This weekend is a bank holiday weekend across the UK and over the past 20 years or so, this is the traditional time for the season ending Football League Playoffs to take place. From Saturday 26th May through to Monday 28th May, three matches from the Championship, League One and League Two will take place. The winner of each earning promotion, the loser having to steel themselves for another season in their current division.

Let’s now preview each of the three finals as well as bringing you our tips on who we think will win the game. All matches take place at Wembley Stadium. As always, the odds quoted are current odds with our chosen betting provider, Coral Sport.

Championship Playoff Final

Fulham v Aston Villa

  • Date: Saturday 26th May
  • Kick Off – 5pm

How Fulham reached Wembley

Championship Performance

Fulham took 88 points from their 46 games to finish in third place in the Championship table. They scored 79 goals in those games, conceding 46.

Playoff Semi Finals

  • 1st Leg – Derby County 1-0 Fulham (Jerome 34)
  • 2nd Leg – Fulham 2-0 Derby County (Sessegnon 48, Odoi 66) – Aggregate 2-1

How Aston Villa reached Wembley

Championship Performance

Aston Villa earned 83 points from their 46 Championship games and finished fourth in the table. They scored 72 goals in those games, conceding 42 in reply.

Playoff Semi Finals

  • 1st Leg – Middlesbrough 0-1 Aston Villa (Jedinak 15)
  • 2nd Leg – Aston Villa 0-0 Middlesbrough – Aggregate 1-0

Starting XI & Managers

Probable Fulham Starting XI (4-4-2) – Bettinelli, Fredericks, Odoi, Ream, Targett, Cairney, McDonald, Johansen, Kamara, Mitrovic, Sessegnon

Manager – Slavisa Jokanovic

Probable Aston Villa Starting XI (4-4-2) – Johnstone, El Mohamedy, Chester, Terry, Hutton, Jedinak, Snodgrass, Hourihane, Grealish, Adomah, Grabban

Manager – Steve Bruce

How the Teams Fared against each other this season

  • Aston Villa 2-1 Fulham (October 2017)
  • Fulham 2-0 Aston Villa (February 2018)

How will the game go?

The pressure on both teams to win this game on Saturday is immense. Simply by earning promotion to the Premier League, the winning team would earn a windfall estimated to be worth around £170 million. This makes this by far the richest game in football and both teams would love both that cash and to recover their Premier League status.

The game itself will be an interesting clash of styles. Aston Villa are a more methodical, defensive-minded side built very much in the manner of their manager Steve Bruce. Bruce has lots of experience of playoff success as a manager and that will be invaluable here and his team just about has the edge in top level experience too.

Fulham are a more attack-minded side and have several outstanding attacking players especially the coveted duo Ryan Sessegnon and Tom Cairney. The Cottagers are a stronger attacking team than Villa, but also do tend to concede more goals.

I do think this is a game that will be tight and there will only be one goal in it at the end, and we may well require extra time or even penalties to decide the winner, although my money would be on Aston Villa nicking the game if it went to extra time or penalties.

Our Tip: Draw after 90 minutes – 21/10 with Coral (Aston Villa to win on penalties)

League One Playoff Final

Rotherham United v Shrewsbury Town

  • Date: Sunday 27th May
  • Kick Off – 3pm

How Rotherham reached Wembley

League One Performance

Rotherham finished fourth in the League One table after 46 games taking a total of 79 points from those games. They scored 73 goals in the league, conceding 53.

Playoff Semi Finals

  • 1st Leg – Scunthorpe 2-2 Rotherham (Ikiekwe og 18, McGeehan 88) (Taylor 17, Newell 64)
  • 2nd Leg – Rotherham 2-0 Scunthorpe (Wood 45, Vaulks 63) – Aggregate 4-2

How Shrewsbury reached Wembley

League One Performance

The Shrews finished the league season in third place having amassed 87 points from their 46 games. They scored 60 goals in the process but conceded just 39.

