The Robins and the Tigers go head-to-head at Wembley this afternoon for a place in the Premier League in what is generally regarded as the richest game in football.
Bristol City have not played in top-flight since 1980, whereas Phil Brown’s Hull have never made the top tier of English football, so I think it’s fair to say that whichever team comes out in top will make certainly appreciate it.
The Tigers came out as favourites in the poll with 74% of the vote compared to Bristol’s 23% (1% aren’t fussed), but that goes against the odds offered at Betfair, where the West Country side are slight favourites.
In team news, Robins boss (and my Manager of the Year) Gary Johnson has a fully fit squad to select from, as does Phil Brown, so both could name unchanged sides from those that took care of Palace and Watford in the semi-finals.
Hull boss Phil Brown (on hullcityafc.co.uk:
Without a doubt this is the biggest game in the club’s history. There have been some big days in recent years – second division promotion, first division promotion, Cardiff last season was a massive game for me in terms of survival. That was almost like a promotion to me having come in so late in the season.
A three-year management game plan was then put in place. That stated the top 12 was the aim this season. To finish third was a fantastic achievement. To be only one step away from the Premier League means it’s been a fabulous season.
Bristol City’s Gary Johnson (on bcfc.co.uk):
We’ve left no stone unturned in our preparation. We’ve brainstormed everything. Everything which leads up to making sure we are 100% fit and ready for this game.
We are very confident that we have prepared in the right way and we know what Hull have got, know how dangerous they can be and how to alleviate that.
But at the end of the day it is about bringing out your own team’s strengths. If we do, we can have a very successful day.
A few facts…
Final League Position: Bristol City 4th, Hull City 3rd.
League Meetings this season: 27/11/07 – Hull 0 Bristol City 0, 01/03/08 – Bristol City 2 Hull 1.
Top Goalscorer: Bristol City – Byfield (8), Hull City – Fraizer Campbell (15).
My Prediction: Despite Hull’s dominance in the poll, I think the Robins have enough to see them through. Bristol City to win.