Frank Lampard versus John Terry on two fronts
Former teammates vying to lead their clubs to the EPL and ultimately the grand prize of the Chelsea job
Chelsea legends Frank Lampard and John Terry will face off in the Championship play-off final tonight and, in the longer term, the Stamford Bridge hot seat.
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Lampard has led Derby County to the brink of the English Premier League promise land in his first season as a manager, while Terry is assistant to Dean Smith at Midlands rivals Aston Villa.
A Terry-captained Villa fell at this hurdle last season, while Derby have lost at the semi-final stage in two of the last three seasons.
Amid the backdrop of the play-off finals, there is also speculation regarding the Chelsea manager's position.
Ahead of the Blues' Europa League final against Arsenal on Thursday morning (Singapore time), there have been widespread reports that the fixture will be Maurizio Sarri's last in charge of the London club.
Italian media have almost unanimously reported that he will take over from Massimiliano Allegri at Juventus.
That has intensified speculation in England over who might take over at Stamford Bridge.
Lampard, 40, called speculation "a bit of an obvious link".
He added: "It's maybe because of where we're at - in the final - and we're being talked about and I get linked because of my 13 years at the club."
The former England midfielder said he will meet Derby chairman Mel Morris to discuss his future after the play-offs.
Morris, meanwhile, insists that Chelsea have not contacted him over Lampard.
He told Sky Sports: "Is anyone surprised that lots of people would be interested in him, given what he has achieved this season? His style of football has been fantastic...
"There's been no request by any club to talk to our manager...
"At the end of the day, I'm sure Frank and Chelsea will reunite, and if that ever happens you'd understand that that is his club. You can understand the passion for that.
"But on the other side, what he has achieved here is also starting to build quite a strong bond as well."
Ian Holloway, who has led Blackpool and Crystal Palace to the EPL, believes Lampard is ready for the Chelsea job.
He told The Daily Express: "He's managed the failures better than the successes because that's what it's about... You have bad runs and he's handled them.
"Can he handle big players? Yeah, course he can...
"But can he work with young players? Yeah, he's proved that. He's been brilliant with them.
"And if you were a young player, wouldn't you want Frank - one of the best midfield players in the world - to be your manager and encourage you like how (Jose) Mourinho encouraged him?"
However, former Chelsea captain Dennis Wise believes Terry, 38, will be Blues boss before Lampard.
He told The Sun: "If I was really pressed, then I would say John will get the Chelsea job before Frank.
"They will both want it, I'm sure of that, and it is a race against the clock - a race against each other - in many ways.
"John is doing it differently to Frank because he has gone in as an assistant at Villa to Dean Smith - and that's a shrewd move. It means he can listen to some conversations in the manager's office that he has never heard before.
"Players can look up to, respect and admire, people like Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti out on the training field...
"What the players don't see is the planning, preparation, the tactical analysis and conversations that go on inside the manager's office."
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