Sky Sports pundit Andy Hinchcliffe has admitted that he believes whoever progresses from Nottingham Forest’s meeting with Sheffield United will be expected to go on to win the play-off final later this month.
Forest clinched a top-six finish last month by securing a 1-0 victory over Fulham last month and briefly threatened to secure automatic promotion to the top-flight before having their hopes dashed by AFC Bournemouth.
The Blades meanwhile had to wait until the final day of the regular campaign to book their place in the play-offs as they beat the Cottagers in front of their own supporters.
Forest are set to travel to Bramall Lane on Saturday before hosting Paul Heckingbottom’s side at the City Ground on Tuesday.
With a trip to Wembley Stadium up for grabs, both sides will be desperate to secure a place in the final by delivering the goods in these two upcoming clashes.
Ahead of Saturday’s first leg, Hinchcliffe has made an honest play-off claim involving these two sides.
Speaking on the latest episode of the Sky Sports EFL Podcast, Hinchcliffe said: “Paul Heckingbottom has done an extraordinary job, it was a masterstroke in terms of giving him the job at the time that they did and it’s the reason that Sheffield United are in the play-offs.
“They have got a few attacking injury problems which might hinder them come the two big games against Forest.
“It’s not going to be easy for them, I know there’s a lot of expectation clearly there as well and on Forest.
“So, whoever wins this tie will be expected probably to win the final and get to the Premier League.”
When you consider that both the Blades and Forest have produced some impressive performances in the Championship, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if the winner of this play-off semi-final does indeed go on to seal a place in the top-flight.
Although Luton Town or Huddersfield Town will both provide a stiff test later this month, both of the aforementioned clubs will fancy their chances of winning at Wembley.
The Blades will be determined to take a lead heading into the second leg of this fixture as Forest have excelled at the City Ground this season.
Since the turn of the year, the Reds have managed to win nine games in front of their fans in the Championship whilst they have also defeated Arsenal and Leicester City in the FA Cup.