Talking Points: Championship play-off final preview

Date published: Sunday 28th May 2017 4:18

Reading and Huddersfield meet in the Championship play-off final at Wembley on Monday, with the winner earning a place in the Premier League.

Here, we take a look at some of the talking points ahead of the battle to join Newcastle and Brighton in the top flight.

You can follow all of the build-up and live action via our Score Centre.

SHOW ME THE MONEY

Football finance experts Deloitte estimate an additional revenue of at least £170million for whichever team makes it to the Premier League, spread across the next three campaigns. Should either club then go on to retain top-flight status, that figure would spiral to £290million.

The prize on offer for taking a place among the elite of English football, even if just for a passing visit, is clear – but so are the pitfalls of overspending in an attempt to stay up, only for it to all go horribly wrong in 2017/18.

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

The play-off finals have a history of showing anything can happen – whether it be the hat-trick from Charlton’s Clive Mendonca against hometown club Sunderland, Manchester City’s remarkable late show to see off Gillingham, the rocket from Dean Windass which secured hometown club Hull a first promotion to the Premier League or Bobby Zamora’s last-gasp winner to send QPR back up and leave Derby crestfallen.

You never know what the 90 minutes, or indeed extra-time and possibly even a penalty shoot-out, may bring.

WHO CAN HANDLE THE PRESSURE?

yann kermorgant reading

Given the rewards, players who have taken their leagues apart during the regular season have often failed to deliver when it matters most. Yann Kermorgant has bagged 19 goals for the Royals and Elias Kachunga 14 for Huddersfield, so the scoring onus could be on both.

Terriers boss David Wagner is determined to keep his men “independent from the circumstances” of the “once in a lifetime chance” and wants them to play the game, rather than the occasion. However, that has often proved easier said than done.

WHAT NEXT FOR WAGNER AND STAM?

Huddersfield boss David Wagner 3

Wagner’s achievements in leading unfashionable Huddersfield to within a game of a return to England’s elite have not gone unnoticed, with the former Borussia Dortmund II coach linked to plenty of other jobs.

He may brush off the speculation but the headlines are unlikely to go away – win or lose at Wembley. Reading boss Jaap Stam, meanwhile, is also being touted as ready to step into a Premier League post – with or without the Royals.

The Dutch former Manchester United defender has said: “I don’t think the result will impact my future. I’ve got a contract and I’m happy here.” Will he still feel the same on Tuesday morning?

Remember, you can follow all of the build-up and live action via our Score Centre. 

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