As can often be the case following promotion from the Championship and securing top-flight survival at the first attempt, the second season pursuit to stay amongst the Premier League elite can sometimes prove to be even more challenging.
Indeed, the last time Huddersfield Town were in the English top flight, their stay lasted just two seasons. After surviving the 1970-71 campaign, the 1971-72 season saw the team finish rock bottom in the table, following a disastrous run of 22 games without a league win; history the club will be keen to avoid repeating in this modern age.
Despite the fact that Huddersfield Town remain amongst the 2018-19 Premier League betting favourites for relegation, and everyone associated with the club being conscious that another tough battle lies ahead this season, it doesn’t diminish the level of positivity surrounding the team in the slightest.
Huddersfield Town have been amongst the most active clubs during the summer transfer window. Seven key signings have bolstered the squad significantly, following the captures of Ben Hamer, Ramadan Sobhi, Juninho Bacuna, Jonas Lossl, Erik Durm and Adama Diakhaby, along with Terence Kongolo, who joins permanently from Monaco after his loan spell last season.
There have also been significant departures, with no fewer than thirteen players leaving during the summer transfer window, including the £10 million sale of Tom Ince to Stoke City.
Fans will inevitably be disappointed to see favourites such as Michael Hefele and Collin Quaner set to leave, given their contribution to the phenomenal journey the club has enjoyed in the last couple of seasons, although it’s all part of the necessary evolution required at this level of the game.
After praising “the resilience and Terrier Spirit” that “earned that right after a superb debut campaign last year,” chairman Dean Hoyle acknowledged to The Examiner: “As happens in football, players come and go as they – and clubs – progress,” thankful for the contribution of those who have departed, whilst also excited about the players the club has managed to sign.
All the new signings were on display as The Terriers ran out 3-0 winners against RB Leipzig, setting things up nicely for the opening match of the 2018-19 campaign against Chelsea at the John Smith’s Stadium this weekend.
Amongst them were Erik Durm making his first appearance in the Huddersfield shirt, whilst fellow new arrival Adama Diakhaby made a good impression by scoring one of the goals.
David Wagner tested his managerial options by successfully deploying 3-5-2 and 4-2-3-1 formations at different stages of the game, giving him plenty of food for thought ahead of the new season, along with an opportunity to test the readiness of his players.
Wagner remains upbeat and positive, although at the same time, utterly realistic ahead of the new campaign, as he reflected on the season to come.
“We are again the underdog, a role which we absolutely accept, a role which we are absolutely used to and we like to go against the odds, and for this, we will give ourselves no limit. The most important thing is that we keep this enthusiasm and euphoria and atmosphere, around this football club and in our home stadium, to make the unbelievable or impossible happen”.
Plenty from the manager to suggest that The Terriers will be showing bite this season, with a squad that’s arguably capable of building on the platform established last term and capable of making positive strides forward.