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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Welcome to the Championship (5/6): Huddersfield Town

The penultimate post in this series of six presents the Yorkshire side who won promotion via the play offs, one year on from disappointment at the same stage.

Find other posts in the series here:

Welcome to the Championship (1/6): Blackburn Rovers

Welcome to the Championship (2/6): Sheffield Wednesday

Welcome to the Championship (3/6): Charlton Athletic

Welcome to the Championship (4/6): Bolton Wanderers

About……Huddersfield Town

Nickname: ‘The Terriers’               Manager: Simon Grayson

Play at: Galpharm Stadium, 207 miles from Ashton Gate

Capacity: 24,500;  Last Season Avg Attendance: 14,146

Interesting Facts:  Huddersfield were the best club around in the 1920’s, becoming the first club to win the league title in three successive seasons in the 1920’s in a run of positions that went 3 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 2 – 2  >>> They won the FA Cup in 1922, reaching the final on three other occasions inside ten years >>> Jordan Rhodes netted 40 goals last season yet only 12 were single strikes. His haul included a 5 away at Wycombe, all 4 at Sheffield Wednesday and three other hat-tricks.  He scored 26 goals away from home – City as a team scored just 18…

Notable match vs City: City 6 Huddersfield 1 (Bob Taylor hat-trick) April 1989

2012-13 Fixtures: 3rd Nov (A), 27th April (H) (Last home game of the season)

Many thanks to Charlie for answering my questions – after a long time fighting to gain promotion, and spending a fair amount of money by League One standards in doing so, the Terriers are finally back in the Championship and, unsurprisingly, looking forward to it!  If they can hang onto him, they also boast one of the most lethal strikers of recent memory in Jordan Rhodes, as well as ex-City favourite Jamie ‘Boom-Boom’ McCombe

How are you feeling about playing in the Championship, a few weeks following your promotion?Absolutely over the moon. It has been an eleven-year absence and with every passing year it was becoming tougher to get excited about another League One campaign.

What does your club bring to a tight, competitive and entertaining division?
An ambitious club, with a very nice stadium and a solid fan-base. We have waited a long time to get back in the Championship and we are certainly going to attempt to make the best of it. It also looks from the players we are being linked with that we aren’t intending to be fighting relegation.  I don’t think we’ll be a pushover and there won’t be many sets of fans who will be happier to be in the league.

What style of football/formation do you play?
Simon Grayson made us solid in order to get us over the line, but with many departing players and a number of anticipated arrivals, it might be a little too early to say. I suspect we’ll be a pragmatic side but with a touch of flair from the wide-men. 

Who are the star players we should all look out for?
Obviously Jordan Rhodes hit the headlines last season with a huge number of goals, but if he leaves we do still have a few players to keep an eye on.

Jack Hunt is an attacking right back with electric pace and a real attacking instinct. Attacking midfielder Kallum Higginbotham arrived from Falkirk in January, and after a loan spell at Barnsley, returned and became a potential game changer with a willingness to be on the ball and the ability to beat a man.  

So, just how good is Jordan Rhodes?
He’s a great player and has scored consistently during his time at the club.  He works hard and is a lethal finisher. You might not see him for 89 minutes, but if presented with a chance he’ll almost always take it.

And is there an up-and-coming future star in your midst?
Murray Wallace was bought from Falkirk by Lee Clark and loaned back to them. However he arrives with a very strong reputation as a ball playing centre back with an excellent reading of the game. Hopefully he’ll be able to establish himself as a first team regular.

What are your views of your manager?
I like him a lot more after he gained promotion, but I did have my doubts. He is a quiet man, with a relaxed approach, but 3 promotions from league one speaks volumes. He also established both Leeds and Blackpool in the Championship so hopefully that’s a good sign.

….and of your Chairman, Dean Hoyle?
Our Chairman is the reason we gained promotion as he put a lot of his own money into the club to restore us to the Championship. He’s a forward thinking chairman, a lifelong fan of the club and has restored a lot of faith in a club that has had its fair share of questionable owners. You’ll struggle to find a Huddersfield fan with a bad word to say about him.

You hit the headlines last winter by sacking Lee Clark despite a remarkably long unbeaten run. In retrospect, it looks a solid decision as the ultimate aim has been achieved, but was it not a strange choice at the time?
It was stranger to the outside world, than it was to fans of the club. As much as Lee Clark was positive for Huddersfield Town, he’d become cautious in the extreme. He seemed happy to settle for a draw and this is ultimately what cost him his job. It was a strange decision, but one that was ultimately justified.

What are your expectations for the upcoming season?
It depends on who we bring in.  As of yet we’ve brought in Sean Scannell from Crystal Palace (ER: and fullback Paul Dixon from Dundee United, a player previously linked with City) and if we add more players of that quality then I’d expect us to compete and finish around mid-table. I don’t think for one second we’ll do a Norwich or a Southampton but I don’t think we’ll be overawed and we might surprise a few people.

Who will be your big rivals in this division?
Obviously Leeds, although they obviously don’t consider us a rival. We are more of an inconvenience to them whilst they worry about Manchester United, who in turn couldn’t care less about them!

And finally, do you have any specific favourite memory of playing against Bristol City?
I always remember considering you rivals when Peter Jackson was our manager as you were one of the leagues big players. We beat you one-nil in an early season encounter, when Brian Tinnion was your boss. You’d just signed Marcus Stewart (I believe) and looked like you’d walk the league, and when we beat you I honestly thought it might be our season.

Many thanks again to Charlie for these answers, you can follow him on Twitter here:

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