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Fulham versus Aston Villa ~ Team News Ch. PlayOff Final

last updated Friday 25th May 2018, 1:40 PM

Team News

Aston Villa v Fulham

Championship PlayOff Final 1718 at Wembley

Saturday 26th May 2018    KO: 17:00

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)


Slavisa Jokanovic
First Team Head Coach
Slavisa Jokanovic
His Wiki page
Slavisa Jokanovic

Fulham are at full strength as they aim to end a four-year absence from the Premier League.

The Cottagers have reported no problems after they beat Derby over two legs in the early part of last week.

Sheyi Ojo could be involved in the squad after missing the last seven games due to injury, though he is unlikely to start.

Slavisa Jokanovic replaced Floyd Ayite with Aboubakar Kamara for the second leg against the Rams and he must again choose between the two at Wembley.

Fulham are featuring in their first play-off final, having previously lost in the semi-finals in 1988/89 (third-tier), 1997/98 (third-tier) and 2016/17 (second-tier), while Aston Villa have reached the final in their first play-off campaign.

Slavisa Jokanovic: "It's a special game, but on the other hand we must understand it is only one game," he told Sky Sports. "We must try to play, perform and show our quality, to show we are focused and concentrated to show we are a good team. We must play the game, we must not be scared. In football there are different results but we are thinking about only one.

"We are more experienced, we played in the play-offs last season and knew more or less what we were going to find. We are going to have an opportunity to play the most important game in the last few years for us, we know how we are going to find it and at the end, what we want is to win."

Aston Villa
Aston Villa  manager Steve Bruce
Aston Villa manager
Steve Bruce
His Wiki page

Aston Villa defender Ahmed Elmohamady is making good progress in his recovery from injury and stands a good chance of playing in the Sky Bet Championship play-off final against Fulham at Wembley.

The 30-year-old defender was absent for the second leg of the semi-final at home to Middlesbrough last week after suffering a hamstring injury in the first game at the Riverside and there were fears he could also miss the showpiece at the national stadium.

However, things are looking much more positive after the Egyptian resumed training this week and he will be put through his paces again on Friday.

If Elmohamady does not make it then James Bree is likely to fill in, as he did against Boro for the goalless second leg at Villa Park which clinched Villa's passage to the final.

Steve Bruce is set to manage in his third play-off final - he has been promoted in both of his previous two, progressing on penalties in 2001-02 as Birmingham manager against Norwich and beating Sheffield Wednesday with Hull in 2015-16.

Indeed, he's the third manager to manage in three play-off finals in the second tier, after Brian Little (three finals between 1991-92 and 1993-94) and Ian Holloway (2009-10, 2011-12 and 2012-13).

Bruce has won four promotions to the top-flight (2001-02, 2006-07, 2012-13 and 2015-16), a joint-record with Neil Warnock, who achieved his fourth this season with Cardiff.

Steve Bruce: "I won't sit here and say that I'm not going to feel some butterflies on the day but, like everything in life, if you've already experienced something then you know how to handle it better.

"Make no mistake about it, though, however many times you've done it it's still a wonderful occasion and the reason you're in football is for days like this. I've said many times in big games like this you can smell the hot dogs a little bit, that's what Archie Knox used to say all those years ago and nothing has changed.

"Hopefully we can put a smile back on the faces of Aston Villa fans for a change because for five or six years it's been pretty desperate at times. Let's hope it's our turn again."

Source ESPN FC/SkySp;orts
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