David looks ahead to Town's first game of 2016
- David Wagner previews Bolton game
- Head Coach updates on fitness of squad
- Wagner 'has respect' for the Trotters
It may be the first game of a New Year, but David Wagner’s targets will not have changed when his Huddersfield Town side takes on Bolton Wanderers at the Macron Stadium on Saturday.
The Head Coach has now been in charge of eight games since taking the position in early November and told htafc.com he has relished every moment at ‘The Yorkshire Club’.
“I’ve enjoyed every single moment since I joined Huddersfield Town. It’s been a very busy period and has been hard work; there’s always something new and interesting for me to learn from every day.
“The Championship is what I expected. Everybody is able to beat everybody; some teams may look better on paper, but don’t have to be when you play against them. Every game is very open and if you are able to bring the key points to your side – a save from the goalkeeper or scoring in the right moment – you can earn points against everyone. It doesn’t matter which opponent you are playing.
“If I were to make a short resume of my squad after seven weeks, it would be that I am sure this squad has very good character. So many times in those weeks they have had to show character and have done it; against Middlesbrough after conceding, after scoring so early against Birmingham, after the two set pieces against Bristol and in the second half at Brentford.”
Town go into Saturday’s game with four points from a possible six after victory over Preston North End and Monday’s draw at QPR, but Wagner says this run of form should be the norm at the Club.
“The results and performances were not perfect, but good. I accept that people can be happy with these two games, but I don’t accept that this is anything special. We always want three points from a game, so winning one isn’t something special. This is why we do the work.
“The first half on Monday showed once again what the squad can bring on the pitch, but this will not help us at all come Saturday.”
With Town training on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, Wagner says he will leave the decision on his starting XI until the last moment:
“Excluding Dean Whitehead, everyone is healthy. This is perfect in this busy period and is one of the reasons we are able to rotate the team from game to game.
“At the moment I’m not sure on the team. We only had light training for the recovery group on Tuesday, whilst the group that didn’t play on Monday had intensive training. On Wednesday we were off and now on Thursday and Friday we have training, after which I will make the decision on who is fresh for this game.
“The sentence ‘never change a winning team’ is not one I use. If I think it is the right decision to change the game, it will not depend on a positive or negative result. I always make the decision to win the upcoming game, so it isn’t interesting to me what happened in the past.
“I think everybody knows exactly what we have to do against Bolton, so we will be influenced by the week of training and the conversations I have with the players.
“The opponent is sometimes important for our decision. We will analyse the opponent and hopefully find the right spaces where we can hurt them. We want to give Bolton the biggest problem they’ve had this season and if we can do this, we will be in a good way to get the points.”
David was adamant that the Trotters should not be underestimated ahead of the weekend – but he still wants all three points.
“My expectation is exactly the same as against other opponents. We will go to Bolton and try to win this game, of course. There is no reason we have to change any way we prepare from what we did in the past.
“We know we have to work very hard and be focused to get the three points. I have very big respect for Bolton, the players and staff; if you are able to perform as they have with all the financial trouble at the Club, this is a sign of character.
“Bolton has lost as many games as us and has drawn 11. If you draw a game, you are in the same level as your opponent and this shows me how dangerous they are. I know they are at the bottom of the table, but they match the quality of their opponent to draw.
“For us, I think it is good they won the last game against Blackburn with a clean sheet; now everybody in my squad and hopefully outside knows this is a good team.
“I have respect for them, but this doesn’t change my target. When we drive to Bolton, I want to win this game. Hopefully we will have 100% focus, mentality and game-plan, because then it will not be easy against us.”
Most of all, David wants his side to perform for the 2,200 Town fans that will be at the Macron on Saturday.
He concluded: “I’m happy about this. We have lots of fans at Bolton on Saturday and the squad and I will try to show them our best.
“The feedback from the supporters is that they are happy with what they are getting from the squad in this moment, but we have to keep this going. We must show our performance and identity again and if we do, the opportunity to get points is much higher. We want to play with 100% passion at full throttle.”