Thursday, 24 May 2012

League One play off final preview: Huddersfield Town v Sheffield United

As everyone starts to concentrate on the upcoming European Championships, there are still a couple of games that will decide which teams will be playing in both League One or League Two next season. Both play off finals take place this weekend at Wembley. First up is the League One play off final on Saturday which sees a Yorkshire derby between Huddersfield Town and Sheffield United. Both teams will be desperate to gain the final promotion spot having both had seasons which thoroughly deserve promotion. Huddersfield Town will be eager to gain the final place having missed out last season after being beaten in the final to Peterborough United. On the other hand, Sheffield United looked certain to go up automatically but were narrowly pipped by arch rivals Sheffield Wednesday and will want an immediate return to the Championship following last seasons relegation.

Huddersfield Town:
This will be the third time Huddersfield Town will be in a play off final after making it in 2004 and 2011. The first time they reached a play off final was when they played Mansfield Town in the old Division Three play off final winning 4-1 on penalties. As already mentioned their most recent appearance came against Peterborough United last season where they were beaten 3-0 at Old Trafford in the League One play off final. Town progressed to the final this year after overcoming MK Dons over the two legs winning 3-2 on aggregate. Striker Jordan Rhodes scored twice over the legs making it an incredible 40 goals in all competitions this year. The forward has been a key figure in the club's charge for promotion this year scoring a number of hat tricks including an impressive four goals in the 4-4 draw away at Sheffield Wednesday. Huddersfield will fancy their chances on Saturday against opponents Sheffield United after beating them 3-0 at Bramall Lane earlier on in the season. Boss Simon Grayson has excellent history in the play off's having managed former clubs Blackpool and Leeds United to promotion while in charge.

Sheffield United:
Relegated from the Championship last season, Sheffield United will be keen to make an immediate return. Having narrowly missed out to on an automatic spot to arch rivals Sheffield Wednesday, United have good enough reason for wanting promotion to the Championship. Their last appearance in the play off's came in 2003 where they were beaten by Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0 in the old Division One play off final at Millennium Stadium. Since, the Blades have had appearances in the Premier League and the Championship before being relegated last season to League One. United could feel lucky to be playing at Wembley on Saturday after struggling to get past their semi final opponents Stevenage. The Blades came out 1-0 winners on aggregate after a last minute winner in the second leg from forward Chris Porter. Goals have not been hard to come for United this season having had striker Ched Evans in great form notching 35 goals in all competitions. But after being found guilty of rape, Evans was sent to prison leaving United boss Danny Wilson with problems up front. If selected it could be up to semi final hero, Porter to provide the goods if United are to go back up.

Prediction: Huddersfield Town 2-0 Sheffield United

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