Latics look to kick off 2017 on a high note, while Warren Joyce seeks his first home win as manager of the club.
“Every game is an opportunity, we plan for victory in every match and this will be no different,’ says Joyce. ‘Huddersfield will be tough opposition, they are going well but we came away from their stadium with a win and now we need to repeat the feat at the DW.”
Latics victory at The John Smith’s in late November was built upon a counter-attacking game plan which worked brilliantly on a very cold night in West Yorkshire, with goals from Reece Burke and Yanic Wildschut coming from explosive breakaway attacks.
Yanic Wildschut scores what turned out to be the winning goal at the John Smith’s
Huddersfield’s pressing game under David Wagner has been the foundation upon which they have succeeded this season and we should expect no different on Monday from a dynamic side full of energy and positive attacking intent, who arrive on the back of a six game unbeaten run, preserved on Saturday by Nahki Wells' 94th minute equaliser at home to Blackburn Rovers.
For Latics, Shaun MacDonald was the surprise inclusion at Derby, but the Wales international made it through the 90 minutes unscathed after recovering from a thigh strain. Warren Joyce is not optimistic he will be able to call upon any of the other injured players for this one, although one piece of good news surrounded the return of Ryan Colclough from his loan spell at MK Dons, and the 22 year old could be included in the squad.
Ryan Colclough - could make a return to the squad
For Huddersfield, midfielder Jonathan Hogg (thigh) and wideman Sean Scannell (ankle) are still likely to miss out, while Mark Hudson made his comeback after five matches out with a hamstring injury as a substitute against Blackburn on Saturday. David Wagner has hinted that he will rotate his squad given the hectic schedule, a luxury Warren Joyce does not have.
SEASON SO FAR
The Terriers have been the surprise package of the season, it’s fair to say. The early season pace-setters in the Championship, winning five of their opening seven league games, they became early leaders, stunning Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle United at St James’ Park with a 2-1 win with goals from Nahki Wells and Jack Payne.
Despite a narrow defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion after the September international break, Huddersfield found their form once more with wins over Queens Park Rangers and Rotherham United, and despite a little more inconsistency than earlier in the season over the past month, they are still in 4th place in the table are an extremely dangerous side on their day.
Elias Kachunga is the club’s leading scorer with 8 league goals
Latics won the reverse fixture in November in what was Latics’ first ever league success in Huddersfield. Our only other victory there was as part of the winning FA Cup run in 2013, but other than those two matches, Leeds Road or the John Smith’s has not been the happiest of hunting grounds – although Paul Jewell’s side did celebrate winning the Division 2 title with a 0-0 draw there in May 2003.
Relive a good night in West Yorkshire in November ...
Latics have fared better on the Lancastrian side of the Pennines, winning six of the 12 league matches in Wigan in every division apart from the Premier League. Mind you, The Terriers have won five of those, the only time the fixture ended in a draw being in 1991. Huddersfield won a scrappy game 1-0 the last time the sides met at the DW, in January 2015.
PLAYED FOR BOTH CLUBS
Of the current squads, only Reece James has actually played for both sides, making 6 appearances in 2015 whilst on loan from Manchester United.
Reece James, in Huddersfield colours in 2015
Technically, Jordi Hiwula also qualifies as he is still a Terriers player, currently on-loan at Bradford City of course after his loan spell at Latics last season.
In recent times, Emyr Huws is the highest profile player to have featured for both clubs, spending last season on loan at the John Smith’s from Latics, where he scored five goals in 30 league appearances before moving to Cardiff City in the summer.
Emyr Huws, playing for The Terriers in 2015-16
The late Bobby Campbell was also at Leeds Road early on in his career, between 1975 and 1977 and again briefly in 1978.