Cottagers Confidential: Huddersfield Town are almost assured of making the playoffs. Given that Reading might be the worst team in the playoffs, Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday might be the best, seeding probably doesn't matter that much. So what are your goals for the final few games?
Sean Makin: Automatic promotion is looking very, very slim now and whilst I still cling on to that hope that the dream might come true, I think now the realistic measure is to finish either 3rd or 4th to give us the advantage of being at home for the 2nd leg of the play-off semi-final. If we lose to Fulham at the weekend and results go against us it really could be “squeaky bum time”. There are no easy games in the Championship and the play-offs won’t be either when you look at the team currently occupying the places. The main thing is to cement a play-off place and get some momentum going by winning our four remaining matches.
CC: You've been hanging around 3rd place for a long time. By traditional goal differential you are way outperforming what you should be. The advanced stats like you better (especially your defense), saying your expected GD should be about 11. Still that is well behind the top four teams by the advanced metrics (Brighton, Newcastle, Wednesday, and Fulham). What has been the secret to over performing your GD and advanced metrics? Or is it just one of those things that has happened?
SM: I think the credit goes to David Wagner getting the players as fit as possible and installing a never-say-die attitude into his players. Town have scored 13 goals this season between 76-90 minutes, nine of those turned out to be winners in games and we have accumulated 29 points in the league this season with goals in that timeframe. We don’t score a lot (we’ve won 21 games by a one goal margin) but we just have a knack of finding a goal at crucial times.
CC: With only a few games left the last two playoff spots are still a crapshoot. Who do you expect to join yourselves and Reading FC in the playoffs? Who do you expect to win promotion through them?
SM: That’s a tough call. I think Sheffield Wednesday will grind out the results to get them in the mix and I think the last place will be between Fulham and Leeds United. Leeds are outside the play-offs and aren’t in the best form at the time of writing but with Chris Wood banging in the goals anything can happen but I think Fulham have that just a bit more quality to sneak it even though 2 of their last 3 games are against play-off rivals.
CC: Predicted lineup and score?
SM: Fulham spanked us 5-0 at their place earlier in the season. Could be a goal fest. 2-2 draw I’m going for.
Even though we potentially have Izzy Brown back from injury I don’t think Wagner will throw him into the starting XI. Potential lineup: Ward, Smith, Hefele, Schindler, Löwe, Hogg, Mooy, Van La Parra, Payne, Kachunga, Wells.