Inside Track: Huddersfield Town

By SFC Media time Thu 20 Dec Huddersfield v Saints
Photo by Reuters | Dylan Martinez

Get the lowdown on Saints' next opponents from Huddersfield Daily Examiner's Sports Editor Mel Booth.

Can you sum up the season so far and the mood at the club?

The season so far has been very frustrating for Town and their fans as performances have been better than the results and table might suggest.

Frustration has been exacerbated by a general feeling that the team have not had much luck and, also, unfairly been on the wrong end of some key refereeing decisions.

The last couple of home defeats, in a run of four matches without a win, however, have focused attention on the fact Town now need to start finding the net more and putting points on the board.

Has there been any notable change in playing style and approach this season?

The biggest change this season has been in formation, with David Wagner largely opting to employ three men at the heart of defence - Christopher Schindler, Terence Kongolo and Mathias 'Zanka' Jorgensen - in a 5-3-1-1 line-up.

He previously went 4-2-3-1, so the wide attacking option now is delivered by the wing-backs, and players like Chris Lowe, Flo Hadergjonaj and German World Cup winner Erik Durm (who can play on either flank) have been to the fore.

It’s a blow to be without a key man in Aaron Mooy. Who is most likely to come in to fill that void?

With Aaron Mooy missing and ex-Reading man Danny Williams also sidelined from the midfield department (10 weeks, medial knee ligaments), Town are stretched on resources - especially as another potential candidate, Abdelhamid Sabiri, has had shoulder surgery.

It means Dutchman Juninho Bacuna, who was signed from Groningen in the summer, made his first Premier League start against Newcastle, after impressing as a substitute in the 1-0 defeat by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. The midfield three were Bacuna, Jonathan Hogg and Philip Billing.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United - John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield, Britain - December 15, 2018  Huddersfield Town's Juninho Bacuna applauds fans after the match          REUTERS/Peter Powell  EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  Please contact your account representative for further details.
Juninho Bacuna applauds the home support at John Smith's Stadium

Who have been the standout performers so far this season?

Midfielder Philip Billing has caught the eye all season and been much more consistent in his performances.

With Aaron Mooy out, particularly, Danish Under 21 international Billing's role is even more important in directing play, while his long throw has proved a valuable addition to the attacking set-piece options.

Defensively, new signing Terence Kongolo (who was on loan last season) has impressed, although he's been hit by injury, while Jonathan Hogg is always an important contributor in the midfield engine room.

Wing-back Chris Lowe is now back from a shoulder injury and looking to regain his excellent early-season form. Of late, Alex Pritchard has been influential.

How is this game being viewed by Huddersfield and how do you think it will go?

Town and their supporters realise this is an important assignment as David Wagner bids to put an end to a run of four successive defeats.

Also, it's vital Town don't get cut off from those just above the drop zone, so a first three-point haul since Wolves away on November 25 - and only a third win of the Premier League season - is viewed as essential.

While Southampton are understandably buoyant after the win over Arsenal, they've won only once in the league away from St Mary's all season (at Palace), so I am going for a 1-0 Huddersfield win.

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