DEAN HOYLE says belief – both from players and supporters – is vital if Huddersfield Town are to clinch League I play-off success at the third attempt under his leadership.
The club’s millionaire owner-chairman, who has dug deep to back the push for the Championship, saw Town secure a two-legged semi-final with MK Dons – and the chance of a final appearance at Wembley – by beating Scunthorpe 1-0 on Saturday.
But the vital Galpharm victory, clinched by Lee Novak’s 89th-minute goal, was watched by only 10,528, the sixth lowest home league crowd of the campaign.
Had every season-ticket holder attended, the figure would have been 13,086, and Hoyle says it’s crucial the fans are fully behind a side who had lost three games running before Saturday’s crucial win.
“There’s been a bit too much doom and gloom around the place,” he said. “The fans have got to get behind us because let’s be fair, if they don’t, then why do we all bother?
“I am fully behind (manager) Simon Grayson and the team, and I want the supporters to be as well.”
Fifth-placed Town, whose two remaining regular league games are at Walsall on Saturday and at home to Yeovil on May 5, are locked in a battle with MK to see who will finish fourth.
The higher of the two sides will have home advantage in the second leg of the semi-final on Tuesday, May 15 (7.45). The first leg is on the previous Saturday, May 12 (12.30).
Only goal difference (MK’s is 37, Town’s 30) separates the pair and both meetings this season have ended 1-1.
The other semi will be between Sheffield United or Sheffield Wednesday, battling for the one remaining automatic promotion berth, and Stevenage, Notts County, Carlisle or Brentford, who are fighting it out for sixth place.
Town will be aiming to book a sixth trip to Wembley, and first since 1995, for the final which takes place on Saturday, May 26 (3.00)
“We’ve not been playing well of late and confidence has been low,” admitted Hoyle, who saw Town knocked out by Millwall in the play-off semis of 2010 and beaten 3-0 by Peterborough in last season’s final at Old Trafford.
“These things take time to sort out, but we saw promising glimpses on Saturday, when the players didn’t let their heads drop and kept going.
“We definitely deserved to win, I thought we controlled the game from start to finish, and the players need to start believing in themselves again.
“We are under no illusions as to what lies ahead. We will go into the play-offs as one of the underdogs, but we went in as favourites last year and it did us no good.
“We have two more league games to get a bit more fluent, then we’ll give it our best shot, and hopefully the fans will get fully behind us.
“To be successful in the play-offs, the will has to match the skill. We all have to have that desire and we all have to pull in the same direction to get over that line.”