What to expect from Huddersfield Town’s next Sky Bet Championship opponents
- Huddersfield Town vs Sunderland
- Wednesday 14 February 2024; 7.45pm
- Comprehensive look ahead at Sunderland
Goals from Michał Helik and Delano Burgzorg handed Huddersfield Town all three points in the reverse at the Stadium of Light in November 2023, with the Terriers looking to do the double over the side from the North East.
Both sides have enjoyed the better of each other away from home in their last four meetings, with neither side winning at home since Sunderland in 1999. Town have enjoyed two wins and a draw at the Stadium of Light, with the Black Cats seeing off the Terriers by two goals to nil at the John Smith’s Stadium in November 2022.
Seventh placed Sunderland made the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Semi-Finals last season at the first time of asking having been promoted from Sky Bet League One the summer prior. Beaten by eventual Play-Off winners Luton Town, former Head Coach Tony Mowbray remained at the club until his eventual dismissal on 4 December 2023.
Level on points with sixth placed Coventry City, the Black Cats have been propelled on by excellent home form, winning 10 and losing six of their games in the North East. Only winning four times away from home, they have drawn five times on the road and lost six, amassing 47 points to date.
THEIR HEAD COACH
43-year-old Beale began coaching in his early twenties after calling time on his playing career after being released by Charlton Atheltic and trials with FC Twente in the Netherlands.
A youth coach with Chelsea before moving to Liverpool, his next step was into Brazilian football. Briefly returning to Melwood, he was soon added to Steven Gerrard’s backroom staff at Rangers, then following the Liverpudlian to Aston Villa.
Becoming a coach in his own right in 2022, Beale took the reigns at Queens Park Rangers but only remained in West London for 22 games before returning to Rangers as head coach. Dismissed by the Scottish giants despite 31 wins in 43 games, it was only a couple of months before he found himself installed at a new club, with Sunderland the destination in December 2023.
LAST TIME OUT
Despite going into half time a goal down to Plymouth Argyle at the Stadium of Light, three goals after the break from Ekwah, Clarke and Bellingham gave Sunderland an important 3-1 home win.
Enjoying 67% of the ball with more shots and shots on target, the win took Sunderland within touching distance of the Play Off places in the Sky Bet Championship, with the Black Cats undefeated in their previous three outings.
Previous Starting XI: Patterson; Hume, Ballard, O’Nien, Hjelde; Neil; Roberts, Ekwah, Ba, Clarke; Rusyn (4-1-4-1)
In the nine Sky Bet Championship outings since Beale joined Sunderland, the side have lined up in three different systems: 4-1-4-1, 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2, the latter of which they’ve done just once.
Depending on opposition, Beale has rotated between one holding midfielder or two, using the opportunity to push an extra body into attacking midfield on four occasions, including all three of their previous outings.
With plenty of pace in wide areas, Sunderland share the burden of scoring between the wings and midfield with none of their six highest scorers an out and out centre forward.
WHO TO WATCH
Defensive midfielder Ekwah joined Sunderland from West Ham in January 2023 on a long-term deal. A youth international for France, Ekwah has played 27 times this campaign, either as the loan holding player or alongside a second midfielder. Contributing four goals and assisting one more, the midfielder carries the ball and drives forward confidently, giving his side an extra body in the final third when they look to overload and overwhelm defences.
Three goals and four assists in 30 appearances for Ba this season has given the 20-year-old winger his most consistent run in the side since arriving from French side Le Havre in 2022. Another young French youth international on Sunderland’s books, he has played most often from the right wing, cutting inside and giving his side an extra body in the box from crosses and on the break. Comfortable swapping along the attacking line, it isn’t uncommon to see Ba switch into other positions in the final third for periods within the game.
Having been a central to Sunderland’s promotion from Sky Bet League One while on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, the Black Cats made the move permanent in a reported multi-million pound permanent transfer that summer. Fourteen goals and four assists for Clarke makes his their most influential attacking outlet by some distance, with his ability to drift inside from the left wing onto his stronger right boot a common feature of their play. Quick and direct, stopping Clarke goes a long way to stopping Sunderland.
TOWN TEAM NEWS
Huddersfield Town Caretaker Manager Jon Worthington will speak with the assorted media at the Millers Oils High Performance Complex from 1.30pm this afternoon.
Preceded by central defender Tom Lees, supporters can watch the full conference live on HTTV via YouTube from 1pm.
Once broadcast, it will remain available in full to watch back at your connivance below.
Back home in HD1 after a long trip away to St. Mary’s to face Southampton, the Terriers will be back in blue and white at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Still available in all sizes, CLICK HERE to get your own today!
Kicking off at 7.45pm on Wednesday 14 February, supporters will have both Video and Audio Match Passes to choose from on iFollow HTAFC.
Available to book for either £10 or £2.50, CLICK HERE to find out more about your options with iFollow HTAFC if you can’t be at the John Smith’s Stadium alongside us.