Luton Town and Huddersfield Town will look to move a step closer to the Premier League when they square off in the first leg of their Championship playoff semi-final at Kenilworth Road.
While the visitors have long been guaranteed a place in the top six of the standings, the hosts only secured their spot on the final day, even if they did ultimately finish with a five-point cushion.
Having witnessed his team suffer a 7-0 defeat at Fulham in their penultimate fixture, Luton boss Nathan Jones would have naturally had doubts over how his players would rock up for such a pressure-filled contest against Reading on the final weekend.
Such was the results elsewhere that Luton could have lost to the 21st-placed team in the division and still made the playoffs, but a 1-0 victory was the morale-booster that they required heading into the upcoming double-header.
Harry Cornick’s decisive goal was opportunistic in the extreme, the forward lurking behind the goalkeeper to dispossess him and score into an empty net, and it ensured that the second half was more comfortable than it could have been.
The Hatters were not at their best during the run-in, claiming just three wins from eight matches and one of their two defeats coming away at their next opponents.
Nevertheless, everyone associated with the club will simply be satisfied to still be in the mix for a surprise promotion to the top flight, just eight years after they were leaving the fifth tier of English football.
From Huddersfield’s perspective, Carlos Corberan has transformed the club from relegation possibilities into favourites to reach the Championship playoff final in less than a year, an achievement which should not be overlooked when award ceremonies take place over the coming weeks.
What Huddersfield have achieved since December is quite remarkable, a total of 54 points coming from 26 games during a period which has included just two defeats, those disappointments coming back-to-back in March.
Since returning from the international break, the Terriers have posted six wins from seven, including prevailing in their last four outings and scoring twice in each of them.
This squad of players have been efficient and shown character to end the season in third position, but it remains to be seen how they will cope with heading into this contest as favourites, even if there will be an acceptance that they will become underdogs should they reach the final.
Left-sided player Harry Toffolo has scored in his last three appearances, doubling his total for the season, while top goalscorer Danny Ward ended a five-game drought with a strike against Bristol City on the final day.
Luton Town Championship form:
Huddersfield Town Championship form:
We say: Luton Town 1-1 Huddersfield Town
With these two sides effectively regarded as outsiders to earn promotion, there will be a mixture of tension and excitement ahead of facing each other. Neither club will want to be out of the tie come the reverse fixture, and we feel that makes a low-scoring draw the most likely result on Friday night.