Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final: Huddersfield Town v Reading
Here’s all you need to know about the two sides’ season so far as they prepare for what is billed as the most valuable game in world football…
Sky Bet Championship – how they fared
The Terriers were written off in pre-season by many, but proved the doubters wrong when they flew out of the traps, losing just two of their first 11 league fixtures.
Included in that were wins over Newcastle United and Leeds United, but one of the teams to defeat them? Reading.
The consistency continued, though, and David Wagner’s men went on to secure a fifth-placed finish.
The Royals were the side to run the top two closest, finishing the season with 85 points, eight short of an automatic promotion spot.
The key to Jaap Stam’s side’s run to the play-offs was their fine home form. They racked up a massive 53 points at the Madejski Stadium – a figure only bettered by promoted Brighton & Hove Albion.
Position: Fifth – 81 points
Goals: Scored 56, conceded 58
Stat: The Terriers drew the least amount of games in the Sky Bet Championship, sharing the points on only six occasions.
Position: Third – 85 points
Goals: Scored 68, conceded 64
Stat: Reading lost the least amount of home matches in the division, with only two teams leaving the Madejski with all three points.
Wembley – how they got there:
Reading took on Fulham in their semi-final, and the two teams were tied at 1-1 after the first leg at Craven Cottage. Jordan Obita was the man to get the goal, but the Royals were soon pegged back by Fulham skipper Tom Cairney.
At the Madejski, the match was settled by a Yann Kermorgant penalty and a stern defence as Reading secured their place at Wembley.
Huddersfield defeated Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday over two legs to reach Monday’s showpiece.
After the first leg ended in a goalless draw, the Terriers went a goal down at Hillsborough. But a Tom Lees own goal sent the tie to extra-time, and then penalties. On-loan stopper Danny Ward was the hero in the shoot-out, saving two penalties to win it for Wagner’s men.
Que Sera, Sera… 🎤
— EFL (@EFL) May 17, 2017
The two matches between the sides this season have been extremely tight with the home side taking the points with a 1-0 win on both occasions.
The duo first clashed in late September at the Madejski Stadium. Rajiv van la Parra was sent off early on for Huddersfield, and Roy Beerens scored just before the break to secure the three points for Reading.
Then, in February, an 82nd-minute Philip Billing winner gave the Terriers the three points, which at that stage, lifted them up to third, four points clear of Stam’s Royals.
Need to know
Reading are looking to secure promotion through the play-offs for the first time, having failed to make it through on each of the last five occasions they have participated (1995, 2001, 2003, 2009 and 2011).
Huddersfield are only the fourth EFL club to reach the final of the play-offs in all three divisions after Blackpool, Preston and Swansea. Only Blackpool have won all three.