Huddersfield Town entertain Watford this weekend hoping to recover from their FA Cup exit last weekend after a 1-0 home defeat to Reading.

Nick Blackman's second-half strike in a poor game consigned inconsistent Town to a second home defeat in three games across all competitions, but Chris Powell can at least be buoyed by the 2-1 win over Bolton last time out in the league at the John Smith's Stadium.

The Terriers overcame Neil Lennon's resurgent side thanks to goals from Jacob Butterfield and Nahki Wells, but face a stern test of their credentials against a Watford side who are the fourth highest scorers in the division.

But what are the key questions for Town ahead of this weekend's encounter with Slavisa Jokanovic's promotion contenders?

Here are just some things to think about as the Terriers hunt a second successive home league triumph.

In pictures: Huddersfield Town 0-1 Reading

Can Town cope in the absence of Jonathan Hogg?

Town may not have realised at the time just how grave the consequences of Hogg's red card could be when he was dismissed for a second bookable offence against the Royals last weekend.

Sure, his suspension is just for the one game against his former employers Watford, but his exclusion from the matchday squad against the Hornets presents Chris Powell with a host of unwanted problems.

The Town manager must decide whether he is going to match up Jokanovic's preferred 3-5-2 setup firstly but, if he does, he must find a way off accommodating that system without the services of his first-choice midfield anchorman.

Powell discussed the paucity of alternatives to Hogg at the base of his midfield at length during his pre-match press conference and it remains to be seen whether or not he will entrust the likes of Oscar Gobern or Lee Peltier with such a role against one of the division's top sides.

Hogg's stellar form throughout December underlines his increased role and status in this side and he will undoubtedly be a big loss to the Terriers against their free-scoring opponents.

Huddersfield Town with Jonathan Hogg under Chris Powell

11

Appearances

17

Points

1.6

Average points per game

 

Huddersfield Town without Jonathan Hogg under Chris Powell

8

Appearances

7

Points

0.9

Average points per game

Is this defence capable of withholding Watford's all-star attack?

You have to date back to Town's drab 0-0 Yorkshire derby draw with Sheffield Wednesday on November 22 to find the last home clean sheet kept by Powell's men and their tally overall this season is a paltry four.

Only Fulham have conceded more goals and as Town prepare to welcome one of the Championship's most fluent attacking sides to the John Smith's Stadium, it is difficult to envisage a scenario where the Terriers are able to shut out their visitors.

With an arsenal of lethal forwards at his disposal, Jokanovic's selection dilemmas are far more welcoming ones in comparison to Powell, whose squad looks increasingly threadbare after injury to Murray Wallace, Hogg's untimely suspension and the return of Grant Holt to Wigan Athletic.

Troy Deeney ran riot against Wallace and Joel Lynch, who could be in line for a return this weekend, in the Hornets' 4-2 win at Vicarage Road in August but Town can take solace from the fact that, from their four clean sheets, three of those have been achieved at home.

Indeed, other than Brentford and Bournemouth - matches which yielded mixed results - Town have faced each of the other members of the top nine away from home and they must take advantage of that fact by delivering at home, even if the upcoming task looks a particularly daunting one.

Will unenforced changes be made to freshen things up?

Powell looked visibly stung by the fact Hogg will be absent once more this weekend, although he seemed delighted to be able to welcome Lynch back into the fold after a six-week lay-off.

Several of the manager's alterations to his side this weekend have been involuntary ones, but it could well be that he actively looks to shake things up in certain positions to get a response from his players.

Sean Scannell and Jacob Butterfield are thoroughly expected to take their places in the XI once more, but will Harry Bunn or either of the full-backs be sacrificed by Powell?

Bunn in particular looked a far cry from his usual busy, industrious and cunning self on the left flank against Reading and the promotion of either Joe Lolley or Danny Ward to that area of the field, should the formation allow, may not be out of the question.

If the 3-5-2 is employed, Anthony Gerrard and Lee Peltier may yet have chances to stake claims for a spot in the starting XI because, even though options are scarce at the moment, the opportunity to combine the returns of key men such as Butterfield and Scannell while maximising the resources he does have available could help provide an added spark to the side.