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Coventry City take on Luton Town on Saturday afternoon in a winner takes all match for passage through to the Premier League. Neither side were expected to be in this position at the start of the Championship season but both now have the chance to reach the promised land with just one more win.
The Championship playoff final is often dubbed the most valuable game in football due to the prize money at stake for the winner. Although the actual prize for winning the match isn’t all that great, the benefits of being in the Premier League for whoever wins is said to be upwards of £170m when you factor in Premier League television rights and gate receipts.
For Coventry City, even the suggestion of Premier League football is unfathomable when you consider the financial difficulties the club has faced over the past 15 years. In 2013, the club went into administration and in 2017/18 they were playing in the fourth tier of English football after relation from League One.
For Luton Town, their rollercoaster ride has seen them play non-league football in the last 15 years after being relegated from the Football League in 2009/10. It wasn’t until 2013/14 that they came back up from the Conference Premier meaning that they will have gone from non-league football to the Premier League in less than ten years if win on Saturday.
The match is set to kick off at 16:45 UK time and viewers will be able to watch the match on SkySports Main Event and SkySports Football.
Coventry City Team News: Midfield dilemma for Robins
Coventry City boss, Mark Robins, was full of praise for his players after the second leg victory over Middlesbrough in the playoff semi finals. The 53-year-old was particularly pleased that his team had managed to keep two clean sheets in both legs of the tie calling the win and performance “fantastic” against what he described as “top, top team.”
"To come through it the way they have is phenomenal" 👏
Mark Robins reflects on Coventry City's journey ahead of the Championship Play-off final 🏆 pic.twitter.com/fQXKRzq0nA
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) May 25, 2023
Considering how well Coventry played in the second leg at the Riversie, Robins will surely be tempted to go unchanged for the final particularly as he has no new injury concerns ahead of the trip to Wembley. One dilemma for him, however, relates to how he sets up in midfield.
Matt Godden was dropped to the substitutes bench for the second leg after playing the home leg as Robins packed the midfield. As a result, Jamie Allen came into the side and performed admirably against Middlesbrough. While some will see this is a negative approach, if it produces another 1-0 win for Coventry then Robins will be lauded a genius.
In terms of injuries, Kasey Palmer, Callum O’Hare and Fabio Tavares all remain out as all three continue to use long-term injuries sustained earlier in the season.
Luton Town Team News: Edwards to stick to the status quo
Unlike his opposite number, Luton Town boss Rob Edwards stuck with the same lineup for both legs of their semi final with Sunderland despite losing the first match 2-1 at the Stadium of Light. Considering his loyalty proved to be the correct decision in the second leg, it would be a huge surprise if he made any changes for the final.
Rob Edwards getting sacked by Watford and then getting their biggest rivals Luton promoted into the Premier League would be quite the story.
— ßen (@BCAFCBH) May 16, 2023
The only potential change he may consider will be to bring Reece Burke into the starting lineup to play directly against Coventry striker, Viktor Gyökeres, who has scored 21 goals and provided 11 assists this season. The Swede has been a handful for pretty much every team he has come up against and is a bit of a throwback in terms of his physical approach to the game.
Burke, himself, isn’t one to suffer any fools though so a direct clash between the pair could make for interesting viewing if Edwards elects to shuffle his defence.
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