Dogged Terriers look capable of tearing struggling Wigan apart
Huddersfield can bounce back in style
Sky Sports 1, 7.45pm
Huddersfield’s early-season fizz has just gone flat in recent weeks but they can return to winning ways against Wigan at the John Smith’s Stadium.
The Terriers topped the Sky Bet Championship in the early part of the campaign, but they have collected only four points from the last 18 available with last week’s 3-2 loss at Cardiff Huddersfield’s third consecutive defeat on their travels.
David Wagner’s men have, however, won six of their eight at home and no visiting side has scored more than once at Huddersfield this term, so Town will be delighted to get playing again in front of their own fans.
Defending set-pieces has been a massive problem in recent weeks and Wagner changed to a 3-4-2-1 formation at Cardiff in an attempt to deal with the Bluebirds’ physical approach – a plan which clearly failed.
A return to their normal formation looks on the cards and Huddersfield’s high-pressing game should be at its best with Wagner having had well over a week to get his squad back to full speed, which is not always the case in the action-packed Championship.
Huddersfield's Jack Payne is doubtful and Harry Bunn is unlikely to return. Joe Lolley is definitely ruled out.
Wigan goalkeeper Adam Bogdan is out with a serious knee injury and Nick Powell is also sidelined, while Craig Morgan and Shaun MacDonald are suspended. Will Grigg and Dan Burn need to be assessed after suffering from illness.
Even when Huddersfield were victorious their performances were not in keeping with a promotion-winning side, but they may not need to be a top-six outfit to get the job done against a Wigan team who have struggled since going up from Sky Bet League One.
Gary Caldwell has already been sacked and the Latics have won just three times all season, while Wigan have scored once in their last five away trips.
Wigan have not scored home or away in four games and new manager Warren Joyce, who arrived from Manchester United’s Under-21 side, used extremely defensive tactics in last week’s goalless stalemate at Barnsley in response to a debut 3-0 home loss to Reading.
All nine of Huddersfield’s league wins this season have been by one goal
Joyce parked the bus at Oakwell and defender Jake Buxton said: “We didn’t really get out of our half in the second half.” Nick Powell was used as a nominal forward and when he went off injured he was replaced by left-back Luke Garbutt.
It remains to be seen how Joyce plays it at Huddersfield but this, in theory at least, is a much more difficult contest so it would be a surprise if he was overly bold, particularly as illness swept through the camp at the end of last week.
Injury and suspensions are also taking their toll with Craig Morgan and Shaun MacDonald banned and 41-year-old Jussi Jaaskelainen taking over the gloves with first-choice goalkeeper Adam Bogdan crocked for the season.
Huddersfield may even be able to win by more than one goal for the first time this term.
1pt Evs general