One of the headline pieces of news coming out of today's Huddersfield Town press conference was David Wagner's somewhat reluctant admission that Aaron Mooy may not be fresh enough to start against Swansea having played a significant part in both legs of Australia's play-off against Syria for a chance to go to the World Cup later this year. Having flown from England to Australia and back again with a stint in Malaysia thrown in for good measure in between, it's not unreasonable to suggest that Mooy might deserve a breather this weekend, especially if there's any reason to think his health or well being may be at risk.
This is dependent on whether or not we're taking David Wagner at face value, of course. It wouldn't be the first time a manager has played fast and loose with details regarding the availability of a key player to try and disrupt the preparation of an opponent, so it wouldn't be the biggest shock to see Mooy line up as usual on Saturday afternoon, and duck out midway through the second half if needed. Not the kind of player who's going to take a seat if he's given the choice to play, either, any planning for a match without him may go out of the window if he stubbornly makes himself available to play from the start.
In the eventuality that Mooy does have to make a rare appearance as a substitute, Town are obviously at a significant disadvantage without their Australian talisman in the starting eleven. A virtual ever present in the league since first joining the club on loan last season, Huddersfield have never really had to adjust in a meaningful game to play without him from the off. The only positive way to spin the news would be to suggest that, in lieu of their main creative player being available, Town will have to find a different way structuring their attack, which may actually lessen the burden on Mooy to perform long term, making them a better side for it. Immediately, however, you don't imagine that's reaction to the news most folk had.
Assuming that Jonathan Hogg will keep his place having been available to train for the entirety of the international break, it's really a choice between two players to partner him: Danny Williams or Philip Billing?
While it's obvious that Williams would provide the great defensive cover and likely thrive going forward safe in the knowledge Hogg is there to clean up after him, he doesn't have the nuance or ability to play a killer pass in the manner Billing can. Neither is ideal, what with Williams only just returning from injury and Billing having been on international duty himself, but Town aren't left with any other choices beside. An outside bet might be Dean Whitehead, who did make an appearance against Tottenham late on, but you wouldn't imagine that the 35-year-old would be Wagner's first choice, despite the fact he remains a more than useful member of the squad.
Against a side like Swansea, getting the ball in to attacking areas as quickly as possible will be key, as they line up with the ability to have at least eight men behind the ball at the click of a finger, which would provide Town somewhat of a brick wall to have to play through. Transition, such a key part of the Wagner identity already, will be even more important in this one, so whichever player benefits that aspect of Town's attack better should get the preference.
Danny Williams is easily the stronger runner on the ball of the two, and we saw against Leicester how his pace and veritcality gave Town a far more direct edge than they have had otherwise, but that may not be the best way to proceed here. Billing, while not as threatening when carrying the ball, will move it far more quickly and accurately than Williams is able to, which is what Town will need to get in behind Swansea as quickly as they can. Balls out to the wing and feeding Laurent Depoitre to either feet or chest will be imperative, and Billing will be able to do that with far more reliability than Williams, who's likely to come on as a substitute.
In this one, Town should look to Philip Billing to help get them ahead, and then once that's done, bring on Danny Williams to keep them there. Neither is a like for like replacement for Aaron Mooy, but they don't have to be - if you used properly, they won't have to cover for him together, but one after the other. That or, as suggested earlier, Mooy does play from the off, and we've all spent a couple of days worrying about nothing. Funny thing, this football lark.
You can follow Raj Bains on Twitter over on @BainsXIII , and his Huddersfield Town book Underdog is being published later in 2017. It is available to order now, with the opportunity to have the name of your choice printed in a fans list at the back of the book. Please visit www.gnbooks.co.uk or call 01274 735056.