Rajiv van La Parra banishes Elland Road memories

Sky Bet Championship - Huddersfield Town (2) v Hull City (2) - Rajiv Van La Parra.

While Town fans celebrated a fantastic 4-1 win at Leeds just prior to the international break, it was a chastening day for Rajiv van la Parra.

Handed his Terriers debut after making the switch from Wolves (initially on loan), he struggled to make any kind of impact and was withdrawn at half time.

Taken out of the spotlight against Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough, he made his home debut against Hull and left fans salivating about what they can expect from the Dutch winger once he has his feet properly under the table.

He was sparkling down the left side and left his opposite number repeatedly chasing shadows as he skipped into space.

Always positive going forward, he was also diligent and energetic in helping Town win the ball back in defensive areas.

Withdrawn for fitness reasons, Town missed his attacking outlet for the final 15 minutes, and the latest signing promises to provide an exciting spark based on this evidence.

Loan stars shine as summer approaches

Sky Bet Championship - Huddersfield Town (2) v Hull City (2) - Jamie Paterson.

van La Parra wasn’t the only loanee to catch the eye against the Tigers, however.

Jamie Paterson scored the first goal with a brilliant finish to an attractive move, and he was bright throughout with some excellent link-up play.

In a deeper role, Emyr Huws was another top performer, working tirelessly in the midfield engine room and helping Town hold onto the ball with a crisp range of passing.

James Husband, who will now return to Boro on the conclusion of his loan, will be missed at left back but it is the other loanees that will be occupying Wagner’s mind now.

With summer approaching, he has tied down van La Parra to a permanent deal but has decisions to make on the others.

And while their impact is to be treasured, it isn’t ideal for the long term if two of the stars of the show aren’t (yet) set to have a peg in the dressing room next term.

David Wagner adapts his style

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Town’s manager is famous for his reticence in discussing the opposition in his pre-match briefings, preferring to focus on his own team and their style and identity.

Yet here was evidence he does do his due diligence, scout the upcoming teams and change his gameplan where necessary.

Against Hull, Town recorded 38% possession, an astonishingly low number under a boss who values a passing style.

But Wagner revealed afterwards he had set out to play on the counterattack, with pace on the wings and quick transition from front to back troubling quality opposition.

And it was quite the success as well - Town were excellent for long periods.

Has Wagner hit on a strategy for containing the top promotion-chasers ready for 2016/17?

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Mixed feelings at final whistle indicates new ambition

Opinion was divided at full time - while most would have taken a point if offered ahead of the game, it’s difficult not to be left with lingering feelings of frustration when only a stoppage time equaliser denies victory.

And yet, while it was an important point for Town, that disappointment indicated better things to come.

Town were competitive against a team still containing the core of the squad that played their football in the Premier League last term, and Wagner has instilled a belief in the players and the fanbase that they should be looking up the table rather than down at the relegation places.

Defeat for MK Dons coupled with that result for Town all but guarantees Championship football in Huddersfield next term, and the story now becomes what this manager and this team, with a few summer alterations, can do in a full season together.

Time for a Huws and Billing midfield combination

Sky Bet Championship - Huddersfield Town (2) v Hull City (2) - Emyr Huws.

Five games remain before the summer break, and with relegation fears now fading into the distance, there is some room for David Wagner to start experimenting with one eye on 2016/17.

He insisted in his post-match press conference he remains professional and wants to win every game, but this is a man who prizes youth development and long term planning.

Husband’s departure could open the door for Jack Senior to challenge Jason Davidson at left back for the rest of the current campaign, while the midfield also retains an air of interest.

Philip Billing, a revelation this term, stayed on the bench on Saturday while Huws shone - but is there an opportunity for them to play together rather than compete for a place?

Whitehead is one of the senior members of the squad and his experienced head is vital against the top teams, but it would be interesting to find room for a younger, more dynamic pair in one of the remaining fixtures.