Most Read Football

Get all the latest football gossip from the day's back pages
1

Paper Talk: Wolves close on Marega

Three former players to decide Manchester United transfer targets - and a £30m striker heading to Wolves. Plenty more too in a bumper Thursday edition.

Romelu Lukaku
2

Lukaku odds-on for Inter move

Romelu Lukaku is odds-on to swap Manchester United for Inter Milan after growing reports in Italy suggest he will be the first target of prospective new manager Antonio Conte.

Newport v Tranmere in the Sky Bet League Two play-off final at Wembley3

Rovers to secure promotion

The first of the games on the Sky Bet EFL play-off weekends final comes from League Two, where Tom Carnduff is backing Tranmere to go up.

Get all the latest football gossip from the day's back pages4

Paper Talk: £105m Man United move

Man United willing to meet Joao Felix's £105m release clause, while Liverpool are eyeing a Bournemouth star, according to the back pages.

Sporting Life's Sky Bet Championship final guide for Aston Villa v Derby5

Aston Villa v Derby match guide

All you need to know for the Sky Bet Championship play-off final between Aston Villa and Derby at Wembley including team news, tips, predictions, stats and more.

Derby County v Aston Villa: Sky Bet Championship play-off final insight with Premier League place at stake

A general view of Wembley
A general view of Wembley

Aston Villa will face Derby for a place in the Premier League, after the Rams beat Leeds in an Elland Road thriller.

Report: Derby beat Leeds at Elland Road to set up Wembley meeting

Report: Aston Villa beat West Brom on penalties at The Hawthorns

A look at how the rivals who will shape up at Wembley on May 27...

Aston Villa

Aston Villa celebrate reaching the Sky Bet Championship play-off final
Aston Villa celebrate reaching the Sky Bet Championship play-off final
  • Manager - Dean Smith

The former Walsall and Brentford boss grew up in Birmingham and is an Aston Villa fan. He landed his dream job last October following the departure of Steve Bruce and managed to transform the club into promotion contenders. Villa won 10 successive matches for the first time in their history in March and April to cement their place in the play-offs.

  • Key players

Smith's squad has ability from back to front. Goalkeeper Jed Steer showed his worth in the semi-final win at West Brom while midfielder John McGinn has been a revelation during his first season at Villa Park. However, Jack Grealish is the stand out performer and could be in the Premier League next season regardless of whether it is with Villa or not. On-loan striker Tammy Abraham has scored 26 goals this season.

  • Play-off history

Villa spent 28 consecutive seasons in English football's top flight before their relegation from the Premier League in 2016. They were involved in the play-offs for the first time last year, reaching the final at Wembley where they were beaten 1-0 by Fulham.

  • Where squad needs strengthening

Should Villa return to the Premier League it could enhance their hopes of keeping Grealish. Playing in the top flight for his boyhood club would arguably be the realisation of a dream for the attacking midfielder. Promotion could also open the door to turn the loan deals for Tyrone Mings and Abraham into permanent signings.

Derby

Derby's on-loan duo Harry Wilson (left) and Mason Mount celebrate a goal in the Sky Bet Championship play-offs at Leeds
Derby's on-loan duo Harry Wilson (left) and Mason Mount celebrate a goal in the Sky Bet Championship play-offs at Leeds
  • Manager - Frank Lampard

It has been a successful first season in management for the former Chelsea and England midfielder. Lampard won 11 major trophies with the Blues but recently said guiding Derby to the play-offs is "one of my biggest achievements."

  • Key players

Top scorer Harry Wilson has shone during his season-long loan from Liverpool, scoring 18 goals. Chelsea loanee Mason Mount has 11 goals and was called up to the England squad in October.

  • Play-off history

This is the Rams' seventh involvement in the Championship play-offs this century and it has largely been a tale of woe. Their only success came in 2007 when they overcame West Brom at Wembley. The only other time Derby reached the final was in 2014, losing to 10-man QPR courtesy of Bobby Zamora's 90th-minute winner. Semi-finals defeats in 2015-16 and 2017-18 followed.

  • Where squad needs strengthening

Lampard has already begun recruiting for next season by signing left-sided player Graeme Shinnie from Aberdeen on a pre-contract agreement, with his deal in Scotland set to expire this summer. Wilson and Mount have been pivotal to Derby's promotion challenge and Lampard will surely try to get the duo back on loan next season, regardless of what division the Rams are playing in.

Follow Sporting Life on social media - find us on Facebook here or tweet @SportingLifeFC

Related football links

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read Football

Get all the latest football gossip from the day's back pages
1

Paper Talk: Wolves close on Marega

Three former players to decide Manchester United transfer targets - and a £30m striker heading to Wolves. Plenty more too in a bumper Thursday edition.

Romelu Lukaku
2

Lukaku odds-on for Inter move

Romelu Lukaku is odds-on to swap Manchester United for Inter Milan after growing reports in Italy suggest he will be the first target of prospective new manager Antonio Conte.

Newport v Tranmere in the Sky Bet League Two play-off final at Wembley3

Rovers to secure promotion

The first of the games on the Sky Bet EFL play-off weekends final comes from League Two, where Tom Carnduff is backing Tranmere to go up.

Get all the latest football gossip from the day's back pages4

Paper Talk: £105m Man United move

Man United willing to meet Joao Felix's £105m release clause, while Liverpool are eyeing a Bournemouth star, according to the back pages.

Sporting Life's Sky Bet Championship final guide for Aston Villa v Derby5

Aston Villa v Derby match guide

All you need to know for the Sky Bet Championship play-off final between Aston Villa and Derby at Wembley including team news, tips, predictions, stats and more.

Football Tips

Newport v Tranmere in the Sky Bet League Two play-off final at Wembley

Rovers to secure promotion

The first of the games on the Sky Bet EFL play-off weekends final comes from League Two, where Tom Carnduff is backing Tranmere to go up.

Charlton v Sunderland final guide

Extra-time needed on Sunday

Charlton take on Sunderland in the Sky Bet League One play-off final and Tom Carnduff thinks more than 90 minutes will be required.

John Higgins

Sporting Life Tipping Record

A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed in May 2019.