Huddersfield Town defender McCombe hoping it’s lucky number seven in play-offs

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DEFENDER Jamie McCombe is hoping Lady Luck for once shines firmly on him and his Huddersfield Town team-mates in the Terriers’ play-off push for promotion to the Championship.

Simon Grayson’s men already have one foot in the Wembley final after goals from top-scorer Jordan Rhodes and defender Jack Hunt gave Town a 2-0 semi-final first leg win at MK Dons on Saturday.

It leaves them in pole position for a final date with Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United ahead of tonight’s second-leg clash with Karl Robinson’s side at the Galpharm Stadium (kick-off 7.45pm).

But South Elmsall centre-back McCombe, who’s played a key role in Huddersfield’s success this season, has tasted defeat in his six other play-off outings with Town and previous clubs Scunthorpe United, Lincoln City and Bristol City.

That, coupled with Town’s play-off failure in the last two campaigns, will mean McCombe, and indeed Town supporters, won’t be counting their chickens until the play-off trophy is firmly in captain Peter Clarke’s hands.

The 29-year-old says a personal promotion is long overdue, however, and is confident the Terriers have what it takes to make it third time lucky.

“I think I’m due a promotion, it’s not nice losing out in the play-offs that many times,” he said.

“It’s great to be involved though. I know people have different opinions of the play-offs but they’re an exciting way to finish the season.

“It’s going to be tough as play-off campaigns always are but we’ve pretty much been preparing for them for the last month.

“Everyone from the players to the management and chairman are ambitious and want to get promotion this season and there’s no reason we can’t do that.”

The Terriers showed they certainly can do it with their winning performance in Milton Keynes at the weekend.

Tonight’s match at the Galpharm will see the pressure ramped up with Town just 90 minutes away from Wembley, and that pressure will heighten should they meet the Blades in London on Saturday, May 26.

McCombe believes form goes totally out of the window in the “lottery” of the play-offs and it all boils down to who can best handle that pressure.

He said: “I’ve experienced plenty of play-off matches at League 1 and League 2 level and it’s just about who best handles the pressure and who makes the fewest mistakes that usually go on to get promotion.”

Calum Wood and Scott Arfield are both struggling to be fit for tonight’s match with toe and ankle injuries respectively, but skipper Clarke should be fit to continue in defence despite suffering a knock to the head in Saturday’s first-leg clash.

See this week’s Wakefield Express Sport for all the latest sports news from around the district.