Hull City - Sheffield Wednesday Championship Play-off Final Preview: The £200 million match

It will be the first time two Yorkshire clubs have met in a second tier playoff final.

Hull City - Sheffield Wednesday Championship Play-off Final Preview: The £200 million match
The two teams drew in each meeting this season

The prize is simple...a place in the Premier League for the 2016/17 season. Yet the match will mean so much more to players, fans and board members alike. 

Returning to the Promised Land

Both Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday have tasted the sweet experience of Premier League football, with the former only dropping out of the top tier last season, whilst the latter are looking to return after sixteen years in the wilderness. 

Steve Bruce's Hull have spent much of this season's campaign within touching distance of the top Championship teams, but a string of inconsistent performances at the turn of the year cut them adrift of Middlesbrough, Burnley and Brighton who continued the fight for automatic promotion. The Tigers' season could not have been portrayed any better than their semi-final encounter with Derby County. A phenomenal away performance gave them a seemingly unassailable 3-0 advantage to take to the KC stadium, before a dreadful display tinged with nerves and mistakes let Derby back into the contest before the Rams fell just short.

Whilst Hull spent much of the season eyeing automatic promotion, Sheffield Wednesday had their sights firmly set on sneaking into the playoffs. An excellent run of form at the latter end of the campaign that saw the Owls lose just one of their last seven games, where they made ten changes on the last day of the season, saw them earn sixth place before seeing off a Brighton team who only missed out on a Premier League berth on the last day of the season.

A day to remember

A trip to Wembley is not a regular occurrence for many fans who do not follow one of the top teams in England and it will be a day to remember for those travelling to London from Yorkshire on Saturday. For one club it will be the elation of a season in the Premier League, whilst the other will have to start all over again in the Championship next season. With a windfall of around £200 million at stake for the winner, there is no game quite like it. Even the Champions League Final later that day will not provide the same financial revenue for the winners.

Both clubs possess plenty of big game experience within their ranks. Hull manager Steve Bruce has already overseen a playoff final success, whilst his squad will comprise of eight players who experienced the FA Cup Final against Arsenal two years ago. The Tigers have also enjoyed and endured four Wembley outings in eight years.

Sheffield Wednesday may go into he match as underdogs, but manager Carlos Carvahal has experienced two UEFA Cup campaigns, whilst possessing a squad that includes a number of players who have graced the top flight both in England and abroad.

Both games ended in draws earlier in the season (photo: Getty Images)
Both games ended in draws earlier in the season (photo: Getty Images)

A tight contest in store

There is not much to choose between the two clubs who will set foot on the Wembley turf this Saturday evening. Both meetings this season resulted in draws and each team has similar players across the park. Tom Lees provides a difficult man to beat in defence for Sheffield Wednesday, whilst Michael Dawson and Curtis Davies are just as strong for Hull. Barry Bannan, Tom Huddlestone and Robert Snodgrass possess the keys to open the respective opposition's defence, whilst the likes of Fernando Foriesteri, Gary Hooper and Abel Hernandez are capable of finding the back of the net at any moment.

Hull arguably possess the greater individual talents but have been inconsistent with their performances as their playoff semi-finals show, whilst Sheffield Wednesday are more of a team and have less injury concerns to contend with. Only Aiden McGeady is missing after joining up with the Republic of Ireland Euro 2016 squad, whilst Steve Bruce is without goalkeeper Allan McGregor and Nick Powell.

Hull City go into the match as slight favourites with the bookmakers, but do not be surprised to see a tight contest go all the way to a penalty shootout at Wembley on Saturday evening.