Head Coach looks to another Yorkshire derby- David Wagner previews Sheffield Wednesday game
- Head Coach looks forward to test against the Owls
- Wagner gives an update on injuries
David Wagner’s Huddersfield Town returns to action on Saturday with a Sky Bet Championship Yorkshire derby at home to Sheffield Wednesday; 3pm kick-off at the John Smith’s Stadium.
The game is a second in succession against a local rival, following on from the 4-1 win at Leeds United a fortnight ago.
“It was nice to be able to enjoy the derby win, but in my opinion we have played better games than against Leeds. I know this result in the derby away was important for our supporters, but we have played better,” David told htafc.com.
“From the moment we met up again it was in the past. Nothing in football is more unimportant and uninteresting as the past.
“The only important thing in football is the present and for us that is the Sheffield Wednesday game. We are totally focused.”
Wagner did look back and clarify one detail following the match at Elland Road; the identity of Town’s next penalty taker.
“If we get a penalty on Saturday and Nahki is on the pitch, he will take the ball for sure.
“I was very happy with his reaction after he missed the penalty at Leeds. A few weeks ago we spoke about his body language after he missed some chances and he showed how strong he was at Elland Road, getting a great assist and scoring.”
On the Owls, who will arrive in West Yorkshire in the final Play-Off position, Wagner commented:
“On Saturday – and probably the two games after – we play against a really strong opponent. That gives us opportunities to show ourselves if we are able to make the next step, which is to get some points against the top six of the league. This is very exciting and important for me.
“In my opinion, the top six sides in the table right now are the best teams in the league.
“Sheffield Wednesday has several options. The team can play with (Atdhe) Nuhiu, a tall striker, and play more with long balls, like they did against us away. They can also play with speed with Forestieri and Joao. We have to be prepared for those two different ways, but we will find our plan against them.
“Everybody knows Sheffield Wednesday is a very strong side - but they are not unbeatable! We have to bring our best game in all the different areas to be able to beat them, but we will trust in ourselves and try our best.
“If we are able to give our highest performance and do the easy things right, I think it is uncomfortable against us. Like always, we have to focus on ourselves. We want to give them problems so they have to try and find solutions.”
Ahead of the game, the Head Coach gave an update on the availability of his players for selection:
“Emyr Huws was on the road with the Welsh team, but he is back with us without any issues. He will be available for Saturday.
“Both Kyle Dempsey and Jonathan Hogg are not available for Saturday – and I don’t expect either to be available for the next three games. ‘Hoggy’ is maybe a bit further along than Kyle, but we’ll know more in the next week.”
Wagner believes his charges will have benefited from the mix of rest and work they’ve had over the international break in fixtures.
“Everybody else is healthy and fit after this international break. I think we did it well, as we gave the boys a few days off and then came back with double sessions on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday before a normal schedule this week.
“Everybody was able to recharge their batteries, particularly in their minds, plus I know we have not lost any of the fitness level.”
One man in particular who will have benefited from more time on the PPG Canalside pitches is latest recruit Rajiv van La Parra – but David explained he still has some way to go to fully understand his brand of ‘full throttle’ football.
“Rajiv develops and understands our idea more day by day, but you feel it is not natural for him yet.
“We’ve worked together with the other players for five months and they do a lot of things naturally now. When the ball is in one position, they know where they should be. Rajiv sometimes has to think what he has to do and it takes one or two seconds. This is totally normal.
“We’re using the next weeks so that he isn’t a new player when we start pre-season.”
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