Huddersfield Town are once again going into a challenging Sky Bet Championship campaign. However, with fans back in stadiums, there is more optimism going into this season than there has been for the last four seasons.
Town kick off their league season away at Derby on Saturday. The Rams are in all sorts of trouble off the field and manager Wayne Rooney has only a small group of players to pick from. Derby currently can’t bring any players in because they are under a transfer embargo.
You’d therefore think this would be an easy opening day three points. However, Town don’t have the best opening day game record.
Out of the past 10 seasons they have only won three games. Away to Crystal Palace in the 2017/18 season, the Terriers first season back in the top flight and they defeated Brentford at home in the promotion campaign of 2016/17. However you have to go right back to 2010 to find the other most recent opening day victory, Town beating Notts County 3-0 away from home.
So how is Town’s squad shaping up for the new season? Well one of the biggest criticisms of Carlos Corberan’s side last campaign was the defensive frailties the team showed.
This summer Town have brought a number of defenders and whilst none are spectacular names, from the signs in pre-season they all look solid additions. Interestingly enough Town’s footballing philosophy under the Spaniard is to play out from the back.
This philosophy doesn’t necessarily lend itself to the type of defenders Town have recruited. This isn’t a criticism, just an observation and it will be interesting to see if the Terriers switch it up more with how they play out from defence.
Town have added to their squad by bringing in former Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday centre-back Tom Lees. He is a player with vast experience at this level. Also brought in is Matty Pearson, formerly of Luton Town. Both these players are very good in the air.
Both are built like old-fashioned centre-backs and it will definitely be nice to see the Terriers have more of a presence in each box.
At full-back Ollie Turton has arrived from Blackpool and Josh Ruffels from Oxford United. These two additions have meant some of Town’s youngsters like Rarmani Edmonds-Green can go out on loan. Both Turton and Ruffels have had good football league experience so far in their careers. It will certainly be interesting to see whether Pipa and Harry Toffolo are the main picks in this position.
Moving into midfield and nothing much has changed to last season. The Terriers will be nervous about potential late bids for rising star Lewis O’Brien – will Leeds stick their hands in their pockets? Apart uncertainty surrounding O’Brien nothing much will change.
Town have so far brought in two players on loan. The first is Danel Sinani, a winger from Norwich City. The other is defender Levi Colwill from Chelsea.
Up top Town have signed a familiar face in Jordan Rhodes. The 31-year-old has done a tour of England since leaving the Terriers in 2012 when he was sold to Blackburn Rovers for a then record fee for the club and Championship of £8 million.
Although he had some classy seasons in Lancashire, since leaving Rovers the former Scottish international hasn’t found his form. Town fans will be hoping he can rekindle that old magic finishing touch this campaign.
Finally on the transfer front goalkeeper Lee Nicholls has joined from League One side MK Dons. The 28-year-old has been brought in to take pressure off of young talented keeper Ryan Schofield. So far Nicholls’ performances in pre-season have been good and so I think we can expect him to be first choice.
The Terriers already have one competitive win under their belts this season. Having beaten Sheffield Wednesday in the league cup on penalties, Town looked the better side in 90 minutes too. The Town faithful came away feeling positive about the season ahead.
I believe we have now sorted the leaky defence. The back line might not be quick but I do think it looks more solid. I also strongly believe if you get service to Rhodes, he will score.
As much as I like Fraizer Campbell, he isn’t a 15/20 goal striker. I know Rhodes hasn’t the best stats of late but get service to him and he will score. That’s my theory.
If Town can finish anywhere between 10th and 16th this season I will be happy. It will have shown we are improving and everyone is learning from the mistakes that have been made over the previous four years. UTT.