 2000 and have failed to return since.

Undefeated in 14 matches, Chris Hughton's Brighton is the form side heading into the match, whereas Wednesday stumbled into the play-offs with just one win in the last six games.

Albion has recent history of making it to the last four without ever getting to Wembley. Knocked out by Derby County in 2014 and rivals Crystal Palace the year before, Brighton will be hoping it's third time lucky.

First leg: Sheffield Wednesday vs Brighton—Friday, May 13 at Hillsborough Stadium.

Second leg: Brighton vs Sheffield Wednesday—Monday, May 16 at The AmEx Stadium.



Sheffield Wednesday—4/1

Hull City vs Derby County

Having only been relegated from the Premier League in the summer of 2015, like Championship winners Burnley, Hull City could be looking at an instant return to the top flight.

Steve Bruce's side battled for the automatic promotion places throughout the season, but two wins in 12 matches between February and April saw the Tigers fall away.

But with Abel Hernandez, the Hull forward who has 20 goals in the league, Bruce's side will provide a threat to a Derby team that has kept one clean sheet in six matches.

For Derby, the sacking of Paul Clement as manager in February saw the Rams return to form and secure a play-off position.

Darren Wassall took charge of the first team at Pride Park, having been promoted from academy director, and the 47-year-old could be installed full-time should he lead Derby to the top tier.

With Chris Martin and Tom Ince in the ranks, Derby is capable of reaching its second play-off final in two years. In 2014, Bobby Zamora scored a last minute goal for Queens Park Rangers to quash the Rams' play-off hopes.

First leg: Derby County vs Hull City—May 14 at Pride Park.

Second leg: Hull City vs Derby County—May 17 at The KC Stadium.


Hull City —5/2

Derby County—14/5