- Championship play-off semi-final first leg updates
- Boro v Villa given added poignancy by Percovich return
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The teams are here.
Derby | Carson, Forsyth, Keogh, Lawrence, Wisdom, Johnson, Weimann, Vydra, Jerome, Davies, Huddlestone.
Fulham | Bettinelli, Fredericks, Sessegnon, Odoi, McDonald, Johansen, Cairney, Ayite, Ream, Targett, Mitrovic.
This is where the Championship season starts to end, with brutal bangs and plenty of whimpers. Neither Derby nor Fulham have happy memories of the play-offs. Between them, they have progressed from the end-of-season endurance test just once. Fulham have never won a single match while Derby’s only success, at the end of the 2006-07 Championship season, preluded the worst ever top-division campaign and a record low Premier League points total of 11 points the following year. Too much, too soon, it was said in glorious hindsight and Derby have never been back since.
This is their sixth attempt at the second-tier play-offs, with recent years seeing the Rams suffering a last-minute Wembley winner from QPR’s Bobby Zamora in 2014, and in 2016, under the aegis of temporary boss Darren Wassall, they lost 5-0 on aggregate to Hull City. Perhaps things can be different under Gary Rowett, though he suffered the pain of play-off defeat twice with Burton Albion.
As for Fulham, Slavisa Jokanovic will want to avoid the pain of last season where Reading rode roughshod over a late charge into the top six. The Cottagers are trademarked by legal statute as the best footballing side in the EFL but judging by last week’s choke at Birmingham City, tiki taka is hard to maintain when an angry Midlands crowd is on your back and you were nervous in the first place.