TERRIERS IN SPOT­LIGHT ON LAST DAY

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEWS - By John Lyons

READ­ING and Hud­der­s­field will seek to round off the reg­u­lar sea­son with morale-boost­ing wins ahead of the play-offs.

Jaap Stam’s third-placed Roy­als travel to a Burton

Al­bion side still cock-ahoop af­ter en­sur­ing Cham­pi­onship safety with their 1-1 draw at Barnsley last week­end.

Read­ing will ce­ment third place with a win, but dropped points could pave the way for fourth-placed Sh­effield Wed­nes­day and Hud­der­s­field, in fifth, to over­take them.

The in­cen­tive for the Roy­als is to try to fin­ish third or fourth, to guar­an­tee a home semi-fi­nal sec­ond leg in the play-offs.

It will be in­ter­est­ing to see what sort of side Hud­der­s­field put out in their home match against Cardiff this lunchtime.

Terriers boss David Wag­ner made ten changes last week­end with a play-off place al­ready booked and his side went down to a 2-0 de­feat at ten-man Birm­ing­ham City.

The de­ci­sion to rest so many play­ers against one of the teams in the rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle went down like a lead bal­loon with the EFL, who have writ­ten to Hud­der­s­field to ‘re­quest their ob­ser­va­tions in re­la­tion to team se­lec­tion’.

In a state­ment, the EFL said: “As per our reg­u­la­tions, the EFL Ex­ec­u­tive will refer the mat­ter to the Board if it is deemed ap­pro­pri­ate to do so.

“It should be noted, how­ever, that the re­sult of Saturday’s game will stand in all cir­cum­stances and any po­ten­tial ac­tion would be taken against Hud­der­s­field Town di­rectly.”

It’s un­likely Wag­ner will leave out so many play­ers against the Bluebirds as he will not want his play­ers to go into the play-offs lack­ing rhythm.

Hud­der­s­field can leapfrog Read­ing and Sh­effield Wed­nes­day if re­sults go their way.

Else­where, Wi­gan’s clash with Leeds is a meet­ing of two sides down in the dumps. The Lat­ics were rel­e­gated af­ter a 1-0 de­feat at Read­ing last week­end, while Leeds were all but ruled out of play-off con­tention de­spite storm­ing back from 3-0 down to earn a draw against Nor­wich at El­land Road.

The Whites head into to­day’s noon kick-off three points be­hind sixth-placed Ful­ham, who oc­cupy the fi­nal play-off berth, but their goal dif­fer­ence is 13 worse than the Lon­don side, ef­fec­tively end­ing their chances.

Garry Monk has had an ex­cel­lent first sea­son at the Leeds helm, but his side just couldn’t main­tain their form in the run-in and have paid the price.

Nor­wich and QPR bring the cur­tain down on tur­bu­lent cam­paigns when they face off at Car­row Road.

Many pun­dits backed the Ca­naries to chal­lenge for pro­mo­tion this term fol­low­ing their rel­e­ga­tion from the Premier League, but they have been far too in­con­sis­tent and go into to­day’s match a dis­ap­point­ing eighth.

QPR have also blown hot and cold, though at least Ian Hol­loway’s men se­cured their sta­tus with a much­needed 2-0 vic­tory against Not­ting­ham For­est last week­end.

An­other side who have failed to live up to ex­pec­ta­tions this sea­son are

Wolves, who lie 15th. They sign off with a game against 11th-placed Pre­ston at Mo­lineux. Mean­while, rel­e­gated

Rotherham say farewell to the Cham­pi­onship when they host yet an­other un­der­achiever, Derby County.

The ninth-placed Rams have, though, shown signs of im­prove­ment un­der new boss Gary Rowett in the clos­ing stages of the sea­son.

CON­TRO­VERSY: Birm­ing­ham’s Jonathan Grounds scores the opener against a weak­ened Hud­der­s­field

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