Huddersfield Town Season Preview: gegenpressing Terriers

huddersfieldIn a division in which strikers are being sold for eight figure fees, Huddersfield Town have never had a financial advantage over their competitors. Instead, they must progress through other means – unity, energy and battling spirit. In David Wagner – a close former colleague of Jurgen Klopp – they might just have found the man to instil such principles. The German’s work in West Yorkshire discussed by @htafcaway.

Huddersfield finished 19th last season. Do you think the club has done quite well to stabilize itself in the Championship, given the money at the top level of the division?

Absolutely. Given our budget compared to some of the clubs in the championship we have done extremely well to establish ourselves at this level.

Head coach David Wagner has a strong belief in high-octane football. How big a difference will it make when he has had a full pre-season to prepare his squad fitness-wise?

A full pre season can only help David Wagner improve the fitness of the squad. Additionally he has had time to buy his own players and build his own squad. Hopefully we will be fitter than ever.

Huddersfield faced seven shots (on and off target) per goal conceded last season, the lowest in the Championship. Does this suggest new goalkeeper Joel Coleman could prove an upgrade on Jed Steer?

The defence in front of Steer last season was probably the main culprit for our shoddy goals conceded/shots ratio last year. Coleman has been brought in as a sub keeper and it is widely believed we have signed Danny Ward on loan from Liverpool, who is hopefully the quality goalkeeper we’ve been looking for for this season.

New left-back Chris Loewe is known for his pace and quality. With midfielders likely to press closely together, is it important to have attacking full-backs for width and variation?

Definitely. From what I’ve seen Loewe can deliver decent set pieces and crosses, which we’ve lacked from our full backs recently. This can only improve our quality when going forward.

While Joel Lynch has left for QPR, you’ve signed three club captains from German sides this summer, including centre-backs Michael Hefele and Christopher Schindler. Do you expect to see leadership qualities in the back four?

Yes with all the leaders in our defence now hopefully we will see an improvement in the goals against column.

Philip Billing was voted Young Player of the Year last season while Ivan Paurevic joins from FC Ufa. You won’t have a shortage of height and physicality in midfield…

That’s one of the things I am looking forward to seeing most – the added height to our team. Our new defenders and midfield along with Billing are very tall now, and hopefully we will be feared by opposition.

Sean Scannell seems to hug the touchline, whereas Joe Lolley and Harry Bunn prefer to cut inside. Do you think the latter two are more likely to fit in with Wagner’s plans?

Joe Lolley definitely fits in well with Wagners plans with his high energy running and pressing, and is a fan favourite at Town. Harry Bunn less so but always has a goal in him which can’t be overlooked at this level.

New signing Jack Payne benefited from having a free role at Southend. Might he have to adapt to meet the demand for high work rate without the ball?

Yes I am looking forward to seeing Jack Payne in our system in more of a free role behind the striker. Wagner will get ensure all our new signings are up to speed by the start of the season so I don’t think that anyone lacking work rate will be a problem.

Nahki Wells scored 18 goals last term, 14 of them coming under Wagner’s tutelage. Do you think the change of manager has given him a new lease of life?

Nahki is like a different player under Wagner. We are creating more chances and thus he is scoring more goals. His confidence is better than ever and if we keep hold of him this summer he can go on to score 20+ this season.

What are your thoughts ahead of the Championship season as a whole? Any potential dark horses for you?

I honestly feel we can be the dark horses this season if we get off to a good start. Bristol City also could be ones to watch also.

Where will you finish?

Where will we finish? Heart says 6th, head says 12th.

The Football Lab’s Verdict

A growing sense of positivity at Huddersfield Town makes them dark horses. The defence has been bolstered and players have had time to adjust to Wagner’s high-energy approach, striker Wells has done so and reaped the benefits. 6th