The five players to look out for in the Championship play-offs

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As Wigan Athletic host Queens Park Rangers and Brighton and Hove Albion host Derby County, we take a look at five players to keep an eye on…

The play-offs are an excruciating end to the season for the supporters involved, however, for the neutrals they make for fantastic entertainment. 

Derby County, who finished clear third, go into the mini-tournament as the favourites but know full-well that they will have to be on their game in order to claim their place in the Premier League next season. Despite finishing above their three competitors, it will undoubtedly be Queens Park Rangers, who many tipped to be crowned Champions, that will shoulder the majority of the pressure. 

Harry Redknapp has endured a relatively disappointing season and despite a wage bill bigger than both Borussia Dortmund and Champions League finalist Atletico Madrid, they have only managed a fourth placed finish. Nevertheless, their side equipped with the likes of Ravel Morrison, Niko Kranjcar and Youssi Benayoun will have to be watched as, on their day, the most dangerous. 

Wigan and Brighton, the teams that finished in fifth and sixth respectively, will play host in the first-leg which means it is important for them to get a good result from the off. A home loss, whilst not the end of the world. does make life incredibly difficult when the deciding tie is on their opponents home soil. 

We take a look at five players that could shape the play-offs in their teams favour, and who supporters and neutrals should be looking out for as the games commence. 

Ravel Morrison - Queens Park Rangers

The former Manchester United midfielder, in my opinion, is perhaps the most dangerous player of all.

At Manchester United the player was considered a starlet and when he was 14-years-old, Alex Ferguson announced he was the best he had ever seen at that age. The 21-year-old, however, let it go to his head and despite his ability, he still finds himself outside the top flight.

Regardless of his past, it's inevitable, if he were to reach the play-off final, he would be desperate to perform and put himself back in the spotlight. 

Leonardo Ulloa - Brighton and Hove Albion

The Argentinian giant is another one who has the ability to cause problems regardless of opposition. 

Although he may be classed as less 'flashy' than Morrison, it doesn't make him any less of a threat. The 27-year-old has hit an impressive 14 goals in 31 starts despite being injured for a few months of the season. 

The threat of Ulloa stems from the 6'3'' frame which makes him a defenders worst nightmare - especially when trying to defend crosses. 

Chris Martin - Derby County

The classy striker, nicknamed the 'fat Berbatov', is to most supporters the most influential piece of the jigsaw at Derby. The former Norwich striker has missed just two league games this season and in both games, the Rams have failed to win. 

He is often overlooked for the more reputable Derby players, such as Craig Bryson and Will Hughes, however the importance of Martin far exceeds the two mentioned. He is a large part of Derby's build-up play and is a large reason why the Rams finished the season as the league's top goalscorers. 

Callum McManaman - Wigan Athletic

The Latics youngster is another one in a similar vein to QPR's Ravel Morrison, in the fact that on his day, he can be unplayable. 

The former England under-21 international has spent large parts of the season in and out of the Wigan first-team, but seems to have hit good form at the right time. He was also an instrumental part of Wigan's FA Cup win last season and in some circles even earned the accolade of being Man of the Match. 

Craig Bryson - Derby County

The most productive midfielder in the division, and a player that has proven himself on the big occasions. Although Chris Martin is arguably the most important member to the Derby County team, the Scottish midfielder comes in at a comfortable second. 

In the past, the former Kilmarnock player has proven he doesn't get unsettled by nerves and, emphatically, showed that against fierce rivals Nottingham Forest earlier in the season by netting a hat-trick. 

Sixteen goals and 13 assists in 43 starts show the midfielder, on his day, is capable of scoring and creating goals at will. 

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