SIMON GRAYSON believes Danny Ward has the ability to make a real impact in the npower Championship.
The 21-year-old wideman was a match-winner last time Huddersfield Town played Brighton in the historic last game at the Withdean Stadium back in April 2011.
Now he’s pushing for a return to the starting side as the Seagulls arrive for today’s clash at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Ward, whose goal against Gus Poyet’s side was one of four in 10 loan games which helped earn him a permanent move from Bolton, impressed from the bench at Barnsley last Saturday. “He grasped the opportunity to make an impact,” said manager Simon Grayson (inset), whose sixth-placed side aim to build on their 1-0 derby win at Oakwell.
“Danny has been working extremely hard on his fitness and his technique and he is reaping the rewards, starting to realise he can be a good Championship player.
“He has been unfortunate to be out of the starting side recently, but when he’s come on he has affected the game, which is great to see.”
Bradford-based Ward, who featured in Town’s League I play-off final meeting with Sheffield United last season, has made 16 appearances, 11 of them starts, this term.
Grayson also praised left-back Paul Dixon, who won his third Scotland cap in Wednesday’s 1-0 friendly win in Luxembourg.
The former Dundee United man is in line for a 14th start against eighth-placed Brighton, who hope to have ex-England defender Wayne Bridge back after a calf injury.
“Paul came with a good reputation and is adapting well to the game down here,” said Grayson of his 25-year-old summer signing.
“We took him out of the starting side a couple of weeks ago, when Calum Woods came in and did well.
“But Paul returned and did what we wanted him to do. There are things he needs to work on, but he wants to learn and get better.”
Alex Smithies looks ahead – see Pages 46 & 47