Here come the semis, and here comes Mark Sellers with his preview . . .
Saturday 14th May 2016 12:30 – Derby County v Hull City
Tuesday 17th May 2016 19:45 – Hull City v Derby County
So after 46 matches it comes down to a two-legged play-off against Derby, with a date at Wembley the reward. But before we start wistfully thinking back to Deano’s goal in 2008, let’s not forget that Derby have got the better of City twice already this season, so this will be a tough test.
In both the home and away fixtures Derby’s midfield was dominant, with defensive midfielder George Thorne giving the Rams’ back four plenty of protection. Thorne suffered a broken leg on Saturday so will be missing for the play-offs.
The Derby Telegraph is reporting that the midfield duo of Bradley Johnson and Jeff Hendrick are both fit, which will give Darren Wassall options when choosing Thorne’s replacement. The Rams’ reserve keeper Lee Grant has also been passed fit, and so will be available to deputise for Scott Carson.
Derby’s recent form is not great, with two draws before a defeat on the last day at home to Ipswich. City have also not been spectacular of late, but they certainly gained some precious momentum after trouncing Rotherham 5-1 on Saturday. Steve Bruce looked to have settled on his strongest side against the Millers, and it’s expected the same eleven will start at the iPro Stadium this weekend.
Of the four play-off sides City are the bookies favorites to win promotion to the Premier League at 9/4, with Brighton marginally behind at 5/2.
All of City’s 3,000 ticket allocation has been sold for Saturday’s fixture at the iPro Stadium, so the team will have a strong away following for the first match.
Mark Sellers @mrmarksellers