Hello and welcome back to Football, proper football, championship football, Huddersfield Town football!
We’re super excited about the return of football, it’s been far too long, too many weeks without knowing when Saturday is are over. A sliver of normality is returning and while we will have to wait a little longer to attend games ourselves at least we can finish up the season. While some of us would have been happy with a null and void or calling the season when it was suspended, as league one and two have done, finishing the league is the right thing to do, for sport and for the moral and mental health of the general population. We’ve spoken at length on this blog about the importance of mental health and what football can do. We hope the measures in place ensure a safe and contagion free end to the season.
So what can we expect?
Well, don’t expect it to be “Normal” the lack of fans has a huge impact on high-level football. The twelfth man has a huge effect, never underestimate the importance of the crowd and your participation, it matters! From the games, we’ve seen in the Bundesliga so far home advantage is no longer the powerful differentiating factor it was with 20-40,000 fans singing and screaming.
While we are all disappointed to not be able to attend the football, for town’s remaining nine fixtures it could be a godsend. Let’s be honest, our away form hasn’t been amazing this term, indeed a couple of away wins would make for a vastly different table right now. So with 5 of 9 fixtures away from home, we can consider the lack of fans a small advantage for the remainder of the 2019/2020 season. Five subs per game will be especially interesting for Town fans as the Cowley’s get more flexibility to apply their “Game Changers” and tactical nouse to the game, expect to see all five substitutes utilised.
Squad wise, the town seems to have avoided the pitfalls of contracts expiring during lock-down and return with an almost complete, fully fit squad and loanees. This means we get to see a little more of ESR and Willock in blue and white, I’m super stoked about this as I feared the loanees might have played their last games as Terriers, indeed we may even be able to cheekily keep hold of them for a little longer due to the pandemic, and a return for next term is not off the cards as we write.
Fitness-wise the rumour is that Jonas Lossl is at least impressed with the fitness levels of his teammates, Boro were no match for how well drilled and fit the Terriers are, which bodes well. Friendlies against Boro, Sheffield Utd and Hull seem to have gone reasonably with Town scoring goals, particularly Bacuna with 3 in 4.
Highlights of these games on htafc.com show something that was missing prior to the global crisis, genuine link play! This shows the work Danny and Nicky have been able to do on the training pitch, working with small groups as dictated by the guidelines may be another bonus for the Terriers, as the brothers Cowley get to spend quality time on tight formations.
Oh and look out for some proper dodgy haircuts! Kache, Campbell and Bacu sporting some particularly fluffy do’s. This won’t interfere with the football though unless opposition strikers get lost admiring Schindy’s magnificent waves of brown locks.
As for Wigan and form, this is all rather tricky, Wigan had an awful start and middle to their season but seemed to be kicking on and collecting results right before the stoppage. How they line up and perform on Saturday is anyone’s guess. But make no mistake this is a genuine 6 pointer and will be a line in the sand for Town’s rivals as the final games play out. Wins against Wigan, Luton, Birmingham and Reading would see us safe for the season, we’re confident that four wins from nine is an achievable target and taking points from these clubs could even see our beloved Terriers well away from the relegation zone by the time it’s actually all over.
Without the crowd it’s not the same beast, the passion is missing from the stands, no amount of piped fan noise can change this but we hope the quality on the field is good enough to see us over the line and secure championship football next season, whenever that might be.
Until next time UTT