Terriers boss Wagner talks SIXTH SENSE
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.”