SCOTT ARFIELD says tomorrow’s trip to Walsall will form a crucial part of Huddersfield Town’s preparation for a third successive play-off tilt.
While the Saddlers are seeking three points to preserve their League I status, Simon Grayson’s men are aiming for the win which would build momentum and boost hopes of booking home advantage in the second leg of their semi-final showdown with MK Dons on Tuesday, May 15.
Only goal difference separates Town, in fifth, and the fourth-placed Dons, who visit Rochdale tomorrow.
Arfield acknowledges that the Buckinghamshire side will be tough opponents, but insists Town have the steely edge which will see them through to a Wembley final.
“While I wasn’t here at the time, the 2010 semi-final defeat by Millwall was a big learning curve for the young players who were,” said the versatile former Falkirk midfielder.
“I think that experience paid off in the way we handled last season’s semi against Bournemouth (Town won on penalties before going down to Peterborough in the final).
“Old Trafford was a day to forget, but again, we’ve learned lessons from a painful experience, and hopefully this time we can go one better.
“MK Dons will be difficult opponents, but the important thing to us is that we’ve got back to winning ways after a dip in form which came at a bad time.”
Town bounced back after three straight losses and four in five games by beating Scunthorpe 1-0 at the Galpharm last Saturday.
“The Walsall game is followed by a home clash with Yeovil tomorrow week and Arfield added: “We want to win the last two league games and go into the play-offs on a high.
“Beating Scunthorpe and finally booking our play-off place was a boost for everybody but we’ve got to take that on now.”
Arfield hailed teammate Lee Novak for the cool finish which clinched last Saturday’s success and took the former Gateshead man’s seasonal tally to 15.
“It was all about Lee’s touch and work ethic,” said the 23-year-old Scotland B international.
“Throughout his career at Huddersfield Town, Lee’s shown what he’s capable of.
He’s always getting into good positions and has an eye for goal.”
Walsall’s Richard Taundry says the West Midlanders must regroup after last Saturday’s 4-2 loss at Exeter.
They were 2-1 ahead and in control until defender Manny Smith saw red in the 66th minute, a decision which means he is suspended tomorrow.
Midfielder Taundry, whose team are just three points above the drop zone, said: “We just need to have a look at ourselves and produce a win.
“It’s not a nice position, nobody likes to be in this situation.”