For Middlesbrough and Norwich the stakes in this years Championship play-off final could not be higher as they prepare to do battle on Monday at Wembley in front of 90,000.
The match is the biggest in the English football calender outside of the Premier League with the winning side pocketing around £150 million. Both sides were seen as heavy favourites to gain a promotion spot or reach the play-offs but will know that their jobs wont be finished until the final whistle blows on Monday.
Middlesbrough ease into the final after beating Brentford over the two legs, 2-1 and 3-0, while Norwich had the added difficulty of playing an arch rival after being drawn Anglian rivals Ipswich. However, Norwich had to much for an Ipswich side who only just made it into the play-offs, drawing the first leg them winning 3-1 comfortably at home.
It will be Norwich’s first game at Wembley for nearly 30 years and will be a huge occasion for both the players and the fans. If they are able to beat Middlesbrough then they will join just a select list of few clubs who have managed to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking, others include QPR and Newcastle, and would be a huge achievement shown by the Telegraph’s research.
Where as for Middlesbrough it would be their first season back in the top flight since being relegated in 2009 after an 11 year stay. In which time the club managed to win the league cup in 2004 and reach the UEFA cup final in 2006.
However, after being relegated they struggled to adapt to life but Aitor Karanka has been able to change that this year and they finally have their first chance of getting out of the Championship.
Norwich finished 3rd in the table, with Middlesbrough just behind them in 4th with just a point separating the two sides but Middlesbrough have got the better of them in both of their meetings. In October with them winning 4-0 at the Riverside following that up with a 1-0 at Carrow Road last month.
Alex Neil has worked miracles since he was appointed manager and if he had been appointed sooner the club may have gone on to achieve automatic promotion. Nothing separates the two sides and fans and viewers can expect a fascinating game between two of the championship’s best sides with no doubt twists and turns along the way.
NORWICH Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin (c), Bassong, Olsson; Redmond, Howson, Tettey, Johnson; Hoolahan; Jerome.
MIDDLESBROUGH Dimi, Whitehead, Ayala, Gibson, Friend, Adomah, Leadbitter, Clayton, Tomlin, Vossen, Bamford.