As Huddersfield Town prepare to take on Blackburn Rovers, we consider three keys which will play a significant part in the outcome.
Despite not even being halfway through the season yet, there is already a sense of urgency surrounding Huddersfield. After a promising start to the season, recent results have seen them slowly slide down the Championship table.
Yes, the Terriers are still in a playoff spot, but there are a number of teams lurking just below them, waiting to pounce. This leads to the question of who the real Huddersfield Town is?
We should have a better idea in the next few weeks leading up to Christmas, starting with Saturday’s game against Blackburn Rovers. Here are three key factors, which will help determine the final result at Ewood Park:
1) Two teams headed in opposite directions?
At the start of October, thinks were looking extremely promising for Huddersfield, as they sat at the top of the table. Unfortunately, they have since gone a run of just four points from seven games.
On the flip side, after a poor start to the season, Blackburn has won two straight, to take them out of the relegation zone. Their most recent win was particularly impressive, coming away from home against the current league leaders, Newcastle United.
Of additional concern for Huddersfield, is the fact they have only beaten Blackburn once in their last 12 meetings. However, it is worth nothing that victory came last season at Ewood Park, giving Terriers’ fans hopes of a similar result on Saturday.
2) Sam Gallagher
Arguably the number one threat to Huddersfield’s chances of getting back on track, is Gallagher. With seven strikes so far this season, he is Blackburn’s leading goalscorer.
On loan for the season from Southampton, the 21-year old has been a revelation. Unsurprisingly, Rovers’ manager Owen Coyle has indicated he would like to sign the striker permanently.
David Wagner admits the team needs to focus more, and any chance of a positive result on Saturday starts with keeping a clean sheet. However, with the second-worst defence in the top half of the table, along with the absence of the injured Mark Hudson, Huddersfield will have their hands full with Gallagher and company.
3) Turning possession into goals
The critics have come out in recent weeks, to question Huddersfield’s playing style. However, as Wagner pointed out at Thursday’s press conference, they lost the last two games because of mistakes, not their style of play.
Certainly, there is a lot of truth in this, with Wagner adding that the team is still forging their identity. Further, the amount of possession Huddersfield has had recently — including more than 70 percent in the last two games — suggests they are doing something right.
However, despite creating more than enough chances, the Terriers have just 20 goals in 18 games. If they can start converting more opportunities — we’re looking at you Nahki Wells, whether you want to be here or not — they can get their promotion push back on track.
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What’s your prediction for Saturday’s game and why? Do you think Huddersfield will continue their recent run of poor form, or get back on track? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.