New-boys Huddersfield Town are next under the VitalWatford microscope
AFTER SEVERAL yeas of coming agonizing close, the 2011-12 season finally saw Huddersfield Town reach the promised land of the Championship.
Talented young manager Lee Clark lost his job during the course of the season but former Leeds United and Blackpool manager Simon Grayson was on hand to pick up the pieces and guide the Terriers up through the Play-Off’s.
Much of Town’s success this season will depend on how last season’s 38-goal top scorer Jordan Rhodes adapts to life in the second-tier. Prolific in League One, the former Ipswich Town forward has never played regular second-tier football.
Strengths: A good balance between youth and experience.
Like any successful side, Huddersfield have struck the balance just right between hungry young players and experienced campaigners who will guide the youngsters through the club’s first season back at this level.
The summer signings have continued to reflect that trend with experienced Championship pro’s Keith Southern and Joel Lynch signing alongside prospects such as Oliver Norwood and Paul Dixon.
Weakness’: Too many draws.
With just seven losses last season – better than both automatically promoted clubs, Huddersfield’s 18 draws in the league let them down. If they had have converted a few of those one-pointers into three point hauls, they’d have gone up automatically. They will need to make sure not to make the same mistakes twice in order to stay up.
Best business so far: Persuading former Leeds United midfielder Adam Clayton to sign.
The former Manchester City trainee had two excellent seasons at Elland Road after former boss Grayson signed him, however he was clearly not Neil Warnock’s cup of tea and was transfer listed at the end of the season.
The 23 year-old made 48 appearances during his two years at Elland Road, scoring six goals from the centre of the park. Aggressive and creative, the Manchester-born midfielder should walk into the Terriers’ midfield.
Star man: Rhodes – who else?
The forward is highly sought-after and could well depart the Galpharm before the season starts, but after 71 goals in 122 appearances for the Yorkshire outfit, it’s hardly surprising. Let go by Ipswich in 2009, Rhodes will go down as one of the best pieces of business in the club’s recent history.
In: Sean Scannell (Crystal Palace) undisc, Paul Dixon (Dundee United) free, Oliver Norwood (Manchester United) undisc, Adam Clayton (Leeds United) undsic, Joel Lynch (Nottingham Forest) undisc & Keith Southern (Blackpool) undisc.
Out: Greg Pearson & Simon Thomas (both released), Gary Roberts (Swindon Town) free, Danny Cadamarteri (Dundee United) free, Tommy Miller (Swindon Town) free, Nathan Clarke (Leyton Orient) free, Aiden Chippendale (Accrington Stanley) free & Gary Naysmith (Aberdeen) free.
wfc123: I don’t think any of the promoted sides will do as well as last year, but Huddersfield should stay up, if not kick on higher, especially if they keep hold of Rhodes. Grayson knows how the make the transition from League One to the Championship and that’s crucial.
chrisgwfc: Have a feeling they will do best out of all the promoted clubs. Managed to keep hold of Rhodes so far and have other excellent young players like Smithies, Hunt and Ward. Been very impressive in the transfer market too picking up experienced Championship players Keith Southern, Sean Scannell, Adam Clayton and Joel Lynch. Possible top half finish.