Blogs & Opinion


Peter Beagrie:

Most Popular Posts:

Recent Comments:

Gary Bennett on Reading crashers

"Leeds have thrown away too many games this season with our dodgy defence conceding too many soft goals.Scoring goals has not been a problem and i think the play offs are still there to ... " View all comments

Rhodes to glory

Star striker Rhodes has ability to settle close clash, says Beags

Peter Beagrie - Peter Beagrie Posted 24th May 2012 view comments

Wembley plays host to a Yorkshire derby in this year's League One Play-Off Final and I'm anticipating a cracking atmosphere.

With more than 27,000 Sheffield United fans and 21,000 Huddersfield fans (and counting) expected at the Home of Football, it's fair to say we can anticipate a mass exodus from Yorkshire this Saturday.

Rhodes: could he make all the difference?

Rhodes: could he make all the difference?

I think I'm going to travel down on Friday night to miss all the traffic!

You would have thought Sheffield United would be considered the favourites. After all, they finished third and only just missed out on automatic promotion to their near rivals Wednesday.

However, I think a lot of people in the know would class Huddersfield as the more likely winners. The bookmakers can't split the two teams, but as far as I'm concerned the key to the game could be the deadly marksman in the Terriers armoury; Jordan Rhodes.

I'll probably get a medal for stating the obvious here, but he is the one player who is set apart from everybody else. For that reason his team has to be favourites.

Peter Beagrie
Quotes of the week

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
League One Play-Off Final

Huddersfield v Sheffield Utd
2.30pm, Sat, Sky Sports 2 HD
Watch on the move with Sky Go
How to remote record

I'll probably get a medal for stating the obvious here, but he is the one player who is set apart from everybody else. For that reason his team has to be favourites.

I expect to see them squeezing the play up to the half-way line, getting balls out wide and trying to get the ball to Rhodes.

He's had an outstanding season and not just in terms of goals; he's impressed with his footballing ability, the different ways he can find the net and his phenomenal thirst for work. I spoke to him this week and despite his incredible campaign he remains very self-effacing.

He wanted to redirect all the praise onto his team-mates, insisting he wouldn't have scored bags of goals without them. He is right, of course, but there's no doubt he's fashioned goals for himself, too.

They also have a lot of other players with athletic ability and creativity. Danny Ward has been a tremendous acquisition from Bolton and has fantastic crossing ability, either cutting in on his left foot from the right or getting around the back on the left flank.

Rich tradition

My head is ruling my heart when I say Huddersfield are the slight favourites because I spent two years at Sheffield United. It's a club with a rich tradition, lots of history and very passionate supporters.

It's a fans' club and a lot of the people that were working there when I was a 21-year-old player a quarter of a century ago were still there when I went back for the semi-final last week. Once a Blade, always a Blade!

But Danny Wilson hasn't had much luck lately. They've been without top scorer Ched Evans, while James Beattie has been banned and Richard Cresswell missed the second leg of the semi-final with an eye infection. They'd wrapped him up in cotton wool as he recovered from a neck injury, but they obviously forgot to put any eye patches on!

With all those forwards missing it was left to Chris Porter, who hadn't scored in his previous 16 appearances, to come up with the winning goal against Stevenage. They showed their ambition in the second leg of that game and I think the fans in the Kop End sucked that ball over the line!

Porter has had to play up front on his own with Stephen Quinn playing in behind and all of their moments of quality came through him. He was able to up the tempo with his passing and was constantly trying to slide balls into the widemen or the lone forward.

It'll be interesting to see if the system changes if Cresswell is fit. Personally, I think Danny Wilson will want to bring him back in to occupy the Huddersfield back-line. The two centre-halves are not the quickest and they will look to exploit that - although Porter and Cresswell aren't blessed with great pace themselves.

We're in for a tight game. Both defences have been excellent of late, but I think Huddersfield might just nick it on the day.

We saw Blackpool fall short last weekend in a game where they created enough chances to win. In these big games you have to be ruthless and take your chances.

And when it comes to being ruthless and finishing your chances off, then look no further than a certain Mr Rhodes...

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Paul Merson

Merson's predictions

After a successful weekend of predictions, Merson expects Chelsea to prevail at Stoke on Monday....

Latest News RSS feeds

Skrtel earns Liverpool draw

A 97th-minute bullet header from defender Martin Skrtel earned Liverpool a 2-2 draw with Arsenal at Anfield on Sunday.

Johnson snatches derby win

Sunderland clinched a fourth straight win over Newcastle as Adam Johnson's last-gasp strike sealed a 1-0 victory.

McCoist leaves Rangers

Rangers manager Ally McCoist has left his role and will serve out the remainder of his contract on 'gardening leave'.

Redknapp: Errors deny Liverpool

Liverpool’s defensive problems are robbing them of the victories their attacking superiority deserves, says Jamie Redknapp.

Rodgers: Liverpool on the up

Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool's performance in Sunday's 2-2 draw with Arsenal was better than in February's 5-1 win.

Features

Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal: Five talking points from Anfield

Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal: Five talking points from Anfield

"It was a bizarre game and lots of unusual things happened." That was how Sky Sports pundit Alan Smith summed up Liverpool and Arsenal's thrilling 2-2 draw on Super Sunday.

Premier League: Former Barcelona forward Bojan Krkic settling at Stoke and ready for fresh clash with Chelsea

Premier League: Former Barcelona forward Bojan Krkic settling at Stoke and ready for fresh clash with Chelsea

Bojan Krkic made his name at Barcelona but is now hoping to build a career at Stoke City, writes Adam Bate.

Newcastle 0-1 Sunderland: Reshuffled defence stand firm for visitors at St James' Park

Newcastle 0-1 Sunderland: Reshuffled defence stand firm for visitors at St James' Park

Adam Johnson once again grabbed the headlines in the Tyne-Wear derby, finding the net at St James’ Park for the third season in a row to help Sunderland to a record fourth-straight victory over arch rivals Newcastle in the Premier League.