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Frankie demands focus during play-off build-up Safety, a clean sheet and much more to come! Five things we learned.

Byline: Doug Thomson Football Writer doug.thomson@examiner.co.uk

HUDDERSFIELD Town Under 21 coach Frankie Bunn says concentration is crucial as his side gear up for the Professional Development League II play-offs.

Town are assured of the North section title with three regular-season games to go, starting with a Monday afternoon clash with possible semi-final opponents Cardiff City at the John Smith's Stadium (1.00).

Bunn's side then have two away games, against Birmingham City on Thursday and Coventry City next Monday, April 25, before a home play-off semi-final against the South section runners-up (Cardiff are currently second to Charlton Athletic with Millwall and Colchester United still in the hunt).

Town have made the play-offs every season since the inception of the PDL in 2012-13. But they have never won them, losing in the semi-finals in 2013 and 2014 before going down 3-2 at Swansea City in last season's final after beating Crystal Palace 5-3 after extra time.

Town, who made the last four of this season's Under 21 Premier League Cup, losing on penalties to Hull City, have won their last three to make it 19 victories in 27 league games.

Bristol City were beaten 4-1 last time out with goals by Rekeil Pyke (2), Fraser Horsfall and Lewis O'Brien.

"We've played better this year, but our set plays were very good, and we scored from three of them," said Bunn. "We were clinical. We soaked up a bit of pressure and looked very threatening on the counter-attack.

"Set-pieces in both boxes are so important in any game of football, at any level.

"Unfortunately we conceded one in the final minute and although we were 4-0 up at the time, we can't be complacent or sloppy.

"Somebody let a runner come off them from a corner and has been spoken to, so I hope it won't happen again."

The Under 18s missed out on a PDL II play-off spot after a 3-3 home draw against Coventry City.

Jack Boyle (2) and Dom Tear were on target, but Sheffield United's 7-1 home win over Hull City ensured they finished second to Nottingham Forest in the Northern division.

TOWN ARE SAFE It's been obvious for a few weeks now that David Wagner wasn't in danger of leading Town into League One in his first season in charge, but the victory at Blackburn confirmed it for even the most nervous of fans.

The maths? Town lie 11 points clear of MK Dons in the last relegation place, but with a far superior goal difference, with just four games and 12 possible points to go. This victory actually took them up to 16th in the table.

NAHKI CONTENDS FOR PLAYER OF YEAR AWARD In truth, this wasn't much of a spectacle. An end-of-season encounter between two teams who weren't ever in serious danger of the drop, with the hosts committed to playing the long ball game, wasn't ever likely to produce a classic.

But in a scrappy game without much spark, Nahki Wells did what he's been doing all season - he got the crucial goal. It exhibited true striking qualities, anticipating a mistake, gambling, and then volleying home.

TOWN SOLIDITY BRINGS CLEAN SHEET After conceding six goals in the last three games prior to this visit to Lancashire, this was a clean sheet to be cherished.

Mark Hudson and Joel Lynch were truly imperious at the back.

ROVERS NOT THE BENCHMARK A good victory and a good result, but most know this wasn't a day for getting carried away. Town have the makings of a very good side and next term should be an exciting one, but there will be tougher tests than this.

THANK GOODNESS FOR DAVID WAGNER The boss is already a hero with the fans and it is no wonder it is face that adorns the adverts for next term's cut-price season cards.

At full time, he led the whole team over to the fans to thank them for their fantastic support at Ewood Park, and the resulting celebration between players and fans was wonderful to watch.

Alex Porter
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Apr 18, 2016
Words:680
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