Huddersfield Town promotion heroes hoping for more play-off fireworks


Huddersfield Town promotion heroes hoping for more play-off fireworks


Former Town goalkeeper Alex Smithies knows what it’s like to overcome massive odds in the play-offs.

And the 30-year-old keeper – who starred in the Wembley success of 2012 against Sheffield United – is hoping his current Cardiff City team can come back from the dead against Fulham tonight.

Manager Neil Harris has warned Fulham that Cardiff City can be a “dangerous wounded animal” as his Bluebirds bid to overturn a 2-0 deficit at Craven Cottage.

The Welsh club were downed by two second-half goals on Monday, leaving them with the monumental task of coming from two goals behind in the second leg of their play-off semi-final clash, a feat which has never been achieved in the Championship.

Smithies and his Cardiff teammates Sean Morrison and Danny Ward were all in the Town team in the League One play-off final eight years ago – when Town won the penalty shoot-out against the Blades despite missing their first THREE spot kicks.

Town remain the only club in the history of shoot-outs to achieve that feat, Smithies scoring himself in the 8-7 success before United keeper Steve Simonsen missed.

Tommy Miller, Damien Johnson and Alan Lee missed Town’s first three kicks but they came back into it when Lee Williamson, Matt Lowton and Andy Taylor also failed from the spot.

Smithies, Morrison and Ward will be hoping Cardiff can pull off a similar escape at Craven Cottage this evening, and boss Harris said he is heartened by the sheer number of games, even in his own relatively short tenure as manager, in which his side have had to pick themselves up off the canvas to produce dramatic comebacks.

Now, he is just asking for one more.

“The 3-3 at Leeds, we were 2-0 down at Charlton in my first game in charge and we came back for the draw, we were 2-0 down after 18 minutes against Brentford and drew – and should have won the game,” Harris said of his side’s resilience.

“We have trailed a lot of games and found a way to come back and either win or draw. That gives me a lot of faith in my group – and belief.

“And it should give my players the belief that they can do it. We are a team that finds a way of scoring a goal or winning a game. A lot of credit goes to the players for that. They have done it time and time again, not just this year but in years gone by as well.

“We can be a dangerous, wounded animal to come back and hurt teams. We have to use that passion, determination and resilience in abundance on Thursday night.”

Whoever wins will face Brentford in the final.

The Bees beat Swansea 3-1 in their second leg to clinch a 3-2 aggregate victory – so Town will have at least one trip to South Wales next season.





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