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Championship play-offs: First leg leads key for Yorkshire duo Wednesday and Hull

Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | May 12, 2016

The Championship play-offs begin on Friday, with four teams desperate to play Premier League football and get their slice of that new mega TV deal that starts next season.

Brighton and Hove Albion, unlucky to miss out on automatic promotion, go to Sheffield Wednesday for their first leg fixture, and that is followed on Saturday by a battle between Derby County and Hull City at Pride Park.

Sheffield Wednesday v Brighton and Hove Albion

  • Championship play-off semi-final first leg
  • Friday, May 13th
  • Kick-off time: 19:45 BST
  • Hillsborough, Sheffield
  • Live on Sky Sports 1

No more 0-0s

Brighton and Hove Albion v Sheffield Wednesday - Sky Bet Championship - AMEX Stadium

Both Seagulls v Owls regular season fixtures ended goalless, and while it is tempting to take the 21/10 on offer at Coral for another draw another cagey affair will do neither side any good.

It is Brighton who are in the better form, boasting a 14-match unbeaten run, but that wasn’t enough to get them into the Premier League directly. Chris Hughton’s men are 12/5 outsiders for victory at Hillsborough, however, with Wednesday made 13/10 favourites to take a lead to the south coast.

Under 1.5 goals for the first leg total appeals at 8/5, as that has been the case in each of the last five meetings between these two. Visiting Albion come to the Steel City without suspended midfielder Dale Stephens.

Hemed v Hooper

Hughton has Seagulls top scorer Tomer Hemed in superb form with 17 league goals to his name this term, and he is a 19/10 anytime chance.

Brighton and Hove Albion v Fulham - Sky Bet Championship - AMEX Stadium

The Israel frontman will need support from mercurial winger Anthony Knockaert (7/2 in that market) and on-loan Manchester United forward James Wilson (13/5).

At the other end of the pitch, Wednesday coach Carlos Carvalhal has the luxury of bringing Fernando Forestieri back from a rest to once again potentially partner Gary Hooper. Both are 7/5 chances to add to their combined league tally of 28 goals anytime.

Derby County v Hull City

  • Championship play-off semi-final first leg
  • Saturday, May 14th
  • Kick-off time: 12:30 BST
  • Pride Park, Derby
  • Live on Sky Sports 1

Rams lauding it over Tigers

Derby County v Hull City - Sky Bet Championship - iPro Stadium

Derby did the double over Hull this term, but are confirmed Championship play-off choke artists, having bottled it in the 2014 final and collapsed to miss out on the top six altogether last term.

Favourites at 29/20 to win the first leg they may be, but County cannot be trusted by punters stung not once but twice by them.

Steve Bruce’s Tigers are terrific value to belie regular season form at 9/4 and win at Pride Park, while a draw here is a 2/1 chance. There’s also a lot to like about taking 6/1 on an away win with both teams scoring.

County threat comes from midfield

Five of the Rams’ six unanswered goals in games against Hull this term have come from midfield. That makes box-to-box player Bradley Johnson well-treated at 4/1 anytime to conjure something spectacular.

Burnley v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship - Turf Moor

Punters can also get the same price on Jacob Butterfield finding the target once more, with more obvious threats Chris Martin (13/8 in that market) and Tom Ince (11/5) naturally shorter.

The Tigers have scored the most and conceded the fewest goals of any side in these play-offs, so it is leading marksman Abel Hernandez (7/4) and supporting midfielder Mohamed Diame (a tasty 10/3) that offer the biggest dangers to Derby.

Related

Check out more Championship content on our dedicated page.

Why not peruse our Football League play-offs piece?

Coral’s top tip: Hull are better than their regular season results against Derby suggest, so take the Tigers to turn the Rams over by winning but both teams being on target at a superb 6/1.

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