Championship play-off final ‘one for the romantics’ as Coventry and Luton look to complete amazing journeys

Coventry beat Middlesbrough to reach the Championship play-off final  (Getty Images)
Coventry beat Middlesbrough to reach the Championship play-off final (Getty Images)

Coventry City manager Mark Robins believes the Championship play-off final is ‘one for the romantics’ after his side set up a Wembley meeting with Luton Town.

Robins’ team edged out Middlesbrough in a tight semi-final to put themselves just one game away from a return to the Premier League.

The Midlands club were last in the English top flight in 2001, while Luton have never featured in the Premier League.

And as recently as 2018, the two clubs were languishing in League Two, but now have the chance to earn promotion to the top of the English footballing pyramid.

“People talk about journeys, where we’ve come from,” Robins told BBC CWR. “It’s one for the romantics.

“Luton have come from the National League. I remember it well; Mick Harford in charge, 30-point deductions, it’s been a tough road for them but it’s been a tough road for us and we’ve got our own tales of woe from over a number of years.

“Hopefully we can build into a game and have a really good go at getting back into the Premier League. We’re one game away, they’re one game away. To be part of that game is fantastic.”

A single goal from Gustavo Hamer was all that separated Coventry and Middlesbrough across two legs, with the Brazilian-born playmaker firing home impressively to secure his side’s place in the promotion decider.

Robins returned for a second stint as manager in 2017 and has steadied the club through a number of challenging seasons, leading them to two promotions to return to the Championship.

The 53-year-old has been rewarded with a new, extended contract and praised the clubs “special fans” for their support.

““It’s a special club and it’s special because it’s been through so much,” Robins said.

“We’re playing Luton who have been through a fair amount themselves, but this is a special club with special fans and the fact they’ve got behind us so much is testament to everything we do.

“They’re really good, they’re behind the players, and the biggest achievement I think we’ve managed to do is reconnect with the fans - because there was a huge disconnect with the club.

“They’ve come back together, and it’s been phenomenal. It’s changed beyond all recognition since I walked through the door in 2017 and hopefully we can take the next step.”

Coventry and Luton meet on Saturday 27 May at Wembley to determine who earns promotion to the Premier League.