MATCH PREVIEW: Play-off Final – Hull City -v- Wednesday

Wembley StadiumIt started in August, it ends here, one game of football decides whether the Owls can rub shoulders with England’s elite and end their Premier League exile or whether trips to Burton and Rotherham are on the cards next term. 

The Owls have sold out their allocation at Wembley, with near 40,000 Owls, can they outroar the Tigers of Hull?

Last game Opposition Result Shots On target Corners Cards Fouls Possession
WEDNESDAY Brighton (A) D 1-1 8 3 1 5 19 33%
HULL Derby (H) L 2-0 12 1 3 2 10 38%

Wednesday endured a hiding in the first half at the AMex but with Brighton having halved their deficit through Lewis Dunk, Ross Wallace’s fluke goal against the run of play knocked the stuffing out of the Seagulls and whilst the Owls were still second best, the threat the Seagulls posed steadily diminished until the Owls’ Wembley status was secure.

Hull already held a three goal advantage against Derby and were made to sweat by a relentless Rams side, had “Gloveface” Elden Jakupovic not made an outstanding save from Chris Martin, the Tigers might not have made it but they held out and secured their place in the £200m game.

Last five games Brighton(a) Brighton(h) Wolves(a) Cardiff(h) Derby(a)
WEDNESDAY D 1-1 W 2-0 L 2-1 W 3-0 D 1-1
Last five games Derby(h) Derby(a) Rotherham(h) Bolton(a) Brentford(h)
HULL L 2-0 W 3-0 W 5-1 L 1-0 W 2-0

Wednesday stuttered into the playoffs but they’ve saved their best for when it really mattered against Cardiff and in the first leg against Brighton. In the regular season they finished nine points behind fourth placed Hull but unlike the Tigers who were in the mix at the top for the majority of the season, the Owls started slowly and steadily climbed the table eventually making it to the top six and holding off Cardiff and Ipswich.

Hull finished six points behind the second promotion spot and a stutter in February and March perhaps proved the difference between automatic and the play-offs.

HEAD 2 HEAD WEDNESDAY WINS HULL WINS DRAWS
20 11 18

LAST MEETING: 26th February 2016, KC Stadium, Att – 17,884

Hull City 0-0 Wednesday

A controversial red card given to Fernando Forestieri (incorrectly according to most) was the major talking point of a goalless draw between the two sides in the last meeting.

The two fixtures in the league season both finished with draws as the sides played out a 1-1 stalemate at Hillsborough in October.

Wednesday haven’t lost to the Tigers in the last three meetings but Hull are the fancied favourites with the Owls in the role as the underdogs.

CARVALHAL’S COHORTS

Aiden McGeady will play no part in this fixture but Carlos Carvalhal is more than satisfied with the personnel available to him.

My guess is that there’ll be one change from the Brighton line up with Sam Hutchinson coming in for Alex Lopez.

Hull are likely to be without Allan McGregor with Elden Jakupovic set to deputise in goal again, Nick Powell is also a probable absentee, David Meyler,Sam Clucas and ex-Pig Harry Maguire could all be recalled for this.

WESTWOOD

HUNT

HUNT

LOOVENS

LOOVENS

LEES

LEES

PUDIL

PUDIL

WALLACE

WALLACE

HUTCHINSON

HUTCHINSON

LEE

LEE

BANNAN

BANNAN

FORESTIERI

FORESTIERI

HOOPER

HOOPER

KEY PLAYERS

Glenn Loovens is the ice man, calm under pressure and one of the few Owls who have Wembley experience, in our last play-off final Lee Bullen’s leadership on the pitch was influential, Loovens’ calm head may need to guide the firebrands in our squad through the tension and wonder of a special game. Now in the twilight of his career this could be the Dutchman’s last big game.

Abel Hernandez is a goalscorer, you give him a chance, he generally scores it as his 20 league goals this term show, he ended the season on a high note scoring in four consecutive games, if Lees and Loovens can keep him quiet and if the midfield can block the supply, the Owls have a chance here.

THE BETTING BOX: 5 OF THE BEST

BET Wednesday WIN Hull WIN DRAW Loovens 1st Goal BTTS
BEST ODDS 13/5 11/8 23/10 40/1 21/20
BOOKIES Bookies Badge Ladbrokes Bookies Badge Bet365 Marathon Bet logo


HERE COMES D-JUDGE

I’ve been writing these for six years and when I wrote my first preview for a League Cup tie against Bury, I never envisioned that a few years down the line that the Owls would potentially be 90 minutes away from ending their Premier League exile or that the long suffering Owls fans would finally get to see their team at Wembley.

Even in August when we defeated Bristol City, I had no idea of the season ahead, I just wanted progress, I got that and then some, there’s already been some amazing memories from this term, hopefully the most spectacular one is still to come.

If the thought of nearly 40,000 Wednesdayites roaring the team on doesn’t get you as a fan excited or give you goosebumps, I don’t know what will, the fans backing proved crucial against Brighton at Hillsborough, it could be the same here but it just boils down to 11 v 11 – Hull City versus Sheffield Wednesday, 90 minutes (maybe more) – may the best team win.

We’re the underdogs but Carlos has revelled in us playing that role occasionally and hopefully we’ll thrive in it again. Mark my words, if we do make it to the promised land, it won’t have been an easy ride at all.

No matter what happens, if we win, if we lose, if the absolute worst happens and we suffer penalty heartbreak I’m proud of what this team and this group of players has achieved this year. If it’s not to be, I’m sure we’ll give it another damn good go next term.

We’re All Wednesday Aren’t We?

VERDICT: I don’t know what the score will be, I’m bottling out of it but my roommate who knows absolutely nothing about football thinks we’ll win 2-1

Owls Alive
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