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Match Previews

WAGNER PREVIEWS BORO (A)

4 April 2016

David looking forward to an ‘interesting challenge’

- David Wagner previews Boro game
- Head Coach looking for more strength in attack
- Wagner hints at changes in personnel

Huddersfield Town Head Coach David Wagner is looking forward to the challenge of taking on promotion-chasing Middlesbrough at the Riverside on Tuesday evening.

Aitor Karanka’s side has the best home record in the Sky Bet Championship and Wagner is looking forward to seeing his side apply its style of ‘full throttle’ football to try and counter that.

“We got a lot right in our defence on Saturday, but now we must try to create more and be stronger in our offence,” David admitted to htafc.com.

“Our target is always the same; to bring our identity onto the pitch. If we come near our maximum, it isn’t easy against us and we have a chance to win this game.

“We know we are playing against a very strong side; the best home team in the division, which has only conceded six home goals all season. It isn’t the easiest challenge, but it is a very interesting one and we are happy to play this game. We will take this challenge and enjoy this game.

“We must be totally focussed, do the simple things well, be very compact and don’t offer spaces to a footballing team.

“If we defend strongly, this will be the basis to be successful tomorrow. Then I know we have the individual quality and the offensive idea to hurt them, but we have to be clinical in front of goal. I’m sure we will get our chances.

“If we use our first chance and get the ball in the net, this could be a very interesting game. When you have such a (good defensive) record, conceding even one goal can make you really hurt, as they’ve only conceded six goals before. This has to be our target; to make sure we hurt them.”

Despite a game of few chances for either side against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, the Head Coach backs his team to cause any opponent defensive problems:

“We’ve played against other teams with good defensive record and scored against them; Preston, for example. We created a lot of good opportunities when we played Middlesbrough at home too.

“There are not a lot of teams that have scored more goals than us.”

Key to that attacking threat is a good tempo; something David says is always needed.

“For us it is always important, as we like to be ‘full throttle’ with speed in our game.

“When you go away, maybe the opponent doesn’t expect this. Sometimes teams only want to survive when they play away, but this isn’t the style we try to play. We go to Middlesbrough trying to win the game in our style.”

Wagner says the next step for his team is to beat one of the top six and he believes mentality may be one of the big differences between the promotion-chasers and his Terriers:

“Being realistic, there is a gap between us and them at the moment – but we are working hard to close this gap as time goes by.

“Part of that gap is in mentality and really knowing that you are good and can win games. We’re bringing that mentality to the Club and developing players to think this way. That sometimes comes through experience of success, but that takes time.

“I feel that we are on a good way in our journey, as I feel the people of Huddersfield do too, but this will not happen overnight. Making this happen is absolutely up to me.”

Wagner also hinted that he will make changes to his starting XI to take on the Teesiders.

“We will make changes, for sure; more than one. We will not decide exactly what we will do until after tomorrow morning’s training session. We are training tonight as well as tomorrow morning and then we will make the final decision.

“Who is on the pitch tomorrow isn’t the most important thing; it’s about how the team does on the pitch.”

One man who will not play is left back James Husband, who cannot feature against his parent club.

David continued: “He will be involved with us at the weekend and then he has to go back to Middlesbrough, as his 93 days with us have finished. He has helped us and hopefully he can until the end of the week.”

Wagner finished by revealing some good news about the injured Jonathan Hogg and Kyle Dempsey:

“Kyle Dempsey and Jonathan Hogg will be involved in training tonight for the first time. They will not be involved against Middlesbrough tomorrow, but this is earlier than we expected. I would praise my medical staff and the players as well.

“If they stay healthy, they can help us in the busy week that starts with Blackburn.”

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