Huddersfield Town are preparing to welcome Charlton Athletic to the John Smith's Stadium this weekend as they return home for the first time since the opening-day disaster against Bournemouth.

Since that 4-0 defeat, which in turn led to Mark Robins' departure from the club, Town have secured progress to the second round of the Capital One Cup after a 5-3 win at Chesterfield and bounced back from a 3-1 defeat to Cardiff City to claim their first league points at Reading.

Watch: Town reporter Doug Thomson on Town's latest meeting with the Addicks            

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Town face a side who have defied expectations so far to sit fourth in the table with an impressive return of seven points from their opening three matches, including successive home wins over promotion hopefuls Wigan Athletic and Derby County.

And, as such, the Terriers come up against one of the most in-form strikers in the division, alongside a midfield armoury and resilient defence that have laid the foundations for the Addicks' quick start out the blocks.

Here are the three key battles which could decide the contest.

Joel Lynch v Igor Vetokele

Joel Lynch v Igor Vetokele

The central defender's performance in midweek was nothing less than titanic; steering his side through the adversity of consecutive league defeats and out the other side with a obdurate defensive showing at Reading.

Town sides of recent weeks, let alone months and years, would have crumbled under the concerted late pressure the Royals launched on the Terriers but they held firm and, but for Simon Cox's strike, were able to keep Alex Smithies' goal guarded at all times.

Lynch proved the adhesive to the backline as he constantly cajoled and instructed those around him where to position themselves and when in the mission to nullify the threats of Cox and Pavel Pogrebnyak, who was forced into submission as a result.

But the central defender's recovery from his series of blunders against Bournemouth will be given a thorough examination by the athletic Igor Vetokele, who has taken to English football like the proverbial duck to water.

The rangy striker has struck twice in three games, both with headed efforts and poses a real threat to Town in the air, an area of defending where they have failed to exude much confidence since the start of the season.

Paul Dixon v Jordan Cousins

Paul Dixon v Jordan Cousins

Town's defence showed a marked improvement from their opening two Championship games, with lessons clearly learned from the manner in which they failed to deal with Kenwyne Jones at Cardiff.

That day the Trinidadian's height and physical strength allowed runners off of him - with Adam Le Fondre the most prime example - but they stymied Pogrebnyak's attempts to have a similar influence on Tuesday.

Conor Coady's protective role in front of the defence allowing the two central defenders to be aggressive in their treatment of the Russian.

But there were still question marks that proved initially unanswerable with Nick Blackman enjoying far too much space on the flanks against Paul Dixon and the Scot was unable to prevent him dictating the play until he and Harry Bunn dropped deeper as a couple in the second half.

He will need to be clever in his decision making against the pace and invention of Jordan Cousins, with the Addicks starlet's natural defensive instincts sure to give the visitors a solid defensive footing, while his ability going forward isn't to be sniffed at either judging by his cross for George Tucudean's opener against Derby in midweek.

He operated on the left-hand side for the Addicks on Tuesday but is a natural right-footer and will interchange on the flanks with new signing Johann Berg Gudmundsson freely, meaning Dixon must be diligent throughout.

Jonathan Hogg v Johnnie Jackson

Jonathan Hogg v Johnnie Jackson
 

The respective exits of Adam Clayton and Oliver Norwood have opened the door for Jonathan Hogg to re-create himself in a positional sense at Huddersfield Town.

The firepower lost by those two departing will be offset, the club hope, by Jacob Butterfield's arrival and the former Middlesbrough man began making inroads into that objective by breaking the deadlock at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday night.

Coady will provide the brawn to complement Butterfield's brains in the engine room and it leaves Hogg having to fill a role somewhere in between the two.

He will be expected to be more adventurous with his passing and unlock his potential as a true box-to-box performer in midfield, but he will be matched all the way by Johnnie Jackson on Saturday.

At 32, he is perhaps no longer the driving force of old from midfield but he, too, has reinvented himself from a left-sided flyer to being the heartbeat of this Charlton side.

Expectation falls on his shoulders as a result but he is more than capable of pulling the strings to establish the Addicks' rhythm in possession of the ball and disrupt Town's own; it's Hogg's job to ensure this does not occur with any frequency.