New signings, defensive responsibilities and the power of three all feature as we examine five things to look out for ahead of Huddersfield Town's trip to Preston...


The impact of deadline day

Elvis Manu in training with Huddersfield Town


Although Town were not as active as some of their competitors, and didn't strengthen as much as many fans would have argued for, David Wagner did bring in extra competition for the attacking berths in the shape of Elvis Manu.

On loan from Brighton, the Dutchman's ideal position is on the left wing but he says he's happy to play anywhere after his "unsuccessful marriage" with the Seagulls. Is he ready to start? David Wagner's desire to mould his charges to his system would suggest not, with Manu only in Yorkshire since Tuesday, while it would also raise the question of who drops out.

Assuming Nahki Wells keeps his place, Harry Bunn has scored in consecutive matches for the first time in his professional career, Jamie Paterson is fine form, Joe Lolley is due to return from illness and Karim Matmour is pushing hard for a place.

The other move was to bring back Jordy Hiwula, and although his impact is likely to come from the bench it gives Wagner a genuine striker to bring on when chasing a goal - a most welcome fillip for Wells, who can either get some welcome rest or see a frontman played alongside him rather than being paired with a central defender (as at Brighton, when Hudson was thrown up front late on).

Three is the magic number

Sky Bet Championship - Huddersfield Town v Preston North End - Tommy Smith and Jonathan Hogg congratulate Nahki Wells on opening the scoring.


A strange quirk of Town's recent meetings with Preston North End is the fact that over the last five games, the Terriers have either scored three times or not at all. Town have won 3-1 twice, including on Boxing Day, but have failed to score in the other three.

Scoring three past Simon Grayson's well-drilled back line may be a tall order, but may be required if Town are to secure a welcome third double of the campaign.

Following wins home and away against both Bolton Wanderers and Charlton Athletic, Wagner has a chance to make it a hattrick in the first game of February.

Last time the team travelled over the Pennines, to the Macron Stadium on 2 January, the second half performance on the field and in the stands was superb. A similar display will leave Town in an excellent position to arrest a three game losing streak.



All eyes on the defence

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David Wagner's decision to recall Jordy Hiwula from Wigan Athletic suggests the manager agrees that Town need additional firepower up top, but it's at the other end of the field that has been cause for recent concern.

In the last three games, Town have let in ten goals, and the defence has conceded at least twice in four of the last six games. Points will always be hard to come by in this division if you leave yourself needing to strike three times to collect three points, so Town have got to tighten up at the back.

Although Preston aren't famed for their goalscoring prowess this season, they've scored in each of their last seven Championship clashes on home turf, so a clean sheet is far from guaranteed on Saturday afternoon.

Although Town will welcome back Tommy Smith from suspension, Mark Hudson is missing for the second game of his ban, while Joel Lynch has nine bookings and one more yellow card will see him suffer the same punishment as the skipper.

Town defend and attack as a team under David Wagner, but it is the back line that will be under the microscope at Deepdale in the quest for a first win in four matches.



The left back dilemma takes a new twist


Sky Bet Championship - Huddersfield Town (2) v Cardiff City (3) - James Husband in Save Our A&E top.


Speaking of defensive issues, the left back slot continues to be a talking point. Jason Davidson won back his place after the departure of loan sensation Ben Chilwell, but has struggled in recent games and there have been calls from the terraces for a change.

James Husband, on loan from Middlesbrough, arrived with high praise from our colleagues on Teesside but hasn't had much joy under Wagner so far. Will that change this weekend?

Any decision about the starting spot may depend on Boro, with Husband's loan due to end at the conclusion of Saturday's game - and although Wagner is ready to have a conversation about extending the deal and says Husband is happy to stay, will his employers feel the same way?

George Friend is out for a few weeks now and Aitor Karanka's side are pushing hard for promotion. Could the door open for Town youngster Jack Senior? Or will Wagner dip into the loan market again in the position?



How big a miss is the injured Emyr Huws?

Huddersfield Town v Charlton Athletic. Sky Bet Championship. John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield. Duane Holmes.


The groans across Huddersfield were almost audible from the press conference room at Canalside when Wagner revealed that midfielder Emyr Huws is due to miss the next 3-4 weeks with an ankle problem.

The Welshman, with 24 appearances under his belt this term, has been virtually ever-present under Wagner except when injuries have derailed his ability to play. Alongside Jonathan Hogg or Dean Whitehead at the base of midfield, Huws gives the central two added impetus and creativity - and his style meshes well with either of his colleagues.

Suspicion grows that Hogg and Whitehead are simply too similar and would ensure Town set up more defensively than fans have been used to since Wagner took the hot seat.

A chance for Philip Billing or Duane Holmes might be the solution, and their ability to adjust to a starting role may be the deciding factor in exactly how much Huws is missed over the next few matches.