Who are the key players as Middlesbrough and Norwich meet at Wembley?

Wembley England 2

It's the richest game in football one week today, and we start the build-up to the Championship play-off final by looking at the key players on each side.

It is fair to say that the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-finals went with form, as the two clubs who narrowly missed out on automatic promotion, Middlesbrough and Norwich City, overcame the clubs that somewhat limped over the line in the final week of the regular season. 

Middlesbrough's 5-1 aggregate win over Brentford was the most impressive, whilst Norwich won the battle of the East Anglian clubs, with their 4-2 triumph against Ipswich over two legs. Now talk turns immediately to Wembley and the players on each side who can most influence the game.

Lee Tomlin (Middlesbrough)

Ten goals from 41 appearances doesn't tell the full story of Tomlin's influence on 'Boro's side. The floating forward is difficult to pin down and his clever movement is tailor-made for the Premier League. The 26-year-old was an astute signing from Peterborough last February, and his value was epitomised by the curling finish for the opening goal against Brentford on Friday night.

Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough)

A free transfer signing from Ipswich in 2012, but Leadbitter has evolved into a supreme leader in the Middlesbrough engine room.  The 29-year-old makes 'Boro tick and is always in the thick of the action, his lung-bursting runs bring drive and fluidity to their play and off the field he is the essence of the fantastic team spirit that Aitor Karanka speaks of.

Patrick Bamford (Middlesbrough)

It is testament to 'Boro's strength in depth that they could afford to rest the Chelsea loan man on Friday night, to nurse an injury. But the Teessiders will be praying Bamford makes the Wembley date on Monday 25th. Not only has the 21-year-old shown his quality with 19 goals this season, but he has demonstrated he can make the difference in the big games. Bamford has netted in almost every game against the promotion-chasing sides this season, and also against both Liverpool and Manchester City in the domestic cup competitions. You sense that the Wembley occasion is made for him.

Jonny Howson (Norwich City)

Howson has come of age this season and as the heartbeat of Norwich's midfield has contributed far more than just the nine goals from midfield. Howson's well-timed forward runs are a key aspect of Norwich's attacking threat and the 26-year-old former Leeds man is bang on form just at the right time.

Bradley Johnson (Norwich City) 

Voted as Player of the Season and with 15 goals to his name, Johnson is capable of the spectacular and he has revitalised his career after receiving criticism as the Canaries slid out of the Premier League last season. Johnson's energy and all-round play makes him a vital cog in Norwich's midfield and Wembley could be the perfect stage for him to top off an outstanding season.

Cameron Jerome (Norwich City)

Norwich have attacking threat all over the park, but the pace of Nathan Redmond and in particular Cameron Jerome could make the difference in what is sure to be a tight encounter at Wembley. Jerome uses his pace well and can drift wide and cause threat from the flanks as well as through the middle. The wide spaces of Wembley can accommodate his clever movement and uitlise the midfield runs of Redmond, Howson, Johnson and Wes Hoolahan, not to mention the small matter of 20 goals from Jerome himself this season. 

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