Noel Whelan has claimed “brilliant” Aston Villa will overcome Derby County in the play-off final at Wembley today.
The two Championship clubs go head to head for football’s richest domestic game, the winner of which will secure a moneyspinning passage to the Premier League.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, ex-Leeds United , Coventry City and Derby striker Whelan predicted Dean Smith’s side have too much for Frank Lampard’s team.
“My money is on Aston Villa,” Whelan said. “They dominated Derby in their two league matches this season and I think they will be too strong for them.
“I know Leeds also beat Derby both times before their semi-final but they let themselves down in the second leg and I don’t think Villa will do that. They will dominate the game and dominate possession, and will be too quick, too strong and have too much for Derby.
“I also expect Villa to harness the failure from last season’s final and learn from the experience. I just cannot see them getting beaten. Their set-up is just too good and Dean Smith has the edge over Frank Lampard in terms of experience, players and strength in depth.
“You look at player like John McGinn, Jack Grealish, Tammy Abraham and Tyrone Mings, the Villa spine is so strong and they are big-game players as well.”
Villa made it to the final after overcoming West Brom on penalties in their semi-final, while Derby beat leads 4-3 on aggregate after a remarkable second-half display at Elland Road in the second leg.
The winners of today’s Wembley showdown, which kicks off at 3pm, are guaranteed £170million in broadcasting revenue from promotion to the Premier League.
In other Aston Villa news, Southampton and Leicester City have tabled bids for wide flyer after HUGE Villa offer.