Aston Villa and Derby County square off at Wembley on Monday afternoon, in what is dubbed as the richest game in football.
It is either Aston Villa or Derby County, who joins Norwich City and Sheffield United in the Premier League next season, as both teams meet at Wembley in the Championship play-off final on Monday.
For Villa, it is a second successive final, having been beaten 1-0 by Fulham last season. They booked their place at Wembley after a dramatic penalty shootout against cross-town rivals WBA
Premier League legend Frank Lampard guided Derby County to the Championship play-off final in his debut season as a manager, beating Leeds United in the semi-finals. The Rams came back from a two-goal deficit at Elland Road to win the tie 4-3 on aggregate.
Lampard will meet his former colleague and best mate John Terry, who is currently working as a coach in Aston Villa.
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has an almost fully-fit squad to choose from, as the only player missing is injured goalkeeper Orjan Nyland.
Manchester United loanee Axel Tuanzebe, who limped off in extra-time of the semi-final second leg against West Brom in expected to get back in time for Villa’s biggest game of the season.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) May 25, 2019
Frank Lampard will miss Andy King, Craig Bryson, and David Nugent – all ruled out through injuries, as well as full-back Scott Malone due to suspension.
Martyn Waghorn (Achilles) and Duane Holmes (thigh) are both injury doubts, although the Rams are hopeful the pair will be involved.
What did the managers say
Villa boss Dean Smith says he is calm before the most important game of the 2018-19 campaign.
“I’m quite calm, to be honest. Cool, calm and collected. We’ve had some good rest days, some good training days and now we’re really looking forward to it.
“It’s a long period to wait, from the semi-final to the final. There’s a lot of time to kill, but also a lot of preparation time. We’re feeling good,” he said via the Aston Villa official website.
Frank Lampard talked about the comeback win against Leeds United, saying he is proud of his team, regardless of the result on Monday.
“It goes right up there in terms of how I feel going into it as all the major games I was lucky to take part in as a player,” he said via Rams TV.
— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) May 26, 2019
“I will be proud. I’m walking out as a manager of a team and squad that have done fantastically well, regardless of the result on Monday.
“The fans, the club, what it means, the owner, the people behind the scenes, that’s been a big deal for me this season. This is a culmination of all that. I will be a bit nervous, but I will certainly be proud.”
Aston Villa have won six of their last nine matches against Derby (all in league competition), losing just once in this run, a 2-0 defeat in December 2017.
If Derby County wins promotion, their tally of 74 points in the regular season would be the fewest by a side promoted to the Premier League since Crystal Palace in 2012/13 (72 points).
The team finishing sixth in the Championship have been promoted via the playoffs in just one of the last 13 seasons, with Blackpool beating Cardiff City back in 2010.
Aston Villa are the first side to reach back-to-back play-off finals in the second tier since West Ham in 2004 (runners up) and 2005 (winners).
The last team to lose consecutive play-off finals is Leicester City in 1992 and 1993, losing to Blackburn Rovers and Swindon Town respectively.