Huddersfield to bank on Booth

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The Independent Online
A day out at Wembley may have been devalued in recent years by play- off finals, FA Cup semi-finals and the like but it has not lost its appeal to the fans who will be out in force again this Bank Holiday weekend. A combined total of upwards of 145,000 will savour the atmosphere at the climax of this season's play-offs.

The figure would have been even greater but Reading, having sold their allocation of 36,500, were unable, for reasons of segregation, to take up the slack afforded by Bolton Wanderers, who had sold only 27,000 up until today, 8,000 less than for their Coca-Cola Cup final against Liverpool.

With Wembley appearances so commonplace these days it is refreshing to see that only one of the four clubs - Huddersfield Town - in today's Third Division and tomorrow's Second Division finals have passed beneath the Twin Towers before.

The presence of Town, four-time Wembley losers, in tomorrow's game provides a stark contrast between one club, themselves, who are the proud new owners of a state of the art stadium and Bristol Rovers who do not even have a home to call their own, being Bath's tenants these past nine years.

Neil Warnock, the Huddersfield manager, is one man who knows how to make himself at home, notably at Wembley, having guided Notts County to two successes there in play-off finals. His hopes of a third rest principally on the strapping shoulders of Andy Booth, a young striker who finished his second senior season with 29 goals and as a consequence gained England Under-21 recognition.

Whatever fate befalls his club, he for one seems sure of promotion in the not too distant future, though Warnock insists it will be with Huddersfield. "I expect Andy to be leading our attack in the Premiership within the next five years," said Warnock, who has himself still to sort out differences with Terry Fisher, the chairman.

Rovers's prime threat is carried by Paul Miller, an astute pounds 100,000 signing by manager John Ward from Wimbledon, whose 106th-minute away goal in the second leg of the semi-finals dashed the hopes of a young Crewe, taking Rovers' run to one defeat in 17 games. More pertinently, Huddersfield will remember him as the player who knocked them off the top of the table in November in a 1-1 draw.

The first leg of what could be a Yorkshire double sees the strong-finishing Chesterfield - 19 games without defeat until losing to the champions, Carlisle, in the penultimate game of the season - take on the equally in-form Bury - seven consecutive wins.

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