Relegation from the Premier League is never easy for any club to deal with. While the parachute payments soften the blow economically, there’s no accounting for the difficulty of halting a potential downward spiral on the pitch. Huddersfield Town made a disastrous start to the 2019-20 Championship campaign, which cost manager Jan Siewert his job after four games.
After three league defeats and one draw, plus an early EFL Cup exit against Lincoln City, the club decided that drastic measures were needed to turn their fortunes around. Mark Hudson expressed an interest in taking the job permanently during his spell as caretaker manager, but three more defeats in the Championship hardly helped his cause.
Not without some irony, having masterminded their defeat in the EFL Cup, it was Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley, along with his brother Nicky, the Terriers turned to. His immediate impact did little to inspire as Huddersfield suffered two more defeats. Beaten 0-2 at home against Sheffield Wednesday, then 4-2 away at West Brom after leading twice, there seemed no end to the rot in sight.
🗣️ “There’s definitely some work we can do back on the training pitch, but I believe there is certainly some positives we can take forward.”#htafc Manager Danny Cowley after the Club’s draw with @MillwallFC.#HTTV is sponsored by @absolute_ws.
— Huddersfield Town (@htafc) September 28, 2019
Nevertheless, while a point at home against Millwall was hugely frustrating, especially as the visitors were reduced to ten men for the final ten minutes, it did mark a change in fortunes to conclude what had otherwise been a dreadful August and September for the club. By comparison, October has been a breath of fresh air for Cowley and the team.
The first win of the season came on the road at Stoke City, much to the relief of the travelling fans. A late goal from substitute Juninho Bacuna enough to clinch the points, despite Huddersfield being statistically inferior in almost every aspect of play throughout the game. That said, statistics such as possession and shots count for nothing if you don’t take the points.
Buoyed by that result, almost like a huge millstone being lifted from their shoulders, the best was yet to come from the team. Goalless after the first half against Hull City at the Kirklees Stadium, in the second half Huddersfield tore their opponents apart. Karlan Grant scored first, then Juninho Bacuna the second, then Elias Kachunga with the third.
Adama Diakjaby was man of the match for an outstanding display against Hull, while throughout the whole team, it seemed that the belief was back. Looking as though Huddersfield have turned the corner with Cowley at the helm, even bookmakers and predictions for Championship bets are starting to show more confidence in the team.
🎥 HIGHLIGHTS 2.0 | https://t.co/56eZ7YNr5I
— Huddersfield Town (@htafc) October 7, 2019
While some might lament this positive turnaround being interrupted by the FIFA international break, in many respects, a pause to reflect and work on details is often welcomed by managers. Cowley has pledged to work “relentlessly hard” to ensure Huddersfield keep improving, transmitting their ideas and aims to players; even those away on international duty.
Only time will tell if Cowley has the managerial ingredients to keep this run of form going, or whether the recent results are a flash in the pan. Huddersfield will see out the month of October with a trip to Blackburn after the international break, followed by consecutive home games against Middlesbrough and Barnsley.
More wins just might fill the fans with enthusiasm that bad as the season began, there’s a long season ahead and knowing how competitive the Championship is, there’s still every possibility that rather than remain mired in a battle against