Advantage Sunderland in the play-off final, insists Charlton boss Lee Bowyer – Chronicle Live

Advantage Sunderland in the play-off final, insists Charlton boss Lee Bowyer - Chronicle Live

EFL play-offs: Is this the year Sunderland break the red and white curse?

The English Football League season comes to an end this weekend at Wembley with three promotion places decided in the play-off finals.

Nothing is certain in a one-off game and all the pressure that comes with it. But stats from past finals can tell you a lot.

Lee Bowyer gives key update on injured Charlton striker ahead of Sunderland final

On a Bank Holiday weekend that will see attendance records broken, curses tackled and a repeat of a classic final, Gracenote head of sports analysis Simon Gleave takes a closer look at what might happen.

Charlton boss Lee Bowyer confident he will agree new deal after League One Play-Off Final

After the heartbreak of defeat by Fulham 12 months ago, the encouraging news for Villa fans is that nine of the previous 11 have won promotion at the second time of asking.

The Angolan striker has only five goals this season but his importance grew considerably after the January departure of Karlan Grant.

A tenth – Leicester City – returned for a third time in succession to finally win against Derby in 1994.

Last year, Exeter City joined the Foxes as the only two teams to miss out on promotion in successive play-off finals following their defeat by Coventry.

Another stat favouring Villa is that every returning team changing managers between successive play-off finals – Crystal Palace 1997, Gillingham 2000 and Huddersfield Town 2012 – has been promoted at the second attempt. Dean Smith replaced Steve Bruce in October.

After four successive Championship play-off finals with a foreign manager in charge of at least one of the teams, this years features two English bosses – Villas Smith and Derbys Frank Lampard.

The Rams were also one of the finalists the last time this happened as Steve McClaren lost to Harry Redknapps QPR five years ago.

The council did the same to wish the team and fans well in March, when the side played Portsmouth at Wembley in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Sunderland at Wembley: Travel and parking details plus pubs and food – League One play-off final fans guide

At that point the only foreign managers to take charge of second-tier play-off finalists were Ossie Ardiles (Swindon, 1990) and Gianfranco Zola (Watford, 2013).

“It was tough, theres no hiding from that and it was a tough time in my career because I went to Sunderland at the start of the season with the hope of doing really well and hoping to help them get promoted. Unfortunately I ended up getting injured.”

They have been joined by five others since then but Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa failed to join them this year following their dramatic defeat by Derby.

Lampards side will make a fourth trip to Wembley to attempt to win promotion to the Premier League after reaching this stage in 1994, 2007 and 2014, winning the second of those three finals.

Derbys opponents in the 1994 final, Leicester City, are the only other team to play in four second-tier play-off finals at Wembley.

Leicester lost in the 1992 and 1993 finals but following their 1994 success they won the 1996 final against Crystal Palace courtesy of a Steve Claridge goal deep into injury time.

Play-offs guru Richard Foster, author of The Agony and the Ecstasy, the definitive book of the competition, has discovered the remarkable curse befalling teams that usually wear red and white striped shirts and black shorts.

Charlton reveal their final Wembley ticket sales total as Sunderland give important update to supporters

In the 13 play-off finals featuring Brentford, Exeter City, Lincoln City, Sheffield United or Sunderland – none of these sides have won.

Play-Off Final preparations in pictures – SAFC

Sunderland did earn promotion from a play-off match in 1990 but had actually lost the final before going up at Swindon Towns expense due to financial irregularities at the Robins. Could Sunday be the day that streak is broken?

Charlton Athletic coach: These moments only happen once in a blue moon

Twenty-one years ago, Charlton Athletic and Sunderland met in a pulsating second-tier play-off final with the Addicks winning promotion to the Premier League. The match finished 4-4 after 120 minutes before Charlton went on to win 7-6 on penalties.

Charlton Athletic manager Lee Bowyer applauds the fans after the Sky Bet League <span class="truncate"><span class="truncate-preview">One Play-off, First <span class="truncate-full-screen">Leg at the Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster. </span></span></span>

Now, in 2019, the same two clubs meet again in a play-off final – the first time this has happened since they were introduced in 1987.

Charlton Athletic manager Lee Bowyer applauds the fans after the Sky Bet League <span class="truncate"><span class="truncate-preview">One Play-off, First <span class="truncate-full-screen">Leg at the Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster. </span></span></span>

If it is as exciting as the match in 1998 which featured lead changes, goals in extra time and 14 penalties to decide the match, neutrals will be in for a treat.

That play-off final was finally decided when the only left-footed player in the shootout, Michael Gray, became the only player to miss from the spot.

Tranmere Rovers appearance in Saturdays League Two play-off final marks an end to a 28-year gap between finals for the club.

