Nathan Jones said his side are in a ‘good place’ ahead of Friday’s Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final against Huddersfield Town.
The magnitude of such a fixture is one the manager is fully aware of and speaking about what his message to the players will be before the meeting with Huddersfield, Nathan said: “We have to continue what we’ve done all season. If the best version of us turns up, we’re very difficult to play against, very difficult to beat but so are Huddersfield.
“It is a tough game, going to be two tough games because both of them were really tough games. Margins were really small in both games, they won two-nil but with all intents and purposes, we had some really good chances. We missed a penalty at a crucial point and then they scored late after we were chasing the game. Tight, tight games and I don’t think these two are going to be any different.”
Jones confirmed that midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu will miss the play-off matches but provided a positive update on those on the sideline with him.
“We’re closer every day. There are some big players that are much, much closer to being available for selection tomorrow than were a week ago for example. We’re in a far better place. I mentioned big players and Elijah is a big player for us. It is far better news on Elijah.”
Back in play-off action for the first time since 2017, Jones knows the pressure on the match and how anything can happen over the next 180 minutes.
“So much can happen in a play-off game. They should be tight games because you have four teams of much over muchness, no one really ran away with anything in terms of the four teams so from third to sixth. There was a lot of evenness in terms of the performances, in terms of the results, in terms of everything.
“Ironically, we haven’t beaten Huddersfield in both games but on the flip side of that, we beat Blackpool twice and then when we played them in the play-offs we didn’t go through. These are two one-off games, you have to focus on the first one first and foremost, and then you adjust and prepare again.”
With the Kenilworth Road crowd on their side Friday night, Jones added: “We’re going to need them. For us, surviving in the Championship is a realistic aim every year. The fans have been brilliant, together we’ve managed to do better than that on every occasion so we’re going to rely on them tomorrow night.
“We love a night game at the Kenny, it is the biggest game the Kenny has seen for a hell of a long time so everyone that comes I imagine will be enthusiastic, will be right up for it because that is what the players are going to be. We want to create that atmosphere where if we give them something to get behind then they really get behind the team.”