JORDAN Rhodes is determined to make it a family double celebration after Sheffield Wednesday clinched the second automatic promotion spot on the final day of the regular season.
Unlike dad Andy, who is goalkeeping coach at Hillsborough, the season is not yet over for Huddersfield’s 38-goal marksman.
He will have to fire them through the play-offs if Town are going to join the Owls in the Championship.
Having been rested to the bench for the last two games with a top six place already assured, Rhodes will be doubly determined to get back on the goal trail.
Of manager Simon Grayson’s decision to mothball him, Rhodes, who had a late cameo against Yeovil, diplomatically said: “That’s not my decision but I can understand the reasoning behind it.”
Of the party going on in S6 he added: “I’m sure my dad will be celebrating, I haven’t sent a text yet to congratulate him but I will be doing. Wednesday have done terrific. So yes, it’s now up to me to make it a family double. We know we have it all to do and we know the ball is in our court.”
Rhodes was the victim of previous manager Lee Clark’s biggest selection gaffe last season when he was left on the bench for the play-off final defeat against Peterborough United at Old Trafford but asked if the mood in the camp is one of wanting to atone, he added: “We have to get to Wembley first. It is going to be very tough against Milton Keynes, who have had a terrific season. We are not taking anything for granted as we have two tough games ahead.
“We are one of four teams and have just as much chance as anyone else but we have to prepare right and do the correct things from now until Saturday.”
Saturday’s game against Yeovil turned from one of going through the motions into an important encounter as Milton Keynes Dons surrendered home advantage for the second leg of the play-off semi-finals by suffering a surprise 1-0 home defeat to Walsall and dropping below Town to fifth.
Rhodes, though, said: “I’m not sure if playing at home in the second leg is an advantage or disadvantage but we have two wins and a draw from the last three games so that’s not bad form going into the play-offs.”
Victory over the Dons – the second leg at the Galpharm is a week on Tuesday – would take Town through to a Wembley final against either Sheffield United or Stevenage on Saturday, May 26 and one player relishing a return to the national stadium is a striker brought in from the cold by Grayson.
Previous manager Clark signed Kallum Higginbotham before being sacked and Grayson decided to send him out on loan to Barnsley, where he was reunited with manager Keith Hill, who he had played under at Rochdale.
After getting in some game time Grayson recalled him for the last two matches.
Higginbotham’s pace has given Grayson plenty of food for thought regarding his team selection as the Scot vies with Lee Novak and Alan Lee to partner Rhodes. Higginbotham, who made an impressive Town debut against MK Dons in February, said: “I have played at Wembley before with Rochdale and it would be good to go back there because no matter who we play in the final it will be a really good crowd.
“When I went there with Rochdale it just looked empty because it was us against Stockport so it would be good to go back with Huddersfield and get the club back in the Championship where it belongs.”
Town manager Grayson had been relaxed over his side’s final finishing position and that looked the case for the majority of an unchanged side in the opening quarter against Yeovil.
The central midfield partnership of Damien Johnson and Tommy Miller, however, increased the manager’s selection options and the only definite make-up of the side for the play-offs appears to be the back four, in which right-back Jack Hunt was back to his outstanding attacking best.
Yeovil were reduced to triple marking him and flank player Lawson D’Ath was withdrawn immediately after Hunt’s 45th-minute dinked cross had been glanced home by Novak.
Sam Walker was then forced into a fine save by Higginbotham and later produced an outstanding effort to deny Danny Ward after allowing the winger’s low drive from the edge of the area in the 72nd minute to beat him inside his far post and seal Town’s victory.
Opposite number Ian Bennett, aiming to keep out fit-again Alex Smithies from the play-offs, had shown his experience to race out to the edge of his area to deny Kilran Agard in the first period and made a double save from Andrew Williams and Agard at the start of the second period when the former had gone past Town’s central defensive pairing of Peter Clarke and Sean Morrison a shade too easily.
Overall, Town were well in control against a side who mirrored the style of MK Dons to further boost confidence ahead of Saturday’s lunchtime encounter, where they will have a 4,000-plus support.
Huddersfield Town: Bennett, Hunt (T Clarke 80), Morrison, P Clarke, Woods; Arfield, Johnson (Robinson 73), Miller, Ward; Novak (Rhodes 73), Higginbotham. Unused substitutes: Smithies, Roberts.
Yeovil Town: Walker, Ayling, Huntington, N’Gala, Grounds; Franks, Upson, Blizzard, D’Ath (G Williams 45); A Williams, Agard (Morris 80). Unused substitutes: Haynes-Brown, Stewart, Brundle.
Referee: C Berry (Surrey).