The Football League Play-offs take centre stage once again this weekend as four teams battle it out for the ultimate aim of the season and clinch promotion.
While we will look more into that game tomorrow, today’s feature concentrates on the all-Yorkshire affair as the Terriers and the Blades aim to get into the Championship.
Having gone into the play-offs as the top two sides of the quartet, both progressed from their semi-finals in tense fashion to make it to Wembley.
Huddersfield fought off a comeback from Milton Keynes Dons, while Sheffield United took 175 minutes to break down the fierce resilience of Stevenage before Chris Porter’s late second leg header put them one win away from joining local rivals Sheffield Wednesday in promotion back to the second tier this season.
Danny Wilson’s side have had to overcome the disappointment of missing out on automatic promotion to the Owls to pick themselves up and get into the Championship at the second time of asking.
Huddersfield meanwhile had to deal with a change of management when Lee Clark, who had overseen the second longest domestic unbeaten run in history (43 matches), was sacked and replaced by former Leeds boss Simon Grayson.
Grayson has already tasted promotion from this division with Leeds and Blackpool so knows what it takes to guide the Terriers out of League One, and they have a nucleus of players to clinch play-off glory.
With the experience of Ian Bennett in goal, the solid defensive unit of the likes of Calum Woods, Peter Clarke and Jack Hunt, and the midfield craft of Gary Roberts and Tommy Miller, it’s easy to see why Huddersfield have become such a tough team to beat.
But there’s no doubt who their key man is; striker Jordan Rhodes is the top scorer in English football this season with 40 goals in all competitions, and the 21 year-old will be the player to stop if Sheffield United are to prevail this weekend.
However, United are a well-organised outfit that finished nine points clear of their Yorkshire rivals this season, with a team that scored more goals than any other side in the league.
Lee Williamson has been a real asset in the midfield, but with Ched Evans no longer available for selection it will be up to the likes of Porter and Richard Cresswell to carry the goalscoring expectations for the Blades.
It is sure to be a tight affair with both managers having experience of securing promotion (Wilson previously guided Barnsley to the Premier League in 1997) so it’s all set to be a thrilling final.
Prediction: It’s going to be a tight affair between the Yorkshire duo, but the extra firepower that Huddersfield currently possess may make all the difference on the day. Huddersfield to win 2-1.
So what do you think? Who will make it into the Championship on Saturday afternoon? Leave a comment and let us know your views.