DALETEMPEST

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

THE visit of Le­ices­ter City is a real chal­lenge for Hud­der­s­field Town.

The Foxes are prob­a­bly the first team Town have faced this sea­son who you would re­gard as a proper top half or top 10 Premier League team.

Southamp­ton were last year, but they have looked sadly short of that level so far.

How­ever, with Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez et al, Le­ices­ter will pro­vide a proper test for David Wag­ner’s team at the John Smith’s Sta­dium.

A win for Town would ob­vi­ously be fan­tas­tic, but my take on it is that any­thing other than a de­feat is fine, even at this stage of the sea­son – and I’m sure Town can achieve at least that.

The re­sult at West Ham, of course, was not what Town fans were look­ing for. There were lots of pos­i­tives at the London Sta­dium, but it il­lus­trated just how com­pet­i­tive ev­ery game is in the Premier League.

What I found fas­ci­nat­ing was Wag­ner’s re­sponse to the de­feat and his ob­vi­ous dis­ap­point­ment.

The phrase which stood out from the head coach was that ‘Town weren’t brave enough with the ball’. I know ex­actly what he means. It’s about hav­ing con­fi­dence and be­lief in what you are do­ing and tak­ing the ball in tight ar­eas.

Par­tic­u­larly in the first half, I felt Elias Kachunga and Ra­jiv van La Parra, who are nor­mally so con­fi­dent with the ball, re­ally didn’t give Town the out­let they needed from the bar­rage of Andy Car­roll.

Fair play to the Town de­fence, be­cause up un­til half time there was only one re­ally clear-cut chance con­ceded, to Javier Her­nan­dez, which he should have scored.

But Christo­pher Schindler, from the dif­fi­cult start, did a fan­tas­tic job in keep­ing Car­roll as quiet as pos­si­ble.

The big pos­i­tive from the game has to be Aaron Mooy, and just how classy he looks.

Mooy re­ally has set­tled into Premier League foot­ball and he looks a nat­u­ral in that cen­tre of mid­field.

I felt a big sorry for Phil Billing, as the young­ster had a de­cent enough game.

But he will only re­mem­ber two things him­self – and they were the two goals which, ul­ti­mately, came from his er­rors.

The blocked clear­ance which led to the first goal was ob­vi­ously still on his mind when he let Jose Fonte get in front of him from the set piece to cause the sec­ond goal.

I was very in­ter­ested in what Big Sam Al­lardyce had to say af­ter­wards and par­tic­u­larly when he ques­tioned Wag­ner’s hon­esty in in­ter­view.

He won­dered if the nega­tiv­ity might seep through to the play­ers, but I have to say I dis­agree with Big Sam on this is­sue.

Ev­ery­thing Wag­ner has built at Hud­der­s­field Town has been built on raw hon­esty, from the very first day he ar­rived.

The play­ers know where they stand, they know the ex­pec­ta­tions of the head coach and of the club and, ul­ti­mately, they know if they don’t live up to those ex­pec­ta­tions then they won’t re­main in blue and white stripes for very long.

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