As the game progressed, the visitors were becoming more confident and with two minutes left, they sent the match into extra time after a Butler header. In the additional thirty, John Marquis had given Doncaster the lead and for a moment, Wembley was in sight, but only one minute later, Darren Pratley made the match head to penalties.

Managers view: Theres a real focus in the group to win

In 1990 and 1991 they played in the first two third-tier finals at Wembley, becoming the first losing finalist to reach the final again the following year.

Meanwhile, for Charlton, Lyle Taylor – their top scorer – will most likely start for the Addicks, and will pose a huge threat for Sunderlands two central defenders. He already has 22 goals this season and scored against the Black Cats in the opening game of the season from the spot.

EFL play-offs: Can you name the teams who have reached the most finals?

Tranmere won promotion to the old Second Division that year, spending 10 successive seasons in Englands second tier but never made a Football League play-off final again.

For fans travelling to the home of football, weve put together a guide of everything you need to know for the big day – including the essentials of how to get to the stadium, parking, food and… pubs.

In fact they even dropped out of the league for three seasons, returning a year ago after winning the National League promotion final at Wembley.

Middlesbrough had a gap of 27 years before their play-off final appearances in 1988 and 2015 but Tranmere Rovers have increased that by a year.

Charlton team news: The expected 4-4-2 line-up to face Sunderland

Chelsea (1988), Wrexham (1989) and Cambridge United (1990) have now been waiting longer than 28 years since their last play-off final.

Wembley Central Tube – 15-minute walk to stadium (Bakerloo Line direct to Marylebone, Baker Street and Oxford Circus)

With crowds totalling 243,227 in the 12 play-off matches played so far this season, 2019 is set to smash the record for play-off attendances.

This weekends finals need a total of 162,052 to walk through the turnstiles at Wembley to be a new record for the Football League play-offs.

Big crowds are expected for both the Championship and League One finals so this year is likely to be the most successful yet for ticket sales.

Five of the six most likely play-off finalists picked by the Euro Club Index before the play-off semi-finals have made it to Wembley.

The finals are all reasonably tightly matched with Newport County the strongest favourites to win promotion of the six competing teams according to the Euro Club Index.

The way Max Power came through his difficult mid-season spell is typical of Sunderlands spirit

There is virtually nothing between Aston Villa and Derby County in Mondays Championship final. Perhaps Villas experience from last year will prove the deciding factor.

More news:

Sunderland AFC news and transfers RECAP – Mark Campbell set to become Black Cats majority stakeholder – ChronicleLive
Sunderland AFC news and transfers RECAP – Mark Campbell set to become Black Cats majority stakeholder – ChronicleLive
Sunderland enter race to sign Rovers target Stewart Downing – Lancashire Telegraph
Sunderland enter race to sign Rovers target Stewart Downing – Lancashire Telegraph
Sunderland AFC news and transfers RECAP – Mark Campbells group reported to be close to deal – ChronicleLive
Sunderland AFC news and transfers RECAP – Mark Campbells group reported to be close to deal – ChronicleLive
Sunderland AFC news and transfers LIVE – Mark Campbells group reported to be close to deal – ChronicleLive
Sunderland AFC news and transfers LIVE – Mark Campbells group reported to be close to deal – ChronicleLive
Sunderland AFC news and transfers RECAP: Transfer priorities, Kone departure – ChronicleLive
Sunderland AFC news and transfers RECAP: Transfer priorities, Kone departure – ChronicleLive
Sunderland Sunday gossip: Mark Campbells consortium to complete investment deal on June 19 – Chronicle Live
Sunderland Sunday gossip: Mark Campbells consortium to complete investment deal on June 19 – Chronicle Live
Sunderland AFC news and transfers RECAP: Striker targets, midfielder future in doubt – ChronicleLive
Sunderland AFC news and transfers RECAP: Striker targets, midfielder future in doubt – ChronicleLive
Sunderland owner Stewart Donald reveals that Liverpool FC have poached duo – Chronicle Live
Sunderland owner Stewart Donald reveals that Liverpool FC have poached duo – Chronicle Live
Lamine Kone: Ivory Coast defender leaves Sunderland for France – BBC Sport
Lamine Kone: Ivory Coast defender leaves Sunderland for France – BBC Sport
Sunderland chief Stewart Donald reveals club is in a really strong financial position – Chronicle Live
Sunderland chief Stewart Donald reveals club is in a really strong financial position – Chronicle Live
Niall Quinn and Kevin Balls message to Sunderland fans following play-off disappointment – Chronicle Live
Niall Quinn and Kevin Balls message to Sunderland fans following play-off disappointment – Chronicle Live
Sunderland AFC news and transfers RECAP: Boro keeper linked; Griggs vow for next season – ChronicleLive
Sunderland AFC news and transfers RECAP: Boro keeper linked; Griggs vow for next season – ChronicleLive