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18 June 2020

Town Manager previews first game back after Sky Bet Championship restart

- Danny Cowley looks ahead to the visit of Wigan Athletic
- Town Manager happy with his squad’s preparation
- Danny: “They’re all champing at the bit to contribute”

Huddersfield Town Manager Danny Cowley insists he is pleased with where his squad is at ahead of the Terriers’ return to action against Wigan Athletic on Saturday 20 June 2020; 3pm kick-off.

Town’s Sky Bet Championship campaign gets back underway with Saturday’s visit of Wigan to the John Smith’s Stadium, the Club’s first game for over three months, following the season’s temporary suspension due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Danny, who has seen his side play friendly matches against Sheffield United, Hull City and Middlesbrough in an attempt to regain match fitness ahead of the restart, has been pleased with the squad’s preparation both in those games, and on the training pitch, ahead of Saturday’s return fixture.

Speaking to the media via video conference on Wednesday afternoon, Town’s Manager addressed the status of his squad, insisting that his players will have to be ready to make that hard work count when it really matters, starting on Saturday.

“We’re in a pretty good place with the group. We’ve been really aggressive with our training which is what we wanted to do, we want to hit the ground running”, he said.

“We’ve tried to make them as resilient and robust as we can, and we’re pleased with where we’re at. But it’s one thing to be fit and strong on the training pitch, it’s another thing to take that into the games.

“It’s also great that there’s now 20 players in a match day squad and 16 that can potentially get on the pitch, so it makes sense to try and be aggressive with our substitutes.

“We’ve worked really hard to get a big squad, fit, competitive, and ready to play. We’ve managed to do that, and they’re all champing at the bit to try and contribute.”

Bigger squad sizes and more substitutions are just a couple of the things that will be different for Town’s Manager and his players on a match day over the coming weeks.

Another big difference will be playing in empty stadiums. Having seen it happen in other leagues around the world already since the various restarts, Danny has acknowledged the importance of Town creating their own atmosphere on the pitch during games.

“It will be different without supporters. There’s a requirement and a responsibility for us always to be self-motivated, but particularly in this circumstance, we have to drive our own energy and create our own atmosphere.

“We trained at the Stadium on Wednesday, which was really good just to give us an opportunity to familiarise ourselves again with it and really feel what it was like.

“We’re desperately keen to put some smiles on the faces of the Huddersfield Town supporters. I know that we can’t see them live which upsets us, but we know they’ll be watching, shouting at their television screens or their laptops, and they’ll be right behind us.

“We know how important these games are for this Football Club and for our wonderful supporters and that’s right at the forefront of our minds for sure.”

Danny will be hoping to put an immediate smile on the faces of the Town supporters watching from home during Saturday’s visit of Wigan Athletic to West Yorkshire.

Paul Cook’s side are currently a point behind the Terriers in the Sky Bet Championship table, with Town’s Manager well aware of the threat the Latics can pose.

“Wigan were on an excellent run of form post-Christmas really. They’ve had some wonderful results, beat West Brom away, beat Leeds away.

“They have a really nice balance to their team, it’s no surprise to me that they’ve been on the run that they have.

“We’re under no illusions how tough Saturday will be. We’re expecting a really difficult game, but we’re well prepared and it’s one that we aim to attack positively.”

Prior to the season’s suspension, Town had also put together some promising results, including three wins in the last four at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Despite that momentum building on the pitch, Danny feels that the time away from competitive action has been a positive for the Terriers and is eyeing a more consistent return from the players over the next five weeks.

“We feel that the time has benefited us, we’re feeling really positive off the back of the break,” he said.

“With the nature of the Championship, the games come so thick and fast, so in-season you feel you’ve never really got the time to embed some principles, and that’s what we’ve been able to do during this time.

“We did think our form was improving, but we’re still looking for more consistency than what we had. We’re hoping to continue building on that form we had and find a bit more consistency with it.”

Danny Cowley's pre-match press conferences are sponsored by DBA Solutions!

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