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Championship - Football: Hatters can use Huddersfield as inspiration

Luton Town are this season's unlikeliest of Championship promotion hopefuls, but they don't need to look much further than Monday night's opponents Huddersfield to realise that dreams can become true.

Nathan Jones' Luton weren't being talked up by many for promotion into the Premier League at the start of the season and were priced accordingly.

Handed a 10/1 quote for promotion at the off and 9/2 to be relegated, simply remaining in a tier packed with ex-top flight pedigree was surely going to represent a major achievement for the Bedfordshire club.

Or that was how the script was supposed to read. And after winning just two of their first nine games, it was the punters who'd backed the Hatters to be relegated rather than promoted who were sitting prettiest.

But four losses since the end of November have vaulted them to the verge of the Promised Land and ever closer to defying the odds – just as Huddersfield themselves did five seasons ago.

Wagner's classic triumph

Few gave Huddersfield a chance of doing much in 2016/17 – few except boss David Wagner, perhaps.

Wagner had arrived at the club midway through the previous season and as a protégé of Jurgen Klopp he certainly arrived in Kirklees with interest. A 19th-place finish in 2015/16 didn't hint at great things to come, but then came the scouring of Europe for players, the legendary bonding trip to Sweden, the promising pre-season and by September they were top of the table.

They didn't quite make it into the top two, eventually finishing fifth, but took care of Sheffield Wednesday and Reading in the playoffs (without winning any of their three matches) landing pre-season promotion odds of 12/1.

Brown and Dyche the 80s boys

Sean Dyche wasn't weighed down with too many expectations when Burnley set off for the 2013/14 Championship campaign.
Mid-division a season before and 80/1 for the title, the Turf Moor faithful had few ambitions, especially when ace marksman Charlie Austin jumped ship for QPR.

But Austin's exit merely opened the door for Danny Ings and Sam Vokes, who combined for 42 goals, helping the Lancashire side to finish second and defy all prophecies of doom.

Six years earlier and Phil Brown had done something similar with Hull, who had also been 80/1 no-hopers in the title race.

Indeed, Mr Brown's boys were a massive 16/1 for promotion and just 3/1 to be relegated, yet finished third, saw off Reading in the playoff semis before Dean Windass scored the only goal against Bristol City at Wembley to get the Tigers up to the Premier League for the first time.

Between those two against-the-odds triumphs for Hull and Burnley was another, when Ian Holloway's cavalier Blackpool, despite conceding goals left, right and centre, just kept landing more blows than their opponents, made the playoffs and beat Cardiff 3-2 in a fitting Wembley thriller.

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No time for slips

Huddersfield and Luton go into their match at the John Smith's Stadium in strong positions – but acutely aware slips will be punished in this congested playoff race.

The Hatters are a 9/4 shot and after dropping points in their last two – they were held 2-2 at home by Millwall and drew 1-1 at Peterborough – and with Nottingham Forest up next on Friday, they could really do with getting something from this trip north.

Carlos Corberan's Huddersfield had been the form team from the start of December, embarking on a 17-match unbeaten league streak which only came to an end on 16th March with a 2-0 loss at Millwall.

They were hammered 3-0 at home by Bournemouth three days later but righted the ship last week with a 1-0 win at Hull, though they needed the Tigers to go down to ten – Tom Eaves the man sent off – before they snatched the late winner.

Huddersfield are 13/10 shots with the draw on offer at 11/5, and the last three meetings between these two have ended all-square.

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