Most players and managers who have made it to the Play-Off Finals will tell you that the smallest margins can make the biggest difference.The preparation of the six clubs heading to Wembley this weekend will be meticulous as they look to end their season with success.
One thing the teams can’t control, though, is the allocation of dressing rooms at the national stadium – but does it really matter which end your club is housed in for the big day?
Much was made of the ‘curse’ of the south dressing room at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium when Play-Off Finals were held there but, since coming back to Wembley Stadium in 2007, the winners have enjoyed a fairly even split between the east and west ends of the venue.
Although if you are looking for a slight advantage, 12 of the 22 Play-Off Final winners at the new Wembley since 2007 have been allocated the east changing room, with the other 10 in the west, which is also used by the England team.
The first Play-Off winners at Wembley back in 2007 were Bristol Rovers, who occupied the east side of the national stadium when they overcame Shrewsbury Town 3-1.
The team in the east changing room for the Championship final of 2007 were also promotion winners, with Derby County beating West Bromwich Albion 1-0.
It wasn’t a clean sweep, however, as the 2007 League 1 Play-Off Final in between those two games saw Blackpool – housed in the west side of the stadium – beat Yeovil Town 2-1 to secure promotion.
The good news for fans and clubs in the east end of Wembley Stadium this weekend is that no team based in that end of the stadium has lost since Watford back in 2013 - all three of last season’s winners were housed in the east end of the stadium, which is the first time that all three teams from the same end have triumphed in all three finals.
Here’s a look at the weekend’s Play-Off Final line-ups, and which side of Wembley Stadium they have been allocated:
Sky Bet Championship: Middlesbrough (west) v Norwich City (east)
Sky Bet League 1: Preston North End (west) v Swindon Town (east)
Sky Bet League 2: Southend United (west) v Wycombe Wanderers (east)
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