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Championship Playoffs - Football: Second Legs Preview

The Championship playoff semi-finals are on a knife-edge ahead of the second legs, which take place on Monday and Tuesday, as the four-way fight for promtion continues.

Huddersfield Town and Luton Town couldn't be separated when they met on 13th May, playing out a 1-1 draw at Kenilworth Road.

The other semi, which involves Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United, saw the former edge to a 2-1 victory at Bramall Lane a day later.

Unfancied pair set to resume battle

Huddersfield weren't fancied to be in the play-off picture after finishing 20th in the Championship last season. However, Carlos Corberan has done a remarkable job this season.

They ended the regular season in third after finishing the term with a seven-game unbeaten run, which included six victories, and they were subsequently handed a two-legged tie against sixth-placed Luton.

The Hatters, it could be argued, are even more of a surprise package in the playoffs as they look to return to the top-flight for the first time since 1992.

Luton boss Nathan has worked wonders at Kenilworth Road with a squad assembled on a low budget and they've proven extremely tough to break down.

Luton looking to strike on the road

Huddersfield have the fourth best record at home and away in the Championship and they'll likely be tough to break down on Monday.

They are unbeaten in four on their own patch and have lost just once in 14 across all competitions when stepping out at the John Smith's Stadium.

However, Luton can draw confidence from their away form over the course of the campaign as they look to seal a spot at Wembley.

Luton ended 2021-22 with the fifth best away record in the division, picking up 37 points, and they will be in a buoyant mood as they look to build on last week's 1-1 draw.

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Huddersfield can be backed at 5/4 to pick up the win against 5/2 Luton and the draw is available at 11/5 at the end of normal time.

Turton facing late fitness test

It's unlikely either manager will make big changes to their XI for the second leg after watching such a tight contest play out in the first meeting.

Ollie Turton, however, is a doubt for Huddersfield after leaving the field with an injury at Kenilworth Road and he'll need to come through a late test.

Pipa came on in his place and the Spaniard did have an impact in the final third, providing plenty of creativity and possibly doing enough to get the nod for the second game.

Levi Colwill missed the first leg due to illness and he's expected to come back into the XI with Naby Sarr dropping to the bench.

Henri Lansbury is the biggest concern for Luton after he came off in the closing stages of the 1-1 draw due to injury. Tom Lockyer took his place and could take his spot in the starting XI if the 31-year-old fails to prove his fitness.

Forest hold the edge over Blades

Nottingham Forest appeared to be heading for a comfortable 2-0 victory in their first-leg against Sheffield United but Paul Heckingbottom's men struck late to remain in the tie.

Sander Berge's 91st-minute effort means Tuesday's second-leg is far from a done deal, although Forest's form at home suggests they should be optimistic.

Forest ended the regular season with the eighth-best home record in the league but that was skewed somewhat by their poor start to the term under Chris Hughton.

They welcome Sheffield United to the City Ground unbeaten in 10 Championship home fixtures and they've only lost once in the last 14 across all competitions - a 1-0 defeat to Liverpool in the FA Cup.

Nottingham Forest, who have won four in a row at home, are 6/5 to pick up another victory against 12/5 Sheffield United, while the draw at the end of normal time is 23/10.

Johnson could prove key

Aston Villa loanee Keinan Davis returned from injury to make an appearance from the bench in the first leg but Forest are still without striker Lewis Grabban .

Brennan Johnson, therefore, is a key figure in Grabban's absence and he notched his 17th goal of the season at Bramall Lane.

The 20-year-old Wales international has scored the majority - nine - at home and he can be backed at 12/5 to score anytime.

Sheffield United are also missing a key man in the shape of top-scorer Billy Sharp with Heckingbottom hinting that he won't recover in time from a calf injury.

Iliman Ndiaye started alongside Morgan Gibbs-White in attack for the first leg and they could be deployed in the final third once again.

Gibbs-White, who is on loan from Wolves, looks like Sheffield United's most likely candidate to register after scoring 11 times this campaign and he is 10/3 in the anytime goalscorer market.

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