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Hot Off The Press: Huddersfield Town

Steven Chicken of the Huddersfield Examiner previews The Terriers

1 November 2019

Though things are finally starting to look up for Huddersfield, firstly can you sum up how torrid the last year has been for the club, having been relegated from the Premier League in miserable circumstances last season?

Last season they only had three wins and were pretty much doomed by the time David Wagner left in January. The guy who replaced him, Jan Siewert, was on a hiding to nothing and never really got the team going, despite his best efforts. Pre-season was positive and they were unbeaten throughout the summer, but they started really poorly and didn’t win any of their first nine games. I think people were ready for the new season, looking forward to dropping a level and getting into the Championship, having had those years in the Premier League, but then, with the start they had, it just pushed everyone back into that misery and killed the optimism stone dead straight away.

At the same time, the work Danny Cowley and his brother Nicky were doing at Lincoln in League Two was very well-publicised. With that in mind, what was the general feeling from Town fans when he was appointed?

People were really pleased with the appointment. It’s fair to say the chairman Phil Hodgkinson – who only took over in the summer - was getting a lot of stick over various things, but he really won over a lot of the fans by getting the Cowleys in. Danny Cowley initially turned down Huddersfield but the chairman stuck at it, convinced him to come to the club and I think it was seen as the best appointment they could possibly have made.

Despite the upturn in fortunes of late, Huddersfield have won just two games on the road since the beginning of last season. How much of a worry is that heading into the Brentford game?

Well, they’ve only won three home games in the same period! However, there has been an upturn in results and they’ve started getting points. They started turning things around shortly after Cowley came in and getting back-to-back wins over Stoke and Hull was a massive moment for Huddersfield. That was a much-needed boost at the right time because if they hadn’t got those wins, you’d be seriously concerned about relegation. The concern is still there, but things have a much better complexion than they did a month or so ago.

Which player has impressed you most so far?

Lewis O’Brien. He’s a young midfielder who has come through the Town academy and has been the best player so far this season. He was on loan at Bradford last year and was, apparently, excellent there as well. He’s been the fans’ favourite player this season and Cowley has described his influence as like having two player on the pitch. He’s a tenacious, fighting, battling midfielder and has been absolutely outstanding.

How is Cowley likely to set up his side for the trip to Griffin Park?

He’s been largely playing a 4-3-3, although he has dabbled with 4-2-3-1. He’s likely to have the full-backs staying back more than they get forward, Jonathan Hogg sitting as a defensive midfielder and then two other midfielders either ahead of or beside him. Then there’s the three up front who all provide a certain threat. There’s lots of pace up front.

The previous five meetings between the two sides have produced a remarkable 21 goals, but what’s your score prediction for this one?

I don’t think we’ll see anything like a repeat of that! Cowley has, largely, got the side more defensively organised and they’ve had a good run of clean sheets over the past few games. Away from home I suspect he’ll want to contain Brentford for as long as he possibly can – that’s always a priority – as he likes to keep things tight and to try and nick a goal either from set-pieces or on the counter attack. I’ll go for a 1-0 win for Town.

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