League One Play-Off Final - Millwall - Barnsley preview: Lions and Tykes battle for Championship berth

Millwall take on Barnsley at Wembley in the League One playoff final on Sunday.

League One Play-Off Final - Millwall - Barnsley preview: Lions and Tykes battle for Championship berth
Image credit: Millwall - YouTube

Millwall and Barnsley will battle it out in the League One playoff final at Wembley, with both looking for a return to the second tier.

The road to Wembley

Barnsley have certainly had the tougher road to get to this point in the season, as they were sitting bottom of League One back in December. However, just three defeats in 2016 jhas seen Paul Heckingbottom's side sneak into the playoffs through the back door.

Despite this incredible run it was only on goal difference that they pipped Scunthorpe United to 6th place. courtesy of a final day 4-1 win at champions, Wigan Athletic. As for the playoffs themselves, it was surprisingly easy for the Yorkshire outfit as they brushed aside Walsall 6-1 on aggregate; a team who only just missed out on automatic promotion.

Meanwhile, for Millwall, it was a slightly simpler task to earn a third trip down the new Wembley way. Neil Harris's team have been in and around the top six all season. Then, courtesy of a great end to the campaign, they finished fourth by winning their last four games.

Also like final opponents Barnsley, they found it pretty easy going in the playoffs as they knocked off Bradford City 4-2 on aggregate in their semi-final. The hard work was done in the first leg thanks to a 3-1 away win at Valley Parade.

Will Barnsley be marching up the Wembley steps victorious for the second time in a few months? | Image source: BBC
Will Barnsley be marching up the Wembley steps victorious for the second time in a few months? | Image source: BBC

Regular season meetings

Barnsley may well hold the mental edge going into this final, as they won both meetings in the regular season after a 3-2 win at The Den in August, which was followed up by a 2-1 victory at Oakwell in January. Ultimately though, this should matter little in such a huge occasion and on a pitch like Wembley where the game is bound to be more open.

Recent Wembley records

Neither of these two teams are strangers to playing big games at the New Wembley since it's opening in 2007. For Millwall. this will be their third playoff final under the arch - all at League One level - with one win and one lossIS their record; manager Harris played in the Lions victory over Swindon Town in 2010. 

As for Barnsley, they were at the national stadium just six weeks ago for the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final where they beat Oxford United 3-2. Like Millwall, though, they have also tasted defeat at Wembley when they lost an all-Championship FA Cup semi-final there, 1-0 to Cardiff City back in 2008.

Team News

The only player doubtful for the Wembley clash on either team is Millwall defender Byron Webster who is struggling with a hamstring injury picked up in the second leg against Bradford.