HUDDERSFIELD TOWN are rightly being lauded for the quality of their performances this season.
They’ve been effective and entertaining in equal measure and the results have been better than even the most optimistic fan dared have hoped.
In fact, Simon Grayson’s side were desperately unlucky to suffer what has been their only defeat so far at Cardiff in the opening game, when they were much the better side but fell to a last-minute goal.
Since then, they have put together an unbeaten run of six matches and they go into today’s John Smith’s Stadium clash with Watford looking for a fourth successive win to stay second in the Championship.
It won’t be easy, that’s the only thing which we’ve already learned about this level, but Town could hardly be in better shape as they prepare to take on Gianfranco Zola’s fifth-bottom travellers.
The way in which Town squeezed the life out of promotion favourites Blackpool the other night was impressive indeed.
Grayson’s game plan at Bloomfield Road worked to perfection, and this against a side who have had plenty of success themselves in recent years.
Remember, the week before Town enjoyed play-off success against Sheffield United at Wembley just four months ago, Blackpool had been at the national stadium themselves trying to win back a place in the Premier League against West Ham.
From the first minute, Town put pressure on the Blackpool players in possession, gave them no time to settle and then attacked with menace from what Grayson described as a “narrow” midfield set-up.
Ian Holloway’s side were forced to knock it long and the headers were mopped up by Peter Clarke and Anthony Gerrard, who made an impressive debut for the suspended Joel Lynch (who also misses today and Tuesday’s home meeting with Leicester City).
It enabled the midfield to pick up the pieces, be creatively busy and release the threat of strikers Lee Novak and James Vaughan, who both found the net and made the Blackpool backline look very flat-footed at times.
They were points picked up by Sky pundits Peter Beagrie and guest Jordan Rhodes in the pitchside studio.
Rhodes – who must have heard the Town fans singing ‘Jordan, Jordan, what have you done?’, questioning his decision to join Blackburn Rovers – said he didn’t know if it was his former side’s best performance of the season, but added: “They were terrific in the way they set up and their discipline in certain areas of the field.