Town Manager expecting a tough game at the Riverside
- Huddersfield Town Manager Danny Cowley previews Middlesbrough game
- Cowley expecting a tough test at the Riverside on Boxing Day
- Danny gives an update on injuries ahead of the next game
Huddersfield Town Manager Danny Cowley says the hard work will continue over Christmas to prepare his team for a tough Sky Bet Championship clash at Middlesbrough on Boxing Day.
Danny steered the team to the sixth win of his 17-game tenure against Nottingham Forest on Saturday; Town’s points tally is an impressive 24 in that period.
There is undoubtedly a lot of progress that has been made under the Cowleys, but Danny admitted it has not come easily.
“I can only reflect on the 17 games since I arrived – and it’s been tough. It’s been the most challenging period of my managerial career,” he told htafc.com.
“Lots of the variables seem to have gone against us. I used to think I was a lucky Manager before I came here!
“I feel like we’re navigating through a really tough storm and, in the distance, I can see a bit of Sun. We’re going to get some players back fit, which will help us, and hopefully we can bring some more in during the January transfer window to give us some depth and balance.
“I’m proud of the way we’ve worked. It tests you at every level when things go against you, and you learn a lot about one another when you’re facing adversity. I’ve been pleased with the way we’ve come together during this period; we’ve created a bit of a siege mentality, which I like. We’ve shown that if you work hard, it doesn’t matter what goes against you; you can always find a way in life.
“I’m respectful of the fact that we still have half a season to go. We still have a lot of improving to do. If we get some continuity, I would like to think we can start to put smiles of people’s faces and put smiles back on the faces of Huddersfield Town supporters.”
Next up for the Terriers is the clash at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium and Danny is hoping to continue his historically good record on Boxing Day.
He continued: “When I was at Concord Rangers, we played Canvey Island, which felt like the biggest derby in the history of the world. There would be about 1,400 people there when we were a small club.
“When we took over, we were at step five and Canvey Island were in the Conference. They then had some financial issues and we went up the leagues. We won nine of 10 derbies against them, so we had a pretty good record there.
“At Lincoln, we beat Stevenage, but we did lose to Guiseley in our first year on the back of a run of 17 games unbeaten, which hurt; our goalkeeper let one through his hands.”
Danny, alongside brother and assistant Nicky, had a very close look at opponents Middlesbrough last week and knows further points will not come easily in the North East on Thursday afternoon.
“I think they’re a good team. They’re powerful. They were created by Tony Pulis and they have real physicality. Jonathan Woodgate has come in and tried to change the style and system, so they have two different ways of playing; they can go with more physicality and go Jonathan’s way.
“I watched them in their last game at home against Stoke. In the first half they didn’t have it all their own way, but at half-time they changed the shape and made some key substitutions and they were better in the second half. At the end, they were worthy winners and Jonathan could be pleased with the impact he made on the team in that game.
“In the first half, they played 5-4-1 with a diamond in midfield and then they reverted to a back four in the second half. They looked better with the back four, but we will have to plan and prepare for both systems.
“They will be buoyed on the back of that win and we’re expecting a really tough game.
“We had a tough, competitive 0-0 draw when we last played them; there was very little in the game. We saw two teams probably trying not to lose rather than trying to win, so we’re hoping for a more free-flowing game come Boxing Day.”
Town welcomed Jaden Brown back into the match day squad at the weekend following his seven-game absence due to an ankle problem – and Danny is hopeful he may have a couple of other players for the Boro fixture.
“It was great to have Jaden back on the pitch on Saturday; he’ll be better for that, for sure. He’d only had two days of training beforehand, so it wasn’t ideal to bring him on in that moment, but he’s such a good one-on-one defender and we felt that we needed him.
“He’s trained again in the lead-up to the Middlesbrough game. We’re in pretty much every day before Boxing Day, which is one of the small sacrifices you need to make to be involved in professional football. There aren’t many sacrifices, let me tell you, but you must come in on Christmas Day.
“We’ll be in and we’ll work as hard as we can, because we can’t have any distractions. We’ll let the rest of the world enjoy Christmas and we’ll concentrate on Middlesbrough.”
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