The main thing that comes to mind when I think of Huddersfield is that it’s where former Labour prime minister Harold Wilson hailed from.
Indeed, I’m reliably informed that there’s a statue of the leader who promised to bring to bear the “white heat of a technological revolution” outside Huddersfield train station.
I wonder if he’ll be bedecked in a red and white scarf or flag this midweek?
Looking to keep the red flag flying high on the pitch, Sunderland will come into this game having stopped the recent rot which had been setting in.
A respectable away draw at Luton should hopefully take the pressure of the team a bit after some poor results in the last few weeks.
I’m hopeful, as Elliot Embleton agreed in an interview this week, that Jack Clarke’s absence through suspension might be offset by greater involvement for Ellis Simms as he returns gradually from injury.
Meanwhile, some of our young guns who took a while to settle in, like Amad and Edouard Michut, are starting to realise their promise. They’ll have ups and downs like all young players do, but they can only be a useful addition to a squad which we have all been saying has far more quality than our form might suggest.
Looking at the table, we may be 16th but there are still encouraging signs. Of the 9 teams directly above us, we have played 7 of them so far this season. In those games, we’ve lost a grand total of 0 games, having beaten Bristol City, Rotherham and Reading and drawn with the other 4 teams.
The majority of our defeats have come against teams like Swansea, Norwich and Sheffield United, who are all in the playoffs. And even in those games, we were competitive.
Given that we have played a large number of games up until now without many of our best players, I’m pretty confident that we can drive back up the table in time.
So, back to Huddersfield. They’re in the relegation zone, having already pushed the big red button and sacked their manager this season. This change of management has brought inspiring results like a 0-0 draw with our struggling neighbours on Teesside. They have won 2 of their last 5 games, but it’s hardly form that has me quaking in my boots.
The only game I’ve ever been to at the wonderfully named John Smith’s Stadium was a 2013 cup tie with Wigan, who knocked the Terriers out en route to their famous FA Cup triumph that season.
It was bloody freezing, and the home fans I was sat among were less than warmed by the glee emanating from the horde of Wigan fans who witnessed a 4-1 demolition job, masterminded by Callum McMananan. Remember him?
I think it’s a fun looking stadium, despite its open corners, and it’s one of the easier away trips to do on a midweek in November. Plus, it can’t be much worse than the last such trip, to Blackburn, where we suffered a frustrating, arguably unfair, defeat and lost Aji Alese to injury.
As a result, it’s all aboard the optimism express for me, next stop Huddersfield. A big away following for a short trip to face a struggling side, under the lights, having shown in our last game that we aren’t such a strikerless basketcase after all.
What could possibly go wrong?