Championship Play-Off Final Preview: Reading vs Huddersfield - Two teams battle for promotion to the Premier League

Championship Play-Off Final Preview: Reading vs Huddersfield - Two teams battle for promotion to the Premier League

Both Reading and Huddersfield Town will be looking to secure a place in the Premier League in the Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley on Monday afternoon.

samstraw
Sam Straw

Reading and Huddersfield Town will be looking to secure a place in the Premier League when they face off in the Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley on Monday afternoon.

It is an impossible game to predict with so much on the line for both clubs. It has been an outstanding season for both Jaap Stam and David Wagner's sides and it will be interesting to see which manager comes out on top in this crucial clash. 

How they've fared so far

Reading have had a superb season under the management of Stam and finished in third place in the regular Championship season. This is a great individual achievement for the Manchester United legend in his first full-time managerial role. 

They have defied their doubters all season and bounced back from a number of setbacks along the way. One of the biggest setbacks came in the 7-1 defeat to Norwich City at Carrow Road at the beginning of April. 

When the Royals came up against Fulham in the play-off semi-finals earlier in the month, not many gave them a chance. This was mainly due to their inconsistent form throughout the season, especially on the road. However, they secured an impressive 1-1 draw away at Craven Cottage in the first-leg which gave them the advantage.

They were then able to hold their nerve back at the Madejski Stadium a couple of days after as they secured a 1-0 win to win the tie 2-1 on aggregate. The crucial goal came from the penalty spot as Yann Kermorgant cooly converted and he could be a crucial player for the Royals again at Wembley as well as 'keeper Ali Al-Habsi, who has been superb all season. 

Yann Kermorgant sealed Reading's place at Wembley. (picture: Getty Images / Ben Hoskins)
Yann Kermorgant sealed Reading's place at Wembley. (picture: Getty Images / Ben Hoskins)

As for Huddersfield, nobody in football expected the dramatic rise which has occurred this season under the guidance of Wagner. He has been criticised by many, especially in the latter stages of the season for making wholesale changes to his starting line-up. 

However, this is a decision which paid off as they saw off Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday in the semi-finals. Many expected the Sheffield side to progress after the first-leg at the John Smith's Stadium ended goalless

Despite this, the Terriers embraced the underdog label once more and came from 1-0 down to win the tie in the most dramatic fashion in a penalty shootout to silence Hillsborough. If Wagner's side are capable of replicating this sort of performance once again, they have a great chance of achieving something very special. 

Huddersfield celebrate securing their place at Wembley. (picture: Getty Images / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA)
Huddersfield celebrate securing their place at Wembley. (picture: Getty Images / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA)

Last time they met

Reading last played Huddersfield Town in a 1-0 defeat at the John Smith's Stadium at the beginning of February in the regular Championship season. It was Philip Billing who got a late winner on the day and moved the Terriers to within four points of the automatic promotion places. 

However, the Royals did beat Huddersfield 1-0 themselves earlier on in the season in September as they came out 1-0 winners at the Madejski Stadium. Roy Beerens' goal was enough for all three points after Rajiv van La Parra had earlier been sent off for Huddersfield. 

Team news

Wagner could name exactly the same starting line-up to the one which faced Sheffield Wednesday in their play-off semi-final second leg after what was an incredible performance. However, Kasey Palmer has returned from injury and could make the squad. 

As for Reading, Stam is hopeful that both Jordan Obita and Garath McCleary are fit and available for this crucial clash after they both missed parts of the play-off semi-final tie against Fulham though injury. 

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