Saturday’s Championship Play-Off Final will see one historic promotion for a side that was playing League Two football as recently as 2017/18 and another that can console themselves by looking back with pride on an incredible journey, that has consigned a previous era of off-field crisis to the annals of history. It’s Coventry vs Luton in a 4:45pm BST kick-off from Wembley Stadium.
Viktor Gyokeres and Carlton Morris have scored 36% and 35% of Coventry and Luton’s respective goals this season, hitting 21 and 20 respectively, so they’ll be the strikers both teams look to in order to fire them to glory, and are the obvious picks in the anytime market – but who will be teeing them up? Check out my free football tips ahead of the big game that will decide who will be playing in the Premier League next season.
Get on the Gus Bus
Gustavo Hamer is the joint-third top assister in the Championship with 10. In fact, had the Brazil-born midfielder’s winner at Middlesbrough in the Semi-Final second leg come in the 46-game league campaign, he’d have also got into double figures for goals. However, the Sky Blue Army were probably coping quite well with the Dutchman missing out on that particular quirk at that moment!
When Hamer first signed for the Midlanders from PEC Zwolle in 2020 for a mere £1M – which feels like an extraordinary bargain now but may have been a bold move in the financial climate of the time – he was a true, box-office player, capable of the spectacular but also of losing his cool.
More recently, the 25-year-old has matured, which is credit to the management of Mark Robins, but he still has the drive and aggression in his game, making him a threat to the opposition.
With Liam Kelly sitting at the base of midfield, Hamer along with Jamie Allen and Ben Sheaf are handed the freedom to press the opposition and break into dangerous areas, where they can rack up the big numbers.
Hamer is more than capable of doing that, especially with his vision: Coventry won’t have to be playing at their maximum to carry a threat and create chances, because not only does Gyokeres have pace, strength, agility and individual quality, Hamer has the range to pick him out from deep inside his own half.
With 20 direct goal contributions in 48 games, Hamer also averages 1.9 key passes per game – only Oli Norwood makes more from midfielders starting 30+ Championship matches this season.
Wing-backs Key for Hatters
While Coventry will feel they can open Luton up from one simple ball over the top, due to Gyokeres’ qualities, the Hatters will need to produce a higher standard of team performance to create for Carlton Morris.
Recruited from relegated Barnsley last summer, Morris has proved an inspired acquisition, who grafts relentlessly for Rob Edwards’ pressing system, he imposes his physicality on opponents – but unlike his opposite number, he needs crosses into the box to really do damage, because he’s not the type to create for himself.
As such, Edwards will instruct his wing-backs to push extremely high up the pitch to supply Morris and his strike partner, Elijah Adebayo, with Cody Drameh and Alfie Doughty handed plenty of creative freedom.
In fact, three of the top eight full-backs or wing-backs on double-figured appearances for key passes per 90 in the Championship were for Luton: Doughty and James Bree joint-2nd on 2.3, though the latter left to rejoin Nathan Jones at Southampton in January to be replaced on Drameh, who is 8th on 1.7.
Doughty is an agile, energetic type with plenty of quality, while the Leeds loanee is quick, strong and loves to attack the byline: between them, they’ve tallied six assists in a combined 39 starts.
Coventry vs Luton Betting Tips
With the above in mind, Hamer can be backed at 11/2 to chalk up his 11th assist of the campaign, Doughty can be backed to supply a teammate at 11/4, while Drameh is a stonking 15/2 in the same market.
The likely pattern of play is that Luton apply most of the pressure and ask their wing-backs to get crosses into the box for Morris and Adebayo, something Coventry are expected to be prepared to allow, hoping they can absorb that pressure, defend their box and get Hamer and Gyokeres doing damage on the counter-attack.
Coventry to Lift Trophy @ 11/10 with Bet365 Bonus Code
Anytime Scorer: Gustavo Hamer @ 11/2 with William Hill Promo Code
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.