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Sheffield Wednesday: Jones can’t pick a Wembley winner

Wednesday manager Dave Jones wishes it was his team looking forward to the Championship Play-off Final at Wembley later this month

Wednesday manager Dave Jones wishes it was his team looking forward to the Championship Play-off Final at Wembley later this month

  • by Dom Howson Sheffield Wednesday
 

The identity of the two Championship play-off finalists may be known - but Sheffield Wednesday manager Dave Jones can’t pick a winner.

Crystal Palace will face Watford in the showpiece event a week on Monday at Wembley after securing a 2-0 victory over two legs against arch rivals Brighton and Hove Albion in the semi-finals of the competition.

Watford finished third in the Championship, five points ahead of fifth-placed Palace and are the big favourites to reach the top flight.

But Owls boss Jones has told The Star he thinks the final, reckoned to be worth around £120 million to the winners, is a “tough one” to call.

He said: “It will be a fantastic occasion at Wembley. There is a lot at stake. It would have been nice if we had got there.

“I don’t think many people gave Crystal Palace much chance the other night against Brighton but they got through.

“It could have gone either way between Brighton and Palace. Brighton created a lot of chances but didn’t take them.

“Leicester had a great chance to get to the final and they missed a penalty in the last minute and Watford went up the other end and scored. That’s the way it goes in the play-offs and just sums up the Championship. Leicester will be kicking themselves that they didn’t go all the way.”

Wednesday held their own against the teams in the upper echelons of the league, accruing nine out of a possible 24 points from sides who ended up in the play-off positions. Watford thrashed Jones’ side 4-1 at Hillsborough last November and controversially edged the reverse fixture two months ago 2-1 after a second-half double from Fernando Forestieri.

Brighton cruised to a 3-0 home win over the Owls but Wednesday gained revenge in their own backyard, seeing off Gus Poyet’s troops 3-1 after goals from Leroy Lita, Danny Pugh and Michail Antonio.

A Glenn Murray brace at Selhurst Park last September condemned Jones to his first defeat as Wednesday manager and the club’s first since gaining promotion to the second tier of English football. A close-range header from Lita ensured the Owls prevailed in the reverse clash.

Sixth-placed Leicester triumphed 2-0 at Hillsborough. But Wednesday made amends, winning 1-0 at the King Power Stadium.

 

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