Football | Championship Play-Off Semi-Finals | Match Previews & Betting Tips

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The main information you need, of course, is that away goals do not count in the play-offs. Let's just get that straight before Slavisa Jokanovic's Fulham put everyone behind the ball in a Jose Mourinho-esque park the bus tactic. The lack of any away goal advantage makes the second legs even more intriguing. Will a moment of magic win it, will a mistake put pay to any potential Premier League chances? It'll be a nervy night, hair will be torn out and nails will be bitten, all in the space of 90 minutes, but despite this, one set of fans from each game will have a beer-filled evening celebrating, whilst a pair of others will contemplate another campaign in the second tier, alongside a potential trip to Burton, again.

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READING 9/4  DRAW 12/5  FULHAM 11/8 

The Royals will be without key defender Paul McShane (four words we never thought we’d write in a row) for the visit of Fulham in this evenly poised clash of the upper class areas of the UK, right? Fulham’s known for being an affluent area, and Berkshire is meant to be nice. Can someone confirm this? Anyway, enough of the geography lessons, this one’s a battle to the death – or to just get to Wembley Stadium for the Final and to be one half of the most expensive match in football.

This match was a tight as a nat’s backside in the first leg at Craven Cottage, with Tom Cairney’s header cancelling out Jordan Obita’s opener in west London. The hosts have the second best home record in the Championship, whilst the visitors from Fulham have the second best away record in the division, which showcases what a difficult tie this is to predict.

What We Sayin'?

Reading have something of a play-off hoodoo, having never been promoted this way before. They’ve only beaten Fulham once in the last six meetings, which will be concerning for Jaap Stam’s side. The aforementioned Cairney does have three goals in his last four games and we’re backing the talismatic midfield maestro to come up trumps again for the Whites by scoring first at 6/1. As for a score prediction, who knows? It’s the play-offs, after all!





Well whatever happens, we will actually see a goal on Wednesday evening, following a pretty drab and goal-less game in the first tie in Huddersfield at the weekend. In truth, however, is it any wonder both games were draws in the Championship? After all, with a chance to reach Wembley on the horizon, none of the sides would want to give any advantage to the other heading into the second legs.

Anyway, despite Huddersfield coming into the play-offs in some pretty poor form – mainly due to resting a number of players in the final, meaningless matches – they are still in with a chance of overcoming Sheffield Wednesday and their expensively assembled squad. David Wagner’s side will also welcome back goalkeeper Danny Ward for Wednesday night’s clash at Hillsborough, following the Welsh stopper’s sending off in the final game of the regular season against Cardiff City.

What We Sayin'?

We’re expecting a terrific and hostile atmosphere at Hillsborough on the night. Yorkshire derbies are always passionate affairs and this one will have extra significance. We expect Wednesday to have too much in attack for the Terriers to deal with in the likes of Steven Fletcher, Jordan Rhodes, Fernando Forestieri, Sam Winnall and even Gary Hooper as striking options. We’re behind Rhodes to score first in a nervy 2-1 home win at a mammoth 33/1.


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