THE Football League’s deadliest striker is predicting a tight encounter tomorrow as Huddersfield Town take on Sheffield United with the prize at stake promotion to the Championship.
Jordan Rhodes has enjoyed a phenomenal season to plunder 40 goals for the Terriers and another six when sporting the colours of Scotland Under-21s.
If the 22-year-old can find the net again tomorrow, Huddersfield will fancy their chances of making it third time lucky in the play-offs after losing to Peterborough United in last year’s final and the semi-finals to Millwall in 2010.
Rhodes, however, insists the final is too close to call after the teams claimed a win apiece against each other during the regular season.
He said: “We are up against a very tough Sheffield United side. They are a good, organised side with a great shape.
“Sheffield United were very unlucky not to get second place. For a large part of the season we were there or thereabouts as well and I think it will be a close encounter.
“We won 3-0 at their place and then they beat us 1-0 at ours. We are both quite good away from home, which is what the match is for both of us.
“Over the 90 minutes it will be very tough but, hopefully, Peter Clarke will be walking up however many steps there are (it is 107) at about 5pm to get the trophy.”
Records have been shattered this season courtesy of Rhodes’s predatory instinct in front of goal with the Oldham-born striker having beaten the previous club best tally of 35 set by George Brown and Sammy Taylor. He also claimed a new Football League record for the fastest all-headed hat-trick when scoring three times in 10 minutes against Exeter City in October, eclipsing the legendary Dixie Dean’s feat of 70 years earlier.
Rhodes said: “I didn’t know I had done it until later. I’d just moved house and didn’t even watch the goals that night on television. So, I only found out when the newspapers started to write about it on the Monday and Tuesday.
“It was an incredible feeling. I have been told Dixie Dean was an incredible player and a great striker so I was very, very pleased to beat his record.”
Rhodes’s five-goal salvo against Wycombe matched a joint club record set in the Thirties by Dave Mangnall and Alf Lythgoe.