Huddersfield Town's 2014/2015 season gets back underway this weekend as the Terriers welcome Middlesbrough to the John Smith's Stadium for what will be Chris Powell's first game in charge of the club.
Powell is looking to get off the mark quickly with his new charges and a home game against a side placed just five positions and two points above the Terriers could be considered the perfect opportunity to claim maximum points at the John Smith's Stadium for the first time since March 1.
Town went down 4-2 in a thriller at high-flying Watford just before the international break in a game which was indicative of their season so far, as they controlled a lot of the play but were let down by some slack defending against one of the Championship's top strikeforces.
The corresponding fixture between the two teams last season finished 2-2, with Town twice having leads snatched away from them by lively winger Albert Adomah, who struck twice to cancel out earlier efforts from Adam Hammill and Nahki Wells.
Conceding goals is a problem which has spilled over into this term, with four of Town's seven fixtures so far seeing the opposition side plunder three goals or more, something which has to be halted against Boro.
But the Teessiders will hope to improve defensive and general form of their own after back-to-back league defeats, culminating in a 1-0 home loss to Reading a fortnight ago.
Boro completed deals for three players on deadline day and two are expected to start in Yanic Wildschut and Jelle Vossen, while four other summer signing - including former Town midfielder Adam Clayton - are also expected to take part this weekend in a new-look outfit.
And here is everything you need to know about the game as Town look to get back to winning ways in the league.
Huddersfield Town v Middlesbrough (3pm)
The likely line-ups
Huddersfield Town (4-4-2): Smithies; Peltier (capt), Hudson, Lynch, Robinson; Hammill, Butterfield, Coady, Scannell; Vaughan, Wells.
Middlesbrough (4-4-2): Konstantopoulos; Abella, Omeruo, Gibson, Friend; Adomah, Leadbitter (capt), Clayton, Wildschut; Vossen, Kike.
Huddersfield Town: Terriers boss Chris Powell could welcome back Lee Peltier into the first-team fold for the visit of Middlesbrough but is set to be without fellow right-back Tommy Smith.
Powell revealed at a press conference that both have stepped up their recovery from respective groin injuries but that Peltier was ahead, while Jonathan Hogg (calf), Oscar Gobern (toe) and Joe Lolley (hip) are all still sidelined, along with Anthony Gerrard (calf) and Martin Paterson (knee).
Middlesbrough: Forwards Jelle Vossen and Yanic Wildschut looks set to make first-team debuts for Boro from the outset but loan signings Ryan Fredericks and Patrick Bamford may have to settle for places on the bench.
Aitor Karanka's main injury worries are Rhys Williams (Achilles) and Muzzy Carayol (cruciate ligament), who are both long-term casualties.
Ones to watch
Huddersfield Town: Sean Scannell - Powell spoke positively about the winger when he faced the media this week and it is clear the manager feels he can get the best out of the enigmatic winger.
With that praise ringing in his ears, let's hope Scannell can continue some promising early-season form which saw him grab an assist last time out at Watford.
Middlesbrough: Albert Adomah - He netted twice at the John Smith's Stadium last season and the livewire wideman will pose a similar threat should he be given the nod once more this weekend.
His speed across the ground will present Town with problems at the back and he will be expected to help new signings Wildschut and Vossen slot into the team smoothly.
What the bookies say
Town are ranked as the 21/10 outsiders with SkyBet to secure all three points this weekend, with the visitors at 5/4 and the draw can be backed at 12/5.
A repeat of last season's 2-2 scoreline is a 12/1 shot while Adam Hammill is 16s to be first goalscorer on Saturday.
Albert Adomah is 20s to repeat his trick from last season of scoring a brace but both Kike (11/2) and Vossen (6/1) are considered likelier to score than James Vaughan and Nahki Wells at 13/2, with another Boro new boy Bamford at those same odds.
Last time they met
Middlesbrough twice recovered courtesy of Adomah to secure a share of the spoils in an entertaining 2-2 draw at the John Smith's Stadium in March of this year in the corresponding fixture.
Adam Hammill handed Town a third-minute lead when he slotted home from former midfielder Oliver Norwood's sliderule pass but Gobern's loose backpass presented Adomah with the ball and he rounded Alex Smithies to level the scores.
Nahki Wells restored Town's advantage before the interval but Adomah pounced quickly after the break to slam home a second leveller.
Watch: Town reporter Doug Thomson on Town's clash with Boro
- Huddersfield have won only one of the last 10 meetings in all competitions. Their only win since 1986 was 2-1 at home in the Championship in March 2013 thanks to Danny Ward's stoppage-time winner.
- Town are unbeaten in the last two meetings at home, winning one. Middlesbrough's last win there was 1-0 in the old Division One on Boxing Day 1997.
- The Terriers are looking for a first home win since the start of March, when they beat fellow Yorkshire outfit Barnsley 5-0.
- Boro have only fared worse than this season's tally of six points over their opening programme of fixtures once - in 2010/2011 when they secured just four points, but that was only from a possible 12.
What the managers say
Chris Powell: "We’re ready for a tough test.
"They have spent money on their squad – Adam Clayton has left us to go there – and people will look at them as a top-six side come the end of the season.
"But we will be ready for them, and we certainly shouldn’t have any fear.
"We need to start fast and give our fans something."
Aitor Karanka: "The best thing for me is having 22-23 players and all of them are capable of playing in every single game.
"I am the manager and I have to choose the players.
Tomorrow I have a very big problem but I prefer to have this problem than to arrive at my office and say ‘who have I got to play tomorrow?’ I prefer to have this problem."
Man in the middle
Kevin Wright (Cambridgeshire). The 40-year-old arrives at the John Smith's Stadium with a reputation for being a no-nonsense official, epitomised by his record of sending-offs.
He has only taken charge of four games so far this season but has already brandished some 11 yellow cards and a red last time out during Bury 2-1 Accrington Stanley.
He actually handed out a red in the reverse fixture of that game last season as one of six dismissals while the previous five seasons saw him dish out a further 22 red cards overall.
The last Championship match he officiated was on May 3 of this year when QPR won 3-2 at Barnsley and he has only been the referee for a Town game six times after becoming a professional referee in 2003/2004, the last of which was a 2-0 home defeat to West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup in January 2010.
There has also been a 2-2 draw with Cheltenham Town in League One in March 2009, when he sent off former Robins midfielder Josh Low, a 0-0 stalemate at Port Vale in April 2008, a 2-1 win at Bournemouth in January 2007, a 2-1 home win over Vale on Boxing Day in 2004 and a 3-0 home success against Leyton Orient in 2003.
"The international break has been lamented by most football fans at this stage of the season, disrupting the rhythm they may have developed in the opening weeks of the season, but it arguably came at the perfect time for Town.
"It allowed them to get a turbulent month out of their system and the signing of Mark Hudson on deadline day, coupled with the appointment of Chris Powell as manager has brought a positive vibe to the club.
"The manager has spoken confidently and the players seem happy but a game against Boro this weekend is an opportunity for the Terriers to lay down a marker and this may be the perfect and yet worst time to play the Teessiders.
"On the one hand, a side tipped to challenge for promotion have also failed to hit their stride and now have to bed in an influx of new additions.
"On the other, their performances could increase tenfold as a result of the backing from chairman Steve Gibson and former Town midfield lynchpin Adam Clayton will also have a point to prove to his former employers.
"The two teams have had four meetings in recent years and the first cluster of them since 1997, with a win apiece in 2012/2013 and two draws last term.
"Each of the last three games have been extremely tight and I expect that trend to continue tomorrow. 1-1."