Ter­ri­ers boss Wag­ner talks SIXTH SENSE

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

DAVID Wag­ner is con­fi­dent in his Town op­tions to re­place sus­pended Phil Billing at Arse­nal.

Dan­ish mid­fielder Billing misses the trip to the Emi­rates af­ter col­lect­ing his fifth book­ing of the sea­son in the 2-1 de­feat at Bournemouth.

It means Billing will miss his first top-flight match of the cam­paign, hav­ing started 15 in a row – but the head coach reck­ons op­por­tu­nity now knocks for some­one to make their mark.

First in line, per­haps, is USA in­ter­na­tional Danny Wil­liams, who has now made two sub­sti­tute ap­pear­ances af­ter a long bat­tle for fit­ness fol­low­ing his pre­vi­ous out­ing in the Carabao Cup.

Talk­ing of how he would re­place Billing, Wag­ner said: “Danny Wil­liams and Jun­inho Ba­cuna are prob­a­bly the first near­est two op­tions.

“We have also seen that Stankovic has played in this po­si­tion, Flo has played in this po­si­tion and Chris Lowe also.

“So we have al­ter­na­tives, and we will also see what we do in terms of the for­ma­tion.

“Do we play like we did last week­end, where Aaron Mooy and Hoggy were in the cen­tral po­si­tions? We have al­ter­na­tives, one for one, or maybe we change our for­ma­tion. “The sit­u­a­tion isn’t an is­sue.” But how big a loss is Billing, whose long throw and gen­eral form have been prom­i­nent this cam­paign?

“He has per­formed at a very, very high level and con­sis­tently,” said Wag­ner, who has Lowe avail­able again af­ter in­jury.

“He has made big steps this sea­son since we re­turned for pre-sea­son and been very consistent. Phil has re­ally started to get more ex­pe­ri­ence and ma­ture into his game, but now he is sus­pended.

“We will deal with this sit­u­a­tion.” WHILE Town are be­ing writ­ten off by most pun­dits at Arse­nal, David Wag­ner has stressed the im­por­tance of tak­ing points off the top six clubs this sea­son.

Last year, Town beat Manch­ester United and took points off both MARK HUD­SON says Town are full of be­lief they can pick up the points which will guar­an­tee Premier League sur­vival.

The for­mer club cap­tain, now 36 and coach of the Town U19 side, says ev­ery­one at the John Smith’s Sta­dium is buy­ing into do­ing things the club’s own way.

Town are fourth from bot­tom of the Premier League ta­ble as they head to Arse­nal and Hud­son – who has now passed his A-Li­cence in coach­ing – says the se­nior side un­der David Wag­ner will keep chip­ping Manch­ester City and Chelsea as they fin­ished fifth from bot­tom of the Premier League, four points above the drop zone.

Wag­ner says he, per­son­ally, feels no ex­tra pres­sure play­ing the ‘big six’ clubs and sees them as an op­por­tu­nity, just like ev­ery other game.

“I said this last sea­son, and I still away on the points front. “This sea­son, for us, it has been quite a tough start, I think we all ex­pected that in our sec­ond sea­son,” said Hud­son.

“The teams have played against us and know a lit­tle bit more about us than be­fore, and the pres­sure’s come with what we did last year and the ex­pec­ta­tion level per­haps height­ens a lit­tle bit.

“We’ve felt like we’ve com­peted in most of the games and that’s the main thing we ask for.”

Town picked up seven points from nine in Novem­ber, lead­ing to boss Wag­ner be­ing nom­i­nated in the Premier League Man­ager of the think you have to col­lect some points off the top six, in the 12 games you play,” said Wag­ner, who is with­out sus­pended duo Phil Billing and striker Steve Mounie at the Emi­rates.

“You have to col­lect points off them if you are a team that fights to stay in this Premier League.

“This is very im­por­tant.

“We haven’t done it so far this sea­son, but we have an­other op­por­tu­nity on Satur­day.

“It is a dif­fi­cult task, and I feel more dif­fi­cult this sea­son than last sea­son.

“But this has to be your task and it has to be the tar­get.”

Arse­nal are un­beaten in 20 matches while Town have lost their last two af­ter pick­ing up seven points from nine dur­ing a great run in Novem­ber. Chris Lowe is fit again

You have to col­lect some points off the top six if you want to stay up

Month awards, and Hud­son says Town are fo­cused, know­ing what they can achieve. “With­out look­ing to man­age ex­pec­ta­tion, we all went into the sec­ond sea­son with the same at­ti­tude we went into the first – know­ing what was wait­ing for us in and back in the Town trav­el­ling party – a piece of good news af­ter the in­jury blow to Ab­del­hamid Sabiri, who will be out for two months af­ter surgery to a bro­ken col­lar­bone. “The top six are show­ing more qual­ity, strength and con­sis­tency this sea­son,” added Wag­ner, who is among the nom­i­nees for the Novem­ber Premier League Man­ager of the Month award. “In our games this sea­son, per­for­mance wise, we were closer than last sea­son, even if there is still a gap. “I am not a stats freak, but I have the feel­ing it is more dif­fi­cult to col­lect points off the top six this sea­son so far. “In the ‘sep­a­rate sea­son’ you are play­ing against the top six, how­ever, it has to be your tar­get to get some points if you want to stay up.” the tough­est league, in my opin­ion, in the world,” he said.

“Then, not hav­ing as good a start as last year, we knew we had to stick by what we do and know­ing that we’ve been here, got a lit­tle bit of ex­pe­ri­ence be­hind us and that we can call on that when we need to – and then we will pick up the points that we all think we can.

“We know there will be times in the sea­son where we won’t pick up points, as was the case last year.

“But we now know we can come through that and then go on runs where we get points. That’s what we are try­ing to get and we all be­lieve in that, which is great.”

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