Huddersfield Town moved to within four points of the top two in the Championship last night with victory over promotion rivals Reading. The deciding goal of the game came from Philip Billing in the final ten minutes of the game.
Alongside Leeds, Huddersfield have been this seasons surprise package in the second tier. This has been down to an accumulation of factors but the main reason for their change in fortunes has been David Wagner and the impact that he has had on the West Yorkshire outfit.
The emphasis that he places on teamwork and player fitness has meant that his side are arguably the fittest in the league and their high-octane style is capable of causing problems for any opponent at this level.
Their free-flowing football has been one of the highlights of this Championship season so far and they have regularly been one of the most enjoyable sides to watch in the league.
Town’s manager David Wagner has used his knowledge of the leagues in Europe to make some inspired signings for the club so far. On-loan Chelsea starlets Izzy Brown and Kasey Palmer have shone alongside Elias Kachunga who arrived from FC Ingolstadt 04 on loan.
The astute loan signing of Aaron Mooy has proved a success with his ability to maintain possession while keeping the ball flowing has seen him dictate a number of games this year. Michael Hefele, Christopher Schindler and Chris Löwe are other examples of foreign players who have arrived in the summer that have been integral to Huddersfield’s impressive performances this term.
The Terrier’s success is all the more impressive when you consider their limited budget in comparison to their rivals, especially Newcastle United and Sheffield Wednesday, which highlights further just how brilliant Wagner and his side have been this season.
It comes as no surprise that at times throughout this season and inevitably in the summer that Huddersfield will receive interest in both their manager and a number of their key players.
It is vital – whether they go up or not – that they manage to keep most if not all of their squad together for the next season. But it is clearly as important that David Wagner is not prised away from the club, who’s acclaim has risen more as the season has gone on.
If it was not for the extraordinary turnaround at Leeds under Gary Monk, David Wagner would be the runaway contender to win the Manager of the Year accolade at the end of the campaign. He has managed to overhaul the structure and playing ideology of the club in such a short time, while also reaping the benefits on the pitch which is exceptional to say the least.
What we have to ponder on now is whether or not Huddersfield can continue with their current form and finish above one of Brighton or Newcastle come the end of the season to earn an automatic promotion place.
Considering the position they were in last season in the lower echelons of the league, even making the play-offs never mind earning a place in the top two would be a remarkable achievement for all involved at Huddersfield.
Brighton and Newcastle on paper are the two best teams in the league in my opinion, with a wealth of quality to their disposal in various positions.
But what Huddersfield have in abundance is heart and team spirit which will take them a long way in the Championship run-in. Wherever Huddersfield do end up finishing, this will still be seen as an astounding season for David Wagner’s side.
Each and everyone associated with the club deserve all of the credit that they are getting for what they have achieved so far and in the ever unpredictable Championship, there may still be a lot more to come.