PREVIEW: SWFC vs Huddersfield Town AFC

Tonight, the Owls host Huddersfield Town in what is surely their last chance of finding enough form to survive the drop.

The Terriers lie in 18th position, 13 points ahead of Wednesday and come to Hillsborough off the back of a 1-0 win against Queens Park Rangers.

Under Bielsa’s protege in Carlos Corberan, Huddersfield Town have been plagued by injury – preventing any real decent spell of form.

Town’s defence has been their main issue this campaign, they have the second-worst in the league – conceding 51 goals and only keeping 5 clean sheets.

The Terriers are a team built upon possession of the ball, averaging 57.9% possession per game which is second only to Norwich.

For the Owls, there is little to say that hasn’t been said before. 

They were impressive on Saturday against Norwich City, yet weren’t good enough to feel aggrieved by the Canaries win.

Team-wise, I would be inclined to stick with the team from Saturday. Perhaps the only change would be Izzy Brown for Adam Reach – yet neither fills me with confidence.

Under Moore, we seem to be seeing the green shoots of a team with an identity.

There is a clear impetus to play from the back and avoid reverting to a session of ‘hoof-ball’.

Style is irrelevant, however, unless you get the substance in the form of results.

How I would line up – Westwood; Lees, Hutchinson, Urhoghide; Harris, Pelupessy, Bannan, Palmer; Windass, Reach; Rhodes

Score Prediction – 1-0 Wednesday. There have been positive signs and a win feels near. The Terriers have been the definition of average this campaign – a real opportunity for Moore’s first three points.

Ahead of the game, and as part of our ‘Opposition View’, I spoke to Matt (@TTCMatt) from the Huddersfield Town fan podcast, ‘And He Takes That Chance’ (@takesthatchance)…

Which players do Wednesday need to keep their eyes on?

Lewis O’Brien has recently returned to form and his surging carries from midfield open up opposition defences other players can exploit. Other than Lewis, Town’s good days often depend on the form of Naby Sarr and Jonathan Hogg. Whilst neither are ordinarily threats in the final third, their defensive diligence is the platform of every good performance this season.

Naby Sarr in action. Image: yorkshirepost.com

If you could bring one Wednesday player to Huddersfield Town, who would it be and why?

Barry Bannan. When teams sit deep, Town struggle. Since Carel Eiting’s injury in December we’ve not had a player who can dictate possession or the tempo of a game and Barry Bannan would be a perfect player for Carlos Corberan’s preferred style.

How would you describe Carlos Corberan’s tenure at the club?

Unfortunate but promising. Just as he looked like he was on to something at the end of November/start of December our rather thin squad was decimated by injuries to key players. Since then we’ve had to play without several players with a weekly injury list consistently above 7 or 8 first team injuries. As a result, the style of play suffered and Carlos has had to roll us back to a more functional method which has so far arrested the pretty bad slide that we were on. 

Where do you think you’ll finish this season?

I said 20th at the start of the season so will stick with that.

Wednesday have been linked with a move for Danny Simpson, what could Wednesday fans expect from the full-back?

Danny Simpson made a tremendous contribution when he first joined. His defensive awareness, organisation and leadership are top class. Sadly he suffered an injury last Christmas and wasn’t the same after. The little pace he had disappeared and he couldn’t get too close to mark his opponent as he would be invariably done for pace by not even the most fleet-footed winger. The club decided to not extend his contract prior to the COVID break last season which was a messy situation and not one all parties dealt with particularly well. However, I wish Danny all the best but suspect his days at this level are gone, unless the Simpson we saw post-Christmas was carrying an injury that we weren’t aware of.

Finally, what’s your score prediction?

I think the weekend’s win at QPR has taken some of the pressure off of this game. Town have become harder to break down and if the game is close going into the final 25 mins, I suspect Town wouldn’t be unhappy with a point so I’m going for 0-0.

Many thanks to Matt for taking the time to answer the questions and good luck for the rest of the season (just not tonight!)

UTO!

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