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Premier League Promotion 2016: Teams, Championship Play-Off Bracket and More

Tom Beck@@twjbeckContributor IMay 15, 2016

DERBY, ENGLAND - MAY 14: DERBY, ENGLAND - MAY 14: Curtis Davies of Hull City celebrates after an own goal to make it 0-2 during the Sky Bet Championship Play Off First Leg match between Derby County and Hull City at the iPro Stadium on May 14, 2016 in Derby, England. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday are in pole position to secure a Championship play-off final berth following convincing victories in their first-leg semi-final ties.

A place in the Premier League promise land beckons for one of four sides, with the unpredictability of the knockout format ensuring Hull, Wednesday, Derby and Brighton's top-flight credentials remains undecided.

However, Steve Bruce's side thumped Derby, 3-0, in their clash at the iPro Stadium on Saturday following on from Brighton's dismay 10-man 2-0 defeat away at Hillsborough to put themselves in control of their respective ties.

The bracket below details the run of fixtures ahead of the four play-off competitors.

Championship Play-Off Bracket
StageDateFixtureResultsWinner
Semi-Final First LegFriday, May 14Sheffield Wednesday vs. Brighton and Hove Albion0-2Brighton and Hove Albion
Semi-Final First LegSaturday, May 15Derby County vs. Hull City0-3Hull City
Semi-Final Second LegMonday, May 16Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Sheffield WednesdayX-XTBD
Semi-Final Second LegTuesday, May 17Hull City vs. Derby CountyX-XTBD
FinalSaturday, May 28TBD
Sky Sports

Burnley bounced back from relegation in their first season in the second tier with one match to spare following a fortuitous schedule of fixtures, enabling them to secure the Championship title.

The Clarets sunk Queens Park Rangers, 1-0, at Turf Moor as Sean Dyche's side moved two points clear at the summit of the league. However, due to closest challengers Boro and Brighton facing off at the Riverside on the final encounter of the campaign, promotion was sealed.

Aitor Karanka's men achieved a 1-1 draw at home on the final day to force the Seagulls into the dreaded play-offs after ending the season level on points but with superior goal difference.

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - MAY 13:  David Stockdale of Brighton reacts as Kieran Lee of Sheffild Wednesday celebrates scoring a goal to make the score 2-0 during the Sky Bet Championship Play Off First Leg match between Sheffield Wednesday and Brighton & Hove A
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Chris Hughton's fears were met with reality in Friday's clash with their south Yorkshire opponents Wednesday, as injury tore apart his starting XI during their trip north. Despite finishing 15 points clear of their semi-final rivals, the south coast side are now in real danger of missing out on a final place due to a string of unfortunate physical complaints.

Brighton lost Connor Goldson and Tomer Hemed to injury inside 40 minutes before things turned from bad to worse when Ross Wallace smashed in the opening goal from 25-yards out. Steve Sidwell was next to leave the action on 50 minutes before Anthony Knockaert was forced off on a stretcher, resulting in the visitors playing the final 30 minutes with 10 men.

Carlos Carvalhal's side took advantage of their numerical advantage to cause further distress as Kieran Lee netted Wednesday's second of the match in the second period.

OptaJoe provided the stat all Wednesday fans wanted to see:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

100% - Sheffield Wednesday have a 100% win record in play-off games, winning all four of their games. Bouncing.

Meanwhile the Guardian and Observer's football writer, Amy Lawrence, was enthralled by the match atmosphere:

Amy Lawrence @amylawrence71

Breathless stuff and belting atmosphere at Sheffield Wednesday. That giant looks wide awake alright.

The southerners will be hoping their injury-ravaged squad will be able to dust themselves off for Monday's home tie against the Owls, with Hughton's side heading into the crutial clash in the knowledge they have lost just four games at home in the league all yearthe fourth-best record in the divisionper WhoScored.com.

In the other semi-final, Hull have one foot in the next stage of the play-offs with a dominant display against the Rams on Saturday night at home. Just five points separated the two teams during the 46-game season proper, but the difference in class was evident on Humberside as Bruce's boys thrashed the Premier League hopefuls.

The Tigers boss felt his side were so dominant that even he could have played in goal, per Sean Taylor of the Press Association:

Sean Taylor @seantaylorpress

Hull boss Steve Bruce: ``I could've played in goal today. Well, if they could've wedged me in there.`` #hcafc #dcfc #dcfcfans #DCFCvHCAFC

Derby were lacklustre in their approach, and Hull soundly beat them after goals from Abel Hernandez, a Jason Shackell own goal and a late Andrew Robertson strike did the damage. Per Lewis Jones of Fox Sports, Hull are now unbeaten in 36 matches after scoring the opening goal of the game.

DERBY, ENGLAND - MAY 14: Scott Carson of Derby County tries to stop Ahmed Elmohamady of Hull City during the Sky Bet Championship Play Off First Leg match between Derby County and Hull City at the iPro Stadium on May 14, 2016 in Derby, England. (Photo by
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Uruguayan forward Hernandez has been called up to the international squad for this summer's Copa America 2016 set to be held in the United States. WhoScored.com have noted his good run of form in the buildup to the tournament and in Hull's bid to return to the top flight:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Abel Hernández: Has now scored in 5 of his last 6 apps for Hull after failing to score in his previous 9 #DERHUL

Per the National, no team has ever overturned a two-goal deficit in the Championship play-off semi-finals, meaning an all-Yorkshire final on May 28 is on the cards if history is to have it's say on proceedings. Derby have scored three or more goals at home in the league on five occasions this season, per Soccerway.

BBC Radio Derbyshire sports reporter Owen Bradley had a damning assessment on the action he watched unfold: 

Owen Bradley @OwenBradley

FT Derby 0-3 Hull City. Boos around the iPro Stadium at the full-time whistle. That was awful. Awful. #dcfcfans

Interim manager Darren Wassell will know his side have a mountain to climb if they are to stand any chance of reaching the play-off showdown at the end of the month. The east Midlands outfit finished third in the Championship during the 2013-14 campaign but missed out on promotion after losing to QPR in the play-off final.

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