Huddersfield Town vs Sheffield Wednesday Preview: Yorkshire derby adds extra spice to play-off clash

Huddersfield Town vs Sheffield Wednesday Preview: Yorkshire derby adds extra spice to play-off clash

Huddersfield Town will be looking to utilise home advantage in the first leg of their play-off semi-final in The Championship against Sheffield Wednesday at John Smith's Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

samstraw
Sam Straw

Huddersfield Town will be looking to take advantage at home in the first leg of their play-off semi-final in The Championship against Sheffield Wednesday at John Smith's Stadium on Sunday afternoon. 

It is Wednesday who come into this one in the better form. They won six games in a row before losing 2-1 to Fulham at Hillsborough on the final day of the season, albeit after fielding a much-changed side. 

As for Huddersfield, they have been largely inconsistent in the latter stages of the season but have also been resting key players ahead of their push for promotion to the Premier League

How they've fared so far

Whatever happens in the play-offs, it has been a remarkable season for everyone connected with Huddersfield under the management of David Wagner. He has taken them from a team reasonably happy just to secure safety in the Championship, to a team that challenged for automatic promotion.

Ultimately the came up short of a position in the top two, mainly due to the consistency of both Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion. However, they will still fancy their chances of gaining promotion and will be dreaming of a trip to Wembley

Wagner was highly criticised by many for making 10 changes for Huddersfield's game against Birmingham City a couple of weeks ago which the Terriers lost 2-0 on the day at St Andrews

David Wagner has been criticised for his rotation policy in recent weeks. (picture: Getty Images / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA)
David Wagner has been criticised for his rotation policy in recent weeks. (picture: Getty Images / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA)

They followed this up with another defeat at home to Cardiff City as they lost 3-0 to Neil Warnock's men. This meant that the Terriers lost both games following the 1-0 win away at Wolverhampton Wanderers which sealed their position in the play-offs. Whether Wagner's rotation policy was the right move or not, we will soon find out. 

As for Sheffield Wednesday, they have finished the season strongly after a sticky spell around February time. Carlos Carvahal's side won six matches on the spin against Rotherham United, Newcastle United, Cardiff City, Queens Park Rangers, Derby County and Ipswich Town before falling to defeat on the final day. 

This defeat did come against Fulham, who are in the play-offs themselves and drew 1-1 against Reading in their play-off semi-final first leg on Saturday evening. Carvahal also rested many key players including Kieran Westwood, Glenn Loovens, Fernando Forestieri and Barry Bannan.

Wednesday will be hoping that their experience of the play-offs from last season, where they ultimately lost 1-0 to Hull City in the final at Wembley, will put them in good stead this time around. 

Last time they met

Huddersfield Town last played Sheffield Wednesday in a 2-0 defeat at Hillsborough in January. Ross Wallace and Forestieri got the goals for the home side in a game which also saw Jack Payne sent off for Huddersfield. 

Wednesday also got the better of the Terriers in the clash at the John Smith's Stadium in October which they managed to win 1-0. Forestieri's conversion from the penalty spot was enough to give the away side all three points. 

Fernando Forestieri has scored in both games against Huddersfield this season. (picture: Getty Images / Nathan Stirk)
Fernando Forestieri has scored in both games against Huddersfield this season. (picture: Getty Images / Nathan Stirk)

Team news

Huddersfield's first choice goalkeeper Danny Ward will miss this first leg after he serves a one match ban after being sent off in the 3-0 home defeat to Cardiff City last weekend. 

However, the Terriers will be boosted by the fact star striker Elias Kachunga has returned from his calf injury and is fit to play a part. 

Wednesday do have one major injury doubt in the form of Gary Hooper. This could result in Jordan Rhodes retaining his place in the starting line-up alongside Forestieri. 

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