CURRENT connections between Huddersfield Town and Leeds United are strong.
Both management teams are up against their old clubs on Saturday lunchtime at the John Smith’s Stadium.
And Town have former Elland Road players Adam Clayton and Jermaine Beckford (on loan from Leicester) in their squad against a Leeds side who can leapfrog Town in the Championship standings with a win.
Leeds haven’t won in Huddersfield, however, in 11 attempts spanning almost 50 years!
Their last win here was in the old Second Division in October 1963, when they went home with a 2-0 win.
Leeds’ management team at the moment includes three men who are all heroes in this neck of the woods.
Manager NEIL WARNOCK was boss of Town for two seasons from 1993-95 and carved his place in club folklore with two trips to Wembley – their first for 56 years – and promotion through the play-offs.
Warnock is now 63 and still speaks fondly of his time at Leeds Road and the stadium – he was linked with a return before Simon Grayson’s appointment – but he is a born winner and will not want to go away empty handed on Saturday.
His coach from those days, MICK JONES, is with him at Elland Road and has been scouting at several Town matches this season.
Jones, 65, a previous manager of Halifax Town among others, played a big part in Warnock’s successes in Huddersfield.
So too did RONNIE JEPSON, who is now 49. Jeppo, of course, led the attack with Andy Booth in that promotion season – the pair of them becoming the only Town players since the glory days of the 1920s to each scored 20 League goals in the same season.
Jepson totalled 36 goals in his 107 appearances in Town colours, which included the Wembley play-off final triumph against Bristol Rovers.
He returned to Town as coach with manager Stan Ternent in 2008 but left along with the rest of that management team just six months later as chairman Dean Hoyle heralded the ‘new era’.
Town’s management team, of course, have very recent Leeds United history, as SIMON GRAYSON was boss there until February 1 this year.
Grayson, 42, began his playing career with the club as a youth from 1984-88 and had a pro contract (with the club he has always supported) until 1992 when he left for Leicester City.
His four-year tenure at the club included promotion from League I and a much-loved 1-0 FA Cup victory at Manchester United, when Beckford was the scorer.
Town coach GLYNN SNODIN (inset) was a Leeds player from 1987-92, playing 94 times and scoring 10 goals, and he returned to Elland Road as assistant manager to Grayson in 2009.
Fellow coach IAN MILLER was already there, having joined in 2008 after coaching spells at Bury, Blackpool, Manchester City, Leicester and Blackburn Rovers, where he made 268 appearances as a player from 1981-89.
Town’s playing connections are also recent, most notably ADAM CLAYTON, who joined Town in a £400,000 deal from Leeds in the summer.
Clayton had a loan spell from Manchester City (two games) before being signed by Grayson for Leeds and making a further 45 appearances (six goals) from 2010 to this year. He has made 18 appearances for Town, scoring three goals, but lost his ever-present record through suspension in Tuesday’s defeat at Middlesbrough.
On-loan Leicester striker JERMAINE BECKFORD is a Leeds hero, having netted 72 goals in 126 games in the all-white strip. He moved on to Everton two years ago and then to Leicester. He has three goals in six appearances for Town and is hoping to return from injury to face his old club.