Huddersfield Town vs. Sheffield United
Updated Friday, 25th May 2012
Huddersfield United face Sheffield United at Wembley in what is the Terriers fourth time in a Play-Off Final.
The Bees were to seek revenge during the 2001/02 season when they next made the Division Two Play-Offs, they drew the first leg 0-0 but at Griffin Park were defeated 2-1 and things went from bad to worse when they were relegated to the basement tier of English Football a year later. However they picked themselves up and soon bounced back - beating Mansfield Town on penalties (4-1) in the Division Three final; with Wembley down to its rubbles the final was played at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. They had got to the final after defeating Lincoln City 4-3 over two games.
They made another attempt at winning promotion to the Coca-Cola Championship in 2005/06 but Barnsley stood in their way in the semis and it was the Tykes who would win the White Roses tie and eventually win promotion after seeing off Swansea City in the final. The first leg at Oakwell ended in a 1-0 victory with Gary Taylor-Fletcher netting with five minutes remaining, but despite Jonathan Worthington's second leg goal the Reds netted three times to book a place in the final in Cardiff.
In 2009/10 they were drawn against Millwall in the League One semi-final, but it was the Lions who marched onto Wembley after winning the second leg at the New Den 2-0 following a 0-0 draw in the first. Danny Wilson's Swindon Town had also made the final but it was the London club who set a place in the Championship. They were also involved in last years League One Play-Offs, beating Bournemouth 4-2 on penatuies after an entertaining 4-4 aggregate score - but in the final at Old Trafford; Peterborough United ran riot - winning 3-0.
This weekend's encounter against Sheffield United will be the Wet Yorkshire sides first time in the new Wembley Stadium with last seasons final being played at Manchester United due to the Champions League Final being played in the national stadium. On route to Wembley they overcame Milton Keynes Dons over two legs. At Stadium:MK on 12 May they recorded a 2-0 victory with goals from Jordan Rhodes (32 minutes) and defender Jack Hunt (73), with a deserved two goal advantage they were sure to book a place in the final going into the second leg at the Galpharm Stadium - they made all but sure when Rhodes (18) pounced to make it 3-0 on aggregate but the Dons hit back with two goals to set up a tense finish but couldn't force extra-time.
|Huddersfield Town's Play-Off Record (Including 2011/12)|
It will be the Terriers first outing at the new Wembley built stadium after playing their League One final against the Posh at Old Trafford last season. Their manager, Simon Grayson is planning on making it three successive promotions after guiding Blackpool and Leeds United into the Championship. With the Seasiders he won promotion in 2007 via the Play-Offs and automatic promotion with Leeds in 2010.
Huddersfield Town could be without first choice keeper Ian Bennett, 40 (ex-Sheffield United) who was forced to leave the field of play due to injury in the second-leg fixture against Milton Keynes Dons - though X-rays show he didn't break a bone and is considered doubtful for this Saturday's fixture. "The x-ray confirmed there's no fracture in Benno's hand, which is obviously a great sign." Grayson told htafc.com. He is likley to be replaced by understoody Alex Smithes should he not be fit.
The Galpharm Stadium club have three former Blades listed on their books; keeper Ian Bennett, defender Gary Naysmith and striker Danny Cadamarteri, Bennett - already mentioned as a potential casualty ahead of this weekends final has played in two spells at Bramall Lane; firstly he joined on a two month loan spell in December 2004 (from Birmingham City) due to an injury to Paddy Kenny. He played just five times having made his debut in a 2-2 draw at Rotherham United.
At the end of the season he was released by the Blues and despite interest from the Blades opted on a move to Leeds United. Twelve months later he completed a permanent free transfer to United after making just four appearances with the Whites; United had been promoted to the Premier League and would serve as second choice to Kenny. He stayed at the Lane until June 2010 where he completed a full move to Huddersfield Town having made a career total of 27 (+2) appearances with the Blades.
Left Full-Back Naysmith, 33 was a £1,000,000 signing for United by Bryan Robson from Everton in July 2007 and made his debut in a 2-2 home draw with Colchester United and was part of the Blades set up for three years, making 86 (+2) appearances without scoring before joining the Terriers in a free transfer in June 2010. He had previously served Hearts of Midlothian prior to joining the Toffees.
Veteran striker Danny Cadamarteri, 32 has been much traveled having served Everton, Fulham (loan), Bradford City and Leeds United before joining the Blades in September 2004 in a £50,000 fee under the leadership of Neil Warnock who had an habit of collecting strikers. He made his debut in a 1-1 draw at Brighton & Hove Albion and later scored his only United goal in a 3-2 win at Crewe Alesxandra. He was mostly a fridge player behind the formidable Andy Gray and Steve Kabba but made 14 (+8) appearances before joining Bradford City in June 2005.
Possible Terriers Line-Up: