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Huddersfield Town are ready for the Premier League, says the Examiner Sports Team

Sports Editor Mel Booth along with Football Writers Blake Welton and Rory Benson give their predictions ahead of the new season

Huddersfield Town celebrate winning the SkyBet Championship Play-Off Final.

There is less than a week to go until Huddersfield Town embark on their inaugural Premier League season with an away trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday, August 12.

The excitement and anticipation not only around the club but the entire town is palpable with even those lifelong fans who have followed the club for decades still struggling to come to terms with what David Wagner's men achieved with SkyBet Championship promotion on that sunny day at Wembley back in May.

But what next for the German's charges? Below Sports Editor Mel Booth along with Football Writers Blake Welton and Rory Benson give their predictions ahead of the new season.

Mel Booth

Never thought I’d see the day, but Town are in the Premier League and I’m going to enjoy it!

While it’s going to be far from easy, I expect David Wagner’s side to surprise the pundits this season and definitely stay up.

The head coach has made very astute-looking signings and strengthened in vital areas.

At the back, Mathias Jorgensen brings international, Champions League quality, while Scott Malone was the most outstanding attacking full-back against Town last season.

In midfield, Aaron Mooy was a great capture and I’m looking forward to seeing him direct operations at top level, while we know all about Kasey Palmer and Danny Williams for obvious reasons.

They are both players who will be keen to prove their worth on the biggest league stage of them all, as will Tom Ince.

It is exciting to think Ince is coming to spend the prime years of his career with Town and, while he has had his critics at previous clubs, he has already shown his goalscoring quality in pre-season.

I fully expect Ince to produce the best football of his career under Wagner, who will undoubtedly bring the best out of the talented 25-year-old.

Having lost Danny Ward, who so endeared himself to the Town faithful last season while on loan from Liverpool, the acquisition of loan goalkeeper Jonas Lossl appears cute.

Another young player determined to prove he’s worth the starting shirt and giving strong competition to Joel Coleman.

And up front, Town needed some power.

They seem to have got exactly that in Laurent Depoitre from Porto and Steve Mounié from Montpellier – so the squad looks sound and full of investments for the future.

Whatever happens, this is going to be a season to savour.

Town have the opportunity, with how the fixtures have fallen, to make a strong start, and that’s important.

But, given decent luck with injuries and decisions, I expect Town to defy the bookies and be playing Premier League again in 2018-19.

Blake Welton

If Blackpool FC can nearly achieve the impossible, Huddersfield Town certainly can.

 

Apparently a third of teams promoted to the Premier League over the last decade have managed to avoid dropping back into the SkyBet Championship, while on average sides have needed only 36 points to beat the drop.

Some nice figures but, after Christopher Schindler clinically dispatched the winning play-off penalty back in May, we all remembered football isn’t won on statistics but hunger, desire, passion and heart.

So we’ll settle for a Europa League spot then? Well, not quite, but taking away the usual top seven, there is a paper-thin wedge between the rest.

The club’s summer preparations for the top-flight have equipped them well for the nine-month onslaught to follow, with Town’s signings not only being smart but done early to get the squad settled and organised.

Meanwhile, fellow promotion sides Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion have struggled to get players through the door while there are more questions than answers for a host of other clubs, which can only bode well for David Wagner’s men.

Will Burnley face ‘second season syndrome’ and be able to correct their poor away form?

Will Watford find a solution to a lack of goals? Can new Crystal Palace boss Frank De Boer make his tactical switch work with the players at his disposal?

How will Leicester City and Swansea City cope with the impending loss of star players?

Overall, Town’s situation is uncannily similar to that of Blackpool’s in 2010-11 in which the Seasiders achieved promotion against all the odds via the Play-Offs.

After an encouraging start to their debut Premier League campaign, beating Wigan Athletic 4-0 away from home on the opening day and being as high as eighth after 17 games, Ian Holloway’s men were eventually relegated one point from safety.

If they can almost complete Mission Impossible, Huddersfield Town, with a far superior squad, surely can.

Rory Benson

 

Huddersfield Town have been written off by fans and pundits before a ball has been kicked in this season’s Premier League.

For me, that will work in favour of the Terriers.

I don’t expect Town to go down and I believe - especially early in the season - David Wagner’s squad will surprise a few sides and catch them off guard, earning a number of points in the process.

Last season was defined by the ‘Terrier spirit’ - that drive to go the extra mile and earn a point for the team when it didn’t look possible.

That will hold Town in good stead in the Premier League, with Town’s ability to score last-gasp goals a valuable knack that cannot be taught.

The Premier League is a strange competition and can almost be divided into two categories: the top six and the rest.

I don’t expect Town to break into the top six - nor do I expect Everton, West Ham or Southampton to do so.

The money at the top end of the league has made Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal untouchable, but the rest of the teams in English football’s top flight could finish anywhere.

And I don’t see a chasm in quality between Town and sides such as Swansea, Watford and West Brom.

One thing that could make the difference, however, is this ‘Terrier Spirit’ - the character Town showed last season.

Not all teams can claim to have that mental belief and I can see Town fighting, scrapping and playing their way to Premier League safety this season, finishing a couple of places clear of the drop zone and causing a few upsets along the way.

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