THE arrival of a salary cap throughout the Football League means there’s never been a better time to win promotion to the Championship.
But Dean Hoyle accepts Sheffield United will be thinking exactly the same thing.
Throw in the prospect of playing at Wembley, and that’s why Town’s owner-chairman is more keyed up for a play-off challenge than ever.
“The salary cap is going to have a big impact, but in the correct way,” said the former greetings card tycoon, who is currently cycling to the national stadium to raise funds to give 1,000 youngsters from the Huddersfield area the chance to watch tomorrow’s big match.
“It will certainly stop people like me coming along and trying to bankroll a promotion bid, and ambitious as I am to take this club higher up the football ladder, that’s not a problem.
“We have to look at the long-term picture, and for the game to survive in its current form, clubs are going to have to cut their cloth accordingly.
“We’ve always been supporters of the salary cap, and we remain firmly behind it, but we also accept that it will make winning promotion that much harder.
“That’s why we so wanted to do it last season (when Town lost 3-0 to Peterborough in the Old Trafford final) and that’s why we want to do it just as badly this season.
“We’d love to have gone up automatically, and clearly that didn’t happen, but there are three promotion places available, and we’ve got ourselves into a great position to get the last of them.”
Hoyle, a Town board member since April 2008 and chairman since June 2009, knows neighbours Sheffield United will be thinking exactly the same thing as they close in on an immediate return to the second tier after last season’s relegation.
“We’ve got a huge amount of respect for them, and we’re looking at two clubs who have the history, stature and support to merit a place in the Championship,” he added.
“Really it’s a shame that one of us will have to stay down, but we knew the situation at the start of the season, and that if we didn’t finish in the top two, that we’d be going into the play-offs, and here we are.”