Lee Bowyer and Jack Ross will be pitting their wits against each other on Sunday – with a place in the Championship at stake.
Here is the lowdown on the two men, who have done impressive jobs for Charlton Athletic and Sunderland respectively.
Bowyer has only been a manager since March 2018, initially stepping in as Charlton caretaker boss when Karl Robinson quit for Oxford United. Prior to that he helped Harry Kewell, a former Leeds team-mate, coach Watford U21s. Initially his role with the Addicks was part-time but he was installed as Robinson’s assistant in July 2017.
Sunderland is management job number three for Ross. Had a spell coaching at Hearts before taking the top job at Alloa but was unable to stop them dropping out of the Scottish Championship.Won the title with St Mirren and a place back in the Scottish Premiership in 2017-18. Agreed a two-year contract with Sunderland in May 2018.
Bowyer won the League Cup with Birmingham City in 2011. But Sunday’s League One play-off final is his first shot at major silverware. Picked up the League One Manager of the Month awards for November 2018 and April 2019.
Ross was part of the Clyde side which won promotion from the Scottish Second Division in 2000. He picked up the Scottish Championship Manager of the Year in 2017-18 season. Won the EFL Manager of the Month award for February 2019.
Cast aside Kevin Nugent’s short but successful caretaker spell in charge and Bowyer has the best win record of any manager under Roland Duchatelet – 52 per cent. The Addicks have won 35 of their 67 matches, losing just 11.
Ross has won 30 of his 60 games in charge of Sunderland, drawing 23 and suffering just seven reverses – giving him a 50 per cent win ratio. He did even better at St Mirren, a 52.50 per cent win record from his 80 matches at the helm. Ross picked up 13 victories from his 34 games at Alloa (38.24 per cent).