The following article refers to the 2016/2017 Championship playoff final. See the latest Championship Playoff Final preview here.
Reading vs Huddersfield Town
Championship Play-offs Final 2016/17
29th May, 15:00 BST
Wembley Stadium, London
Live Stream: Watch Reading vs Huddersfield Town live on Sky Sports 1
Unless you are living under a rock, you’ll know the fate of the Premier League relegation battle. Hull City, Middlesbrough and Sunderland went down; Newcastle, Brighton and one other team wait in the wings to replace the Premier League trio.
That other team’s fate is not yet known. The Championship playoffs final will decide the third team from the English second tier who will play Premier League football next season.
Huddersfield Town Team News & Preview
Hipsters’ choice Huddersfield Town will take on promotion experts Reading on Monday in the playoffs final, hoping to secure what will be the Terriers’ first-ever foray into the new top division.
David Wagner’s Huddersfield finished four points off Reading in the regular Championship season after stuttering towards the end of a tiring campaign. They somehow scraped past Sheffield Wednesday on penalties in the semi-finals, although Reading also don’t quite boast a lot in the scoring stakes.
The Terriers have embarked on a relaxation tour of Portugal before they start their preparations for the big final.
Predicted Huddersfield Town line-up: Ward, Smith, Hefele, Schindler, Lowe, Hogg, Mooy, Van la Parra, Brown, Kachunga, Wells.
Reading Team News & Preview
Reading, meanwhile, have frequented the Premier League often this decade, therefore, it comes as a surprise that Jaap Stam’s Royals are not the favourites for the tie.
Stam’s men came out as winners after a closely-fought tussle that was won by the odd goal. Reading won 2–1 on aggregate after two legs, paving the way for their third play-offs final appearance. A point to note is that Reading have never won a play-offs final.
Predicted Reading line-up: Al-Habsi, Ilori, Moore, Van den Berg, Gunter, Evans, Williams, Blackett, Swift, Kermorgant, Grabban.
Reading vs Huddersfield Town Key Stats
-Reading’s recent form reads WDWWL
-Huddersfield’s recent form reads DDLLW
-Reading have lost two play-offs finals
-This will be Huddersfield’s first play-offs final appearance
Reading vs Huddersfield Town Predictions
Both Wagner and Stam are relatively new to the spotlight that follows English football. Both were appointed at their respective clubs only last year. That spotlight will increase in intensity in the Premier League, where the challenge is quite different and demanding.
Prediction: Reading 1–0 Huddersfield Town
The play-offs final is often labelled as a £100m+ match because of the financial windfall that comes with being a Premier League club. Huddersfield and Reading will be wise to not let that affect them on the pitch. Otherwise, another tiring season in the Championship awaits.