Hoyle is hopeful Huddersfield can follow Doncaster’s example

Dean Hoyle
Dean Hoyle
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CHAIRMAN Dean Hoyle insists Huddersfield Town will go into next week’s all-Yorkshire League One play-off final against Sheffield United as underdogs.

The Terriers booked their place at Wembley with a 3-2 aggregate win over Milton Keynes Dons to set up the White Rose showdown on May 26.

With Sheffield Wednesday having already won promotion after finishing as runners-up to Charlton Athletic, it means two Yorkshire clubs will win promotion to the Championship.

Calling the result of the final, however, will be tough with the Blades having become only the second club in Football League history not to win automatic promotion after amassing 90 points. On the downside, though, United have suffered a tangible dip in form since the jailing of top scorer Ched Evans on April 20.

Huddersfield, meanwhile, lost their way in the final month or so of the season to fall out of contention for a top-two berth but did produce arguably their best display of the season last Saturday when winning 2-0 at stadium:mk in the semi-final first leg.

Ahead of what will be only the second all-Yorkshire play-off final, Terriers chairman Hoyle told the Yorkshire Post: “It is going to be a great occasion.

“We are definitely the underdogs, of course we are. Sheffield United have a lot of pressure on them.

“If they don’t win at Wembley then their neighbours will be playing in a different division next season. They won’t want that.

“That brings massive pressure, though obviously at the same time we are under pressure as well.”

Asked about Town being involved in the first all-White Rose promotion showdown since Doncaster Rovers beat Leeds United 1-0 at Wembley in 2008, Hoyle added: “The underdogs won the last time it was a Yorkshire final so, hopefully, we can do the same.”

Town have been allocated 33,169 tickets for the final and they went on sale to season ticket holders yesterday morning.

With the Blades having also started selling their allocation of almost 40,000 tickets, League officials are predicting a bumper attendance for Saturday week.

The record for a play-off final in the third tier is the 76,935 that watched Manchester City edge out Gillingham at Wembley on penalties in 1999. The all-Yorkshire affair between Leeds and Rovers nine years later was watched by 75,132.

Town are bidding to make it third time lucky in the play-offs and Hoyle added: “Nerves set in towards the end against MK Dons, who deserve credit for the way they threw the kitchen sink at us. But we are at Wembley now and in the final.

“We won’t, though, be getting too far ahead of ourselves. We remember the disappointment of last season.”

Meanwhile, Town have begun an investigation into the pitch invasion that saw former Leeds striker Alan Smith attacked after Tuesday’s win over MK Dons.

Hoyle added: “It is upsetting that the tremendous achievement in reaching the final has been tarnished. It goes without saying we will look very closely at what occurred.

“I am not going to prejudice the outcome but, as chairman, I unequivocally condemn the actions of any so-called supporter who engages in any form of anti-social or violent behaviour. The real Huddersfield Town supporters made the difference and I would like to thank them.”