Playoff Semi Finals

  • 1st Leg – Charlton 0-1 Shrewsbury (Nolan 80)
  • 2nd Leg – Shrewsbury 1-0 Charlton (Morris 58) – Aggregate 2-0

Starting XI & Managers

Probable Rotherham Starting XI (4-4-2) – Rodak, Emmanuel, Mattock, Ikiekwe, Wood, Palmer, Williams, Towell, Vaulks, Newell, Smith

Manager – Paul Warne

Probable Shrewsbury Starting XI (4-3-3) – Henderson, Bolton, Beckles, Sadler, Nsiala, Whalley, Morris, Godfrey, Rodman, Nolan, Morris.

Manager – Paul Hurst

How the Teams Fared against each other this season

  • Rotherham 1-2 Shrewsbury (November 2017)
  • Shrewsbury 0-1 Rotherham (February 2018)

How will the game go?

There is a similarity between this game and the Championship playoff game 24 hours earlier in that we have a match between one team that is better known for its attacking prowess (Rotherham) taking on another team that has enjoyed their season built on a solid defensive foundation (Shrewsbury).

The previous results between the teams shows that they are two well-matched opponents and for all Rotherham’s attacking verve in their 4-2 semi-final win over Scunthorpe, there were real concerns about how they looked defensively at times.

In contrast, Shrewsbury produced a superb defensive display in both legs against Charlton to win each game by a 1-0 scoreline to move serenely into the final and of the two teams, it is the Shrews that have been the most impressive not just in the playoffs, but all throughout the season.

I am expecting a few goals in this one but I do think that it will be Shrewsbury that come out on top and I am tipping them to get the job done inside 90 minutes too.

Our Tip: Shrewsbury to win – 2/1 with Coral Sport

League Two Playoff Final

Coventry City v Exeter City

  • Date: Monday 28th May
  • Kick Off – 3pm

How Coventry City reached Wembley

League Two Performance

Coventry played 46 games in League Two this season and earned 75 points from those game to finish in 6th place. They scored 64 goals, conceding 47.

Playoff Semi Finals

  • 1st Leg – Coventry 1-1 Notts Co (McNulty 87 pen) (Forte 49)
  • 2nd Leg – Notts Co 1-4 Coventry (Grant 44) (Biamou 6,71, McNulty 37, Bayliss 85) – 5-2 aggregate

How Exeter City reached Wembley

League Two Performance

Exeter City finished fourth in League Two this season earning 80 points in total from their 46 matches. They scored 64 goals but also conceded a high number 54 in those games.

Playoff Semi Finals

  • 1st Leg – Lincoln City 0-0 Exeter City
  • 2nd Leg – Exeter City 3-1 Lincoln City (Stockley 27, Boateng 47, Harley 69) (Green 78) – Aggregate 3-1

Starting XI & Managers

Probable Coventry City Starting XI (4-3-1-2) – Burge, Grimmer, Willis, Hyam, Stokes, Bayliss, Kelly, Doyle, Shipley, McNulty, Biamou

Manager – Mark Robins

Probable Exeter City Starting XI (4-4-2) – Pym, Sweeney, Storey, Moore-Taylor, Moxey, Taylor, Tillson, Boateng, Harley, Simpson, Stockley

Manager – Paul Tisdale

How the Teams Fared against each other this season

  • Coventry City 2-0 Exeter City (September 2017)
  • Exeter City 1-0 Coventry City (January 2018)

How will the game go?

Both of these teams tend to play exciting attacking football. Coventry scored more goals and conceded fewer than Exeter in their League Two campaign, but Exeter have shown a real strength in mentality to earn more points over the season and their performance in their second leg with Lincoln, albeit with the help of some key refereeing decisions going their way, was excellent.

Coventry too dealt with their semi-final opponent well and also benefitted from a number of refereeing decisions going their way. That’s not to say that the Sky Blues didn’t deserve their place at Wembley, they most certainly did, but it was certainly made a lot easier as a result of those decisions.

The games between the teams this season, as in all the playoff finalist match ups, produced one win apiece, but I think that on the basis of the two teams performances in the playoffs and their most recent form, I think Coventry will just about do enough to get the win, but I am expecting this to be a very close run thing.

Our Tip: Coventry City to win – 6/4 with Coral Sport