Brentford vs Fulham preview: A place in the Premier League on the line in Championship play-off final
Thomas Frank could lead Brentford to the Premier League for the first time in their history on Tuesday | Photo by Catherine Ivill - Getty Images

Brentford and Fulham will face off in the Championship play-off final on Tuesday, with the prize a place in the Premier League.

The two west London sides finished level on points, 81, in the Championship regular season and both squeezed through their semi-finals, so there is little to separate the teams.

It's the best way to get promoted and the worst way to miss out - here’s our preview ahead of Tuesday evening’s final.

Team news

Luckily for Brentford, they have no fresh injury concerns going into the game.

The starting XI seems settled - perhaps the one place up for grabs, though, is in central midfield. Emiliano Marcondes replaced Josh Dasilva for the second leg of Brentford’s semi-final against Swansea City, and we expect the former to start at Wembley.

Fulham will be praying Championship Golden Boot winner Aleksander Mitrovic is fit after the 26-goal forward missed both semi-final games against Cardiff City with a hamstring injury. He faces a race against time to make the final.

Star of the semis Neeskans Kebano is also in a fight to be fit for the game after being forced off at half time of the second leg with a hamstring injury.

Predicted lineups

Brentford (possible 4-3-3): Raya - Dalsgaard, Jansson, Pinnock, Henry - Marcondes, Norgaard, Jensen - Mbeumo, Watkins, Benrahma.

Fulham (possible 4-2-3-1): Rodak - Christie, Hector, Ream, Byran - Reed, Cairney - Knockaert, Onomah, Kebano - Mitrovic.

Form

Brentford were in poor form going into the play-offs, losing their last two games of the regular season - 1-0 away to Stoke City and 2-1 at home to Barnsley - meaning they missed out on automatic promotion.

The Bees lost the first leg of their play-off semi-final against Swansea 1-0, but raced out the blocks in the second leg and eventually won 3-2 on aggregate after a late wobble.

Fulham themselves just missed out on automatic promotion after picking up 17 point from the last 21 available in the normal season, but scraped through their play-off semifinal against Cardiff.

Scott Parker’s side eased to a comfortable 2-0 win in the first leg but lost 2-1 in the second, finding themselves holding on for dear life at the end.

Ones to watch

As always, Brentford’s ‘BMW’ - their front line of Said Benrahma, Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins - will prove to be vital.

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The trio can cause any defence problems on their day, and Mbeumo and Watkins in particular will be high on confidence after both netting in the second leg semifinal win against Swansea.

If Mitrovic is fit, he will provide a big boost to Scott Parker. He is key to Fulham’s play, and is the go-to man for the goals in the Cottagers’ team.

Previous meetings

It was Brentford who came out on top between the two teams in the league games, winning 1-0 at Griffin Park and 2-0 at Craven Cottage.

That could prove to be a huge psychological advantage for the Bees, but they mustn’t take it for granted.

And it’s Fulham who edge the record books in history between the two teams. They’ve won 22 of the 60 games between the sides with Brentford coming out on top in 21 occasions. There have also been 17 draws.

Where to watch on TV

In the UK, the game will be live on Sky Sports on both the ‘Main Event’ and ‘Football’ channels.

The game can also be purchased via Now TV. 

Kick off is at 19:45 BST.

What the managers have said 

Brentford manager Thomas Frank seemed calm and focused on the job at hand when speaking via the Evening Standard recently.

He said: “It’s all about, when you play a final or a decisive game, focus on your job or your task as a player. Focus on what you can do something about and not all the other bits, that’s what we’ve talked a lot about.

“They have more experience in their squad to play a game like this than us but through 48 games we are toe-to-toe again. We ended on the same points, the only difference was the goal difference and yes, we beat them twice, and that can give us some confidence but we know we play a final and it’s a different story. We need to go in confident but humble.”

Fulham boss Scott Parker was confident when speaking to the club’s website on Monday. 

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He said: “We’ll go about our business in a professional way, play our way and really put a stamp on the game, and give yourself an opportunity to win the match. That’s what we’ll be doing.

“They’re a good side, we understand that, but at the same time I fully believe in what we’re doing, I fully believe in my squad, I fully believe in the occasion and where we’re going to have to go in terms of the game to get a result.

“I firmly believe my players can do that, so that’s exactly how I see the dynamics of this football match panning out.”

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