The Thursday Preview: Brentford Vs Huddersfield Town
With the weather once again predicted to reduce the Football League fixture list to a largely Championship-based rump, perhaps the clash scheduled to take place at Griffin Park on Saturday is a foolhardy choice for this week’s Preview. However, having focused on a West Yorkshire derby last time around, I wanted to look at what League 1 might have to offer.
The two teams concerned have done their very best so far to confound the predictions of many observers of the third tier, myself included. Hopes that Brentford would be able to build on a promising 2009-10 campaign appeared to have been misplaced in September: a creditable televised victory over Sheffield Wednesday apart, the veneer of respectability provided by wins over Hull and Everton in the League Cup was scratched by defeats to Walsall, Rochdale and Orient. Andy Scott’s restructuring of the side over the summer, which saw the likes of Mickey Spillane and Nicky Adams drop down a division, seemed to have sapped the tenacity so evident in the previous season, very worrying for a club that remains a relative pauper among the division’s growing band of aristocrats. Since a 2-1 win at home to one of those more privileged sides in early October, though, the form guide has been turned inside-out; a run of five consecutive away wins culminated in a successful raid on the South Coast last weekend. Bees’ fans will be more concerned with their side’s record at Griffin Park. A defeat to the last house guests in TW8, compounding damage done by their early-season torpor, sees the candy-striped men in the lower reaches of the home form table and poses question marks over their `dark horse’ credentials.
Lee Clark’s Huddersfield entered the season much changed from the side which fell one step from Wembley in May. The Geordie boss was swift to identify the naivety of his talented young cohort as the cause of that failure, and was equally speedy in spending Dean Hoyle’s money on wise elders to redress the problem. The likes of Joey Gudjonsson, Gary Naysmith and Alan Lee duly arrived, persuading this blogger to pronounce them favourites for the title. But things haven’t gone according to plan. The promotion challenge has been punctured by Rochdale, Bristol Rovers, Plymouth and Exeter, and prompted whispers of unrest at the Galpharm. An upturn in form in recent fixtures has, nevertheless, restored some momentum at a crucial point in the season and I can’t see beyond an away win (should the expected Arctic intervention not materialise). 0-2 to the Terriers.