Jacob Butterfield is ready to take the central line in his bid to drive Huddersfield Town further towards the top half of the Championship with victory over Leeds United.
A thee-point haul from the 12.30 derby, which is set to attract a season’s best 20,000-plus crowd to the John Smith’s Stadium, would lift Town to 10th, at least ahead of the 3.00 games.
Butterfield is relishing his midfield role under Chris Powell, whose 15th-placed side are chasing a fourth win in five league games at the expense of Leeds, who are 20th, five points behind.
“I’m enjoying my football at a good club,” said the former Middlesbrough man, who was signed in August. “I think a central midfield role suits me, because I like to get on the ball as much as possible.
“You can end up a little bit isolated out wide, but in the middle you can really influence a game, and that’s something I like to do.”
Town are keen to build on last Saturday’s 1-0 win at Wigan Athletic, and the 23-year-old added: “As a team I think when we click, we play as good football as anyone in the league.”
Leeds will hope to get the inside track in Town through former John Smith’s Stadium coach Steve Thompson, who is now boss Neil Redfearn’s assistant.
They arrive for the all-ticket game, which is set to attract 20,000-plus, having claimed convincing wins in the last two West Yorkshire derbies, both at Elland Road, and buoyed by a 1-0 home win over leaders Bournemouth.
Sol Bamba, the former Leicester City centre-back, could make a debut in place of suspended Giuseppe Bellusci after signing on loan from Palermo.
Leeds expect Steve Morison, the former Millwall striker who has been playing up front in the 4-2-3-1 formation preferred by Redfearn, to be fit after a hip niggle while Town have a big doubt over midfielder Jonathan Hogg (thigh).
Because of their -10 goal difference, Town are the lowest ranked of the four clubs currently on 34 points, with Nottingham Forest, Cardiff City and Fulham above.