We’re almost there. After nine thrilling months of football, there is just one game left in the 2021/22 Championship season and it’s the big one. The play-off final. Fulham and Bournemouth have already secured their spots in the Premier League, but who will be joining them?
Huddersfield Town were the first team to secure their spot at Wembley, beating Luton Town 2-1 across their two-legged semi-final. The regular Championship season wasn’t a straightforward one for Huddersfield and they entered Christmas in 11th, quite a bit below their target for the season. But the Terriers built a 17-match unbeaten run between the start of December and March which lifted them right up into the play-off places and they didn’t look back.
Although Carlos Corberán’s men did suffer two consecutive defeats to Millwall and Bournemouth just before the March international break, dropping them down to sixth, they didn’t really look in danger of falling out of the play-off spots. Upon their return, they won six of their final seven Championship matches (one draw) and leapfrogged Nottingham Forest into third on the final day of the season. Then, a 1-1 draw with Luton at Kenilworth Road set Huddersfield up nicely for Jordan Rhodes’ late winner in the second leg to send them to Wembley.
Their opponents Nottingham Forest had things a little harder in reaching the play-off final, beating Sheffield United on penalties following an exciting 3-3 draw across the two legs of their semi-final. Whatever happens at Wembley, Forest fans will no doubt call the season a success considering how they started – though they will, of course, want to end the campaign with a return to the Premier League.
After seven games, Forest were near the bottom of the table having picked up just one point. Their first win of the season came against Huddersfield in September, the final match before Steve Cooper took over. And they haven’t looked back. Cooper has worked wonders at the City Ground, lifting them from 23rd to third going into their final two matches, still having a chance for automatic promotion. Although they missed out on that and dropped to fourth, Forest had a fantastic atmosphere in the second leg of their semi-final, celebrating a first trip to Wembley since 1992.
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Huddersfield vs Nottingham Forest match stats
Brennan Johnson has been a fantastic player for Nottingham Forest this season, scoring two goals in their semi-final win over Sheffield United to aid them on their way to Wembley. It has taken Johnson’s total tally for the league this season to 18, with just five players managing more. Meanwhile, Sorba Thomas is a fine creator, recording 12 assists for Huddersfield this season and putting in a league high 333 crosses.
This will be a tight tie, but Nottingham Forest may just have the edge. They have scored more goals than Huddersfield this season at 76 to 66 and have conceded fewer at 43 to 46.
7 March 2022 – Nottingham Forest 2-1 Huddersfield – FA Cup
30 December 2021 – Nottingham Forest 0-1 Huddersfield – Championship
18 September 2021 – Huddersfield 0-2 Nottingham Forest – Championship
17 April 2021 – Nottingham Forest 0-2 Huddersfield – Championship
25 September 2020 – Huddersfield 1-0 Nottingham Forest – Championship
These two sides traded wins in the Championship this season, both recording victories on the road. But Forest have had the most recent laugh, knocking Huddersfield out of the FA Cup in March, and they be looking to record a similar victory this weekend.