Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Prediction: Huddersfield vs Reading

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 4/7

Bookmaker: Bet 365

Huddersfield and Reading play each other in the Sky Bet Championship play-off final at Wembley on Monday afternoon. Both sides know that only 90 minutes separates them from the promised land of the Premier League.


It took a penalty shoot-out against Sheffield Wednesday in the semi-finals to send David Wagner’s men to within touching distance of the Premier League and Monday’s match versus Reading could be just as tight. Both games in the regular season finished 1-0 to the home side, and most ties of this magnitude are cagey affairs, decided by a touch of magic or a sloppy mistake. Additionally, the last four Championship play-off finals have produced only four goals inside the 90 minutes. Huddersfield have done surprisingly well this season after most people had tipped them to be fighting for relegation. However, Wagner has done wonders at the club and it’s no surprise his name is being linked with bigger teams. Having worked with Jurgen Klopp as Borussia Dortmund’s assistant manager, it’s easy to see where his high energy and counter pressing tactics come from and have been fundamental of their success this season. The Terriers were the only side in the top 10 to finish with a minus goal difference, and they will need to address their leaky defence if they are to have any chance of beating Reading at Wembley.

Team News

Wagner has no new injury concerns ahead of the match.

Elias Kachunga should be fit and Chelsea loanee Kasey Palmer is also back training.

Danny Ward will retain his place in goal after returning from suspension in the second leg.


A Yann Kermorgant goal was enough for the Royals to progress past Fulham 1-0 in their tight semi-final last week. The 35-year-old has scored 19 goals in 36 starts this season and could prove to be the difference again on Monday. Reading finished third in the Championship this term, but their away form has been inconsistent to say the least with 10 wins and 11 losses in 23 games. Nonetheless, a trip to Wembley is a completely different ball game and Japp Stam’s men should be confident given the fact they have won five of their last seven matches. The former Manchester United defender has given his side a new identity this season, and one of the main reasons for their success was the switch from a diamond to an attacking 4-3-3 at the start of the campaign. However, their forward thinking has come at a cost, conceding 64 goals in total, and, much like Huddersfield, they will need to ensure they tighten this fragile defence if they are to win the match and achieve their dream of Premier League football.

Team News

Left-back Jordan Obita is a doubt with an ankle injury. However, Stam has no other injury concerns.

Captain Paul McShane remains absent through suspension.

Key Factors to Consider

  • There has been five meetings between the two sides since Wagner took over the club in November 2015 – both sides have claimed two victories and shared a draw
  • Reading haven’t succeeded in the play-offs in five attempts
  • If Huddersfield win, they will be the first side to gain promotion having conceded more goals than they have scored
  • Yann Kermorgant has scored 10 goals in his last 10 starts for the Royals
  • Six of Reading’s last nine goals have come from set-pieces


Games of this magnitude tend to be sketchy affairs and we cannot see this one being any different. This is a match worth around £170m to the winner and both sides will try to work each other out in the early stages. Even though Reading and Huddersfield are not the strongest at the back, we can see both sides shutting up shop and hoping they can pinch a winner either through a set-piece or a bit of individual skill.

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 4/7

Bookmaker: Bet 365


Ashley Randall

Ash is a freelance football writer who lives, breathes and dreams the beautiful game. A lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers season ticket holder, if he isn't at Molineux then he will be watching any game on television that he can set his eyes on. Producing work for various football websites and publications, Ash has also written for regional newspapers and global magazines.



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