Huddersfield: “If we do the unthinkable again, it would be dreamland!”

After stumbling to a 20th-placed finish last season, Huddersfield Town are now flying high in 3rd in the Championship as Terriers’ fans dream of a return to the Premier League.

Outsiders have questioned whether they can last the course but, after going 17 games unbeaten including a 2-1 victory at runaway leaders Fulham, Carlos Corberan’s side keep coming up with the answers.

Jumping from a dogfight one season to a promotion challenge the next in the same division is extremely rare, as history shows.

Barnsley (2020/21) and Brighton (2015/16) are the only Championship teams in the previous 13 seasons to secure top six finishes having come 20th or 21st at that level the year before, so we caught up with Vital HTAFC to find out what’s behind such a contrast.

“Last season we suffered so badly with injuries, and it really was a patch work team in the end.

“We did just enough to stay up and then we did the right thing only giving out short-term deals and then got to rebuild in the summer.

“The summer business was done promptly and clearly addressed the issues we had within the squad, particularly at the back.”

Fewer injuries this term has meant the team has been able to maintain a steadier ship, with nine players featuring in 28 or more of the 35 league games.

The Town account reserves a lot of praise for Corberan, who assisted Marcelo Bielsa in Leeds United’s Championship title win in 2020/21 before moving to this corner of West Yorkshire.

“Carlos has worked wonders with a squad that’s been built very much on free transfers and loans.

“He’s clearly a talented coach; the players love him and call him the professor.

“It’s evident on the pitch with players like Oliver Turton, for example, who looked out of his depth at this level, but is now a consistent and solid performer – he is just one of many that have clearly benefited from the Spaniard’s coaching.”

Corberan’s work has helped move the Terriers six points clear in the scramble for a top six berth and while each of their play-off rivals have at least one game in hand, this is not something that concerns Vital HTAFC.

“I’d much rather have points on the board over games in hand any day.

“The teams with games in hand are largely against each other so they can’t all win, so it’s certainly set up for a very interesting run to the end of the season for all the teams in with a shout.”

The HD1 club’s strong position comes as a surprise, considering that many had hoped for a season of progress as opposed to promotion contention.

“It would be very fair to say that all Huddersfield fans would have been happy with not being involved in the relegation scrap this season, so where we are is a pleasant surprise and if we were to do the unthinkable again it would be dreamland.

“Realistically we must take it a game at a time and see what comes our way. There’s some very talented squads in the reckoning but that’s why we all love football, you just never know!”

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Author: Paula Bryant