The Thursday Preview: Tranmere Vs Huddersfield

Posted by on Mar 31, 2011 in The Thursday Preview | 2 Comments
In our last Thursday Preview that involved Huddersfield Town, a patchy pre-Christmas run had left my fellow blogger Stanley unimpressed at the Terriers’ prospects. Then, a comprehensive 4-1 battering at the hands of rivals Southampton in an oddly scheduled seasonal encounter will have led to an inabillity to enjoy Jools Holland’s annual Hootenanny. Lee Clark’s squad looked unwieldy and others were challenging more vigorously.

But a heady 18 match run, punctuated only by dual Cup defeats at Carlisle and Arsenal, have put the Yorkshire side four points clear of third place with only seven to play, Unlike Swindon, play-off disappointment has been used as a bridge and a side containing a raft of talented youngsters have truly sparkled since January 1.

True, some of those wins have been eked out – most notably a Vertigo-style clinging on to the ledge of victory after an early goal against lowly Bristol Rovers – but Town have largely been notable for the sheer verve of their play, a terrible injury to Anthony Pilkington notwithstanding. The reasons, as Charlie Johnson explains in his highly readable blog, are that “our squad play some of the best football I’ve ever seen a Town team produce and that we’re no longer run by a Rugby League loving dinosaur and that we are no longer managed by Stan Ternent.”

Indeed, Town bounced back from a flat stalemate with Swindon at the shockingly named Galpharm to scamper to victory against Notts County; Jordan Rhodes netting a double to take this tally for the season to 20 in all competitions. The Terriers’ strength is perhaps best illustrated by the bench for that match – Danny Cadamarteri, Kevin Kilbane, Alan Lee and Nick Colgan form a highly experienced line up of second choices for League 2 and that’s without taking into account an injury list that features Damien Johnson, Alex Smithies and Gary Naysmith.

On Saturday, the Pennines will be traversed and the Mersey Ferry booked for an away trip to Tranmere Rovers. The new year has also been productive for the Wirral side who at one point looked likely to occupy one of the four relegation slots. Some terrific wins have been recorded, including a 2-0 victory over Southampton and a 3-0 defeat of Sheffield Wednesday, famous triumphs over much larger clubs that echo the storied Nineties under John King. Rovers are now showing solid mid table form and are competitive against anyone – a situation that has launched them into a position that is still precarious but an improvement on before.

A highlight of the encouraging turnaround in form has been the emergence of Dale Jennings, a 17 year old wingside prodigy and author of one of the goals of the season against Plymouth – his League 1 Apprentice of the Year award was richly deserved. Despite Huddersfield’s fine run, I think they’ll have difficulty in this one and I’ll take the Mersysiders to prevail by a goal to nil.

Rob Langham
Rob Langham (pen name: Lanterne Rouge) is co-founder of the defiantly non-partisan football league blog, The Two Unfortunates, a website that occasionally strays into covering issues of wider importance. He's 47 and lives in Oxford while retaining his boyhood support of Reading FC. He tweets as @twounfortunates and has written for a number of websites and publications including The Football Attic, The Inside Left, When Saturday Comes, In Bed with Maradona, Futbolgrad and The Blizzard as well as being nominated for the Football Supporters' Federation Blogger of the Year Award in 2013.

2 Comments

  1. Ben
    March 31, 2011

    Lee Clark, Terry McDermott, Steve Watson – wonder why I'm developing a soft spot for the Terriers…

    I've been astounded (and impressed) by Clark's achievements as a manager so far. At Newcastle he never remotely struck me as potential management material, but is doing a great job. Full crredit to his chairman for having the guts to appoint someone whose only previous experience was as assistant to Glenn Roeder during his short and ill-fated tenure at Norwich.

    As for Jennings, that was a stupendous goal and I can see him playing in the Championship next season (the top flight might yet be a step too far – better to continue his apprenticeship with regular games).

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  2. Stanley
    March 31, 2011

    The turnaround from mid-season is quite impressive, and I can only congratulate Lee Clark and his squad. As a rival for promotion I found it quite difficult to enjoy them last year, but Huddersfield are without doubt one of the most watchable sides in League 1. It seems that, despite initial trouble, Clark has discovered the blend of youth and experience that was lacking in the previous campaign.

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