48 games, plenty of drama and many turns later, we now finally know who is in the Championship play-off final, with Huddersfield Town taking on Nottingham Forest at Wembley Stadium.
It’s been a rollercoaster season for both clubs, with neither fanbases even thinking at the start of the campaign that they will be one game away from the Premier League and one match away from history.
Both sides will be desperate to return to the top-flight, yet here at HITC Sport, we take a look at a combined XI made up of Huddersfield and Forest players who have performed the best this season on their way to the Championship play-off final.
GK – Brice Samba
Lee Nicholls might have been named in the Championship Team of the Season, but after Brice Samba’s historic penalty shootout performance against Sheffield United, the Forest no. 1 more than deserves the spot in this combined XI.
The 28-year-old saved three penalties as the Forest star produced one of the goalkeeping displays of the season, with Samba’s performances for the rest of the campaign also playing a key role in the club’s run to the play-off final.
CB – Joe Worrall
An actual member of the Championship Team of the Season, Joe Worrall has been a rock for Forest this season, with the 25-year-old defender arguably having his best season yet for the Garibaldi since making his debut for his boyhood club in 2016.
A reported target for Everton and West Ham, Worrall’s performances have been incredible for Forest. And under Steve Cooper, the centre-back is beginning to look like the Premier League-calibre player many expected the defender to develop into.
CB – Scott McKenna
Alongside Worrall in the defence has been Scott McKenna, who this season has been an ever-present for Forest with the Scottish defender playing the second-most minutes out of any player this campaign for the club.
Just like Worrall, McKenna has often been tipped to one day play in the Premier League, and the former Aberdeen defender could make this dream a reality if he and his defensive partners turn up against Huddersfield in the final.
CB – Levi Colwill
Not many could have predicted Levi Colwill’s incredible rise at Huddersfield this season, but the teenage Chelsea loan star has blown all expectations out of the water over the past 12 months.
The 19-year-old started in the second-leg play-off clash against Luton Town, and Colwill will be hopeful of retaining his spot against Forest in the Championship final at Wembley, just ten miles away from the Blues’ home of Stamford Bridge.
RM – Sorba Thomas
Dropping Djed Spence for Sorba Thomas might seem like a heinous decision, but when you look at the raw numbers, the Huddersfield winger more than deserves a spot in this XI, though that’s not to take away from the quality and potential of the Forest star.
With 16 assists in all competitions this season, Thomas has been one of the best playmakers in the Championship this campaign, and at 23-years-old, the Wales international could be set for a huge career if he can continue this level of from.
CM – James Garner
One Forest loan star who does make this XI, though, is James Garner, who in 18 months at the City Ground has asserted himself as one of the most exciting midfield talents in England and a potential first-teamer for Manchester United.
A demon from set-pieces and a classy operator on the ball, Garner has been massive for Forest this season, and the 21-year-old will be eager to get the Nottingham-based side back into the Premier League for the first time in his lifetime.
CM – Lewis O’Brien
A reported £12m transfer target for Leeds United, Lewis O’Brien has been huge for Huddersfield this season in their promotion push, and the midfielder has been one of the Terriers’ best players this campaign.
Versatile in the centre of the park and a leader both on and off the pitch, O’Brien looks set to play Premier League football next season regardless of Huddersfield’s play-off outcome, with the 23-year-old more than ready to move on from the Championship.
LM – Harry Toffolo
Six goals and eight assists in all competitions is a pretty good return for any player in a Championship season, yet for a left-back in Harry Toffolo, that’s quite an impressive tally for a wide-defender.
Making the left-side his own this season for Huddersfield, the 26-year-old fullback has been huge for the Terriers in recent weeks, and a chance to play Premier League football will no doubt motivate Toffolo to play his best against Forest in the Championship play-off final.
CAM – Daniel Sinani
Not many expected Daniel Sinani to shine for Huddersfield this season, but with seven goals in all competitions, including one in the play-off semi-finals against Luton Town, the Luxembourg international has proven his worth for the Terriers.
A loan signing from Norwich City that fans will be hopeful becomes permanent in the summer, Sinani has been key to Huddersfield’s recent surge in the past few weeks, and the 25-year-old attacking midfielder will be desperate to make history at Wembley against Forest.
ST – Brennan Johnson
With double digits in goals and assists this season in all competitions, Brennan Johnson has been one of the breakout Championship talents of the past 12 months, and the Wales international will be hopeful of capping an incredible campaign with a win at Wembley.
Numerous Premier League clubs are reportedly interested in signing the versatile 20-year-old attacker, and a big performance in the Championship play-off final could elevate Johnson’s reputation to a whole new level.
ST – Danny Ward
With 14 goals in the Championship this season and Huddersfield’s main starting striker, Danny Ward has been influential for the Terriers this campaign and for firing the West Yorkshire side to the play-off final.
This year has been Ward’s best in the blue and white of Huddersfield, and after playing in the Premier League before with Cardiff City and Bolton Wanderers, the 31-year-old could get another crack at the top-flight with a big performance at Wembley.
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