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Championship play-off headlines as Brentford captain makes ‘leaders’ admission and Swansea City boss addresses Wembley situation

The Championship play-off final is almost upon us.

Here are your latest news headlines ahead of the contest between Brentford and Swansea City at Wembley.

Pundit’s praise for Cooper

Keith Andrews believes Steve Cooper deserves huge praise for the job he’s done at Swansea City – regardless of the outcome of the play-off final.

The Welshman led Swansea to a sixth place finish in his debut campaign at the club.

His side finished two places higher and were 10 points better off in the 2020/21 season and have reached the play-off final by beating Barnsley 2-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals.

And while he admitted the Bees were the favourites to win, Sky Sports pundit Andrews said Cooper deserved plenty of credit for the job he’s done with the Swans.

“Two years in a row into the play-offs, this is his first senior gig, he’s learning on the job in terms of dealing with senior players,” he said.

“He deserves a lot of credit. He shows great humility in the way he conducts himself and harnesses the squad.

“He’s come across brilliantly since his introduction as manager of Swansea in the last couple of years.”

Will Swansea beat Brentford in the Championship play-off final? Have your say in the comments section here.

Bees skipper says Brentford have more leaders this season

Brentford captain Pontus Jansson says his side’s loss to Fulham in last year’s play-off final will stand them in good stead when they take on Swansea.

The Bees were defeated 2-1 by the Cottagers at Wembley in August which ensured they would spend another season in the second tier.

However, Jansson says his side are now more mature and have a greater number of leaders within their ranks.

“Last year’s final will have a positive effect on us and we are different squad… and as a team we are a lot more mature with more leaders,” he said.

“We stayed calm and cool and kept believing, and so did the fans. That important in a game like that.

“Last year Saïd [Benrahma] and Ollie [Watkins] were fantastic but they were emotional. When they had good days they were great and when they had bad days it didn’t quite work. This season we are a team of leaders.”

Swansea City are on the brink of a return to the Premier League and here is our must-have coverage.

  • FRIDAY – your bumper eight-page Swans v Brentford supplement – everything you need to know about the big game. Click here to get one.
  • SUNDAY – all the big-match Wembley reaction and analysis in Wales on Sunday. Get that here.
  • MONDAY – another eight-page Evening Post special on all the Wembley drama. Click here to get it.

PLUS – If Swans go up don’t miss our bumper 24-page promotion special in next Saturday’s South Wales Evening Post!

Cooper opens up on Wembley ticket allocation

Steve Cooper admits he’s disappointed more fans weren’t allowed to attend Saturday’s Championship play-off final at Wembley.

Both clubs will have around 5,000 supporters in attendance while a further 2,000 tickets will be given to sponsors and affiliates.

However, it comes after around 21,000 fans attended the recent FA Cup final between Leicester City and Chelsea at the home of English football.

And Cooper admits it will be a huge plus to have fans in attendance this weekend, although he conceded it was hugely disappointing that Wembley will not be anywhere near close to full for what is the richest game in football.

“We’ve been without them for so long and you have a flavour for having a certain amount in for the semi-finals,” said the Swansea head coach.

“It’s really reminded us all about how important fans are. I think it goes without saying everybody from both teams would want more supporters in such a big stadium.

“It is a little bit sad, it would have really added to the occasion. It’s always special at Wembley.

“In some ways it’s good that there’s some fans there because we’ve had nobody watching our games for so long.”

Brentford star’s buzz for fans

David Raya has called on Brentford’s fans to lift their side by another gear in this weekend’s play-off final.

The Bees will have around 5,000 supporters at Wembley which is around 1,000 more than they had for their home semi-final second leg win over Bournemouth last weekend.

It comes after both Swansea and Brentford urged the UK Government and the football authorities to increase the ticket allocation after only 10,000 fans were initially permitted to attend. An additional 2,000 tickets have since been made available.

And goalkeeper Raya believes the Bees can go one better than last season when they lost to Fulham in the final given the support they will have this time around.

“I think it’s a massive game. Same approach [to semi-finals], same goal and hopefully we can do it,” said the Spaniard.

“It’s going to be a better one because the fans are going to be there. The fans are going to be rocking and I hope the fans are going to take us up another gear.

“We will see what happens and hopefully we can do it this year.”

The Championship play-off final kicks off at 3pm on Saturday, May 29.

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