Chris Powell’s bow as manager of Huddersfield Town is an interesting clash with Middlesbrough.
On the field, Middlesbrough have strengthened considerably after two below par seasons. Among their recruits is Adam Clayton, Town’s player of the season last time out. He is likely to line up against his former club.
Likely to start for Town is the makeweight from the Clayton deal. Jacob Butterfield has enjoyed an impressive start to his Terriers career, and has already netted his first goal for the club, in the 2-1 win at Reading. He endured a torrid time at Middlesbrough, where he struggled to make an impact on Aitor Karanka’s starting XI, and of the two former players on either side, has more to prove to his old club.
The game should also see the debut of Town’s deadline day signing Mark Hudson at the heart of the defence, and a welcome return to action for one of Town’s absent right-backs, Lee Peltier or Tommy Smith. The defence has been a problem area for the Terriers this season, with a variety of makeshift back lines shipping goals by the bucket load, and Alex Smithies yet to keep a clean sheet as a result. Hudson’s addition should provide much-needed solidity and leadership at the back, where I expect him to partner Joel Lynch.
Hudson should also add some presence in the opposition penalty area on set pieces. His and Conor Coady’s additions have brought physicality to a Town team that had lacked in that department. At full-strength, Town seem to have some much sought-after presence.
Boro also promise to be near full strength, which serves to set up an intriguing clash. Town have every reason to be confident going into the clash, however, and with James Vaughan fit again to partner Nahki Wells, the firepower exists which will hopefully give the Terriers the edge.