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Championship play-off final: Brentford v Swansea City

Brentford head coach Thomas Frank and Swansea boss Steve Cooper
Thomas Frank (left) is looking to lead Brentford into the Premier League for the first time, while Swansea boss Steve Cooper is hoping to end their three-year absence from the top flight
Venue: Wembley Stadium Date: Saturday, 29 May Kick-off: 15:00 BST Coverage: Radio commentary on BBC Radio London and BBC Radio Wales, updates on BBC Radio 5 live, and live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Brentford boss Thomas Frank says his side are “calm and focused” before the Championship play-off final against Swansea City on Saturday.

The west London club are aiming to end a 74-year absence from the top flight, while the Swans last played in the Premier League in 2017-18.

Promotion could be worth about £160m to the winner.

Brentford, who finished third in the table for the second consecutive season, and Swansea, who were fourth, drew 1-1 during both meetings in the regular campaign.

Having overcome Bournemouth 3-2 on aggregate to book a repeat trip to the national stadium, Frank hopes the Bees will be able to draw on their 2-1 defeat by Fulham after extra time last August.

“I think it is a plus – how big a plus you don’t really know,” the 47-year-old Dane said.

“That experience from being there last year will help in a way, but it is not like we are suddenly 20% better.

“It might help in the decisive moments.”

A crowd of 12,000 will be in attendance, with 5,000 supporters from each club, following an easing of lockdown restrictions in England.

“It will be a tight game which will go down to the finest of margins,” Frank added.

“It is very important we do everything we can to be brave and make sure that when we look back we do not regret anything.”

It would mean everything – Cooper

Swansea reached the final with a 2-1 aggregate win over Barnsley in the semi-finals.

The Swans first earned promotion to the Premier League with an exhilarating 4-2 victory against Reading in the 2011 Championship play-off final.

They were relegated from the top flight three years ago and, having lost to Brentford in last season’s play-off semi-finals, Swansea are hoping to avenge that defeat.

“It would mean everything,” said head coach Steve Cooper, who has been in charge since 2019.

“The club has been there before, long before I was here, and that journey was a special one.

“Then it was taken away through relegation, the club has had to re-establish itself with a different identity and rebuild.

“We’ve got to this last game of the season and given ourselves a 50-50 chance of winning. It’s something we’ve got to really go for.

“It would mean everything to the city and everything to the club, and everyone’s aware of that.

“It’s a massive motivation for us to get the job done.”

Team news

Brentford will check on midfielder Christian Norgaard, who dropped out of the second leg of their semi-final win over Bournemouth because of an injury in the warm-up.

Left-back Rico Henry (hamstring) and midfielder Josh Dasilva, two of nine survivors from the XI which started against Fulham last year, are both out.

Swansea will be without forward Wayne Routledge, who sustained a knee injury during the second leg of their semi-final win over Barnsley.

As the 36-year-old may not be fit to play again until December and his contract expires when Swansea’s season is over, Routledge may have played his last game for the club.

Match facts

  • Both Championship meetings between Brentford and Swansea City in 2020-21 ended 1-1, with the Bees taking the lead in both games. The Swans were the only side the Bees dropped as many as four points from winning positions against in the regular league campaign.
  • This is the second consecutive season that Brentford and Swansea have met in the Championship play-offs, with the London side eliminating the Swans 3-2 on aggregate in last season’s semi-finals.
  • Brentford – who lost 2-1 to Fulham in last season’s Championship play-off final – are the first team to reach consecutive Championship play-off finals since Aston Villa in 2018 and 2019. The only team to lose consecutive second tier play-off finals was Leicester City in 1992 and 1993.
  • Swansea City are looking to return to the Premier League after their relegation in the 2017-18 season. They won in their only previous Championship play-off final appearance, beating Reading 4-2 in the 2010-11 final under Brendan Rodgers.
  • This will be Brentford’s eighth major final match in all competitions. They have lost all seven previous finals – three in the Football League Trophy and four in the play-offs.
  • This is the 10th different occasion the sides finishing third and fourth in the second tier have met in the play-off final, with the third-placed sides winning promotion on six of the previous nine occasions. However, last season saw third-placed Brentford lose 2-1 to fourth-placed Fulham.
  • No team has lost more Football League play-off finals than Brentford (four, level with Reading and Sheffield United). They lost in 1997 to Crewe Alexandra, 2002 to Stoke City, 2013 to Yeovil Town and 2020 to Fulham.
  • Brentford manager Thomas Frank could be the first Danish manager to win a Football League promotion, while Swansea’s Steve Cooper could be only the second Welshman to win promotion to the Premier League, after Tony Pulis in 2007-08 with Stoke City, and only the third Welshman to lead a Welsh club into the top flight (Bill Jones in 1959-60 with Cardiff and John Toshack in 1980-81 with Swansea).
  • Brentford are looking to reach the English top flight for the first time since the 1946-47 season, when they finished 21st and were relegated. If they are promoted, it will be 86 years since their last promotion to the top flight (1934-35), with only Bradford City having a longer gap between top-flight promotions (1908-1999, a gap of 91 years).
  • Including play-offs, Ivan Toney has been directly involved in 42 goals in 47 Championship appearances for Brentford this season (32 goals, 10 assists). Toney’s only previous appearance at Wembley was for Barnsley against Millwall in the 2016 League One play-off final as a substitute, ending on the winning side that day.
  • Swansea City striker Andre Ayew has scored 17 Championship goals this season (including play-offs), three more than any other Swans player. Ayew has scored twice previously at Wembley, netting a brace there for West Ham against Spurs in a League Cup match that saw the Hammers come from 2-0 down to win 3-2.

Sourced From BBC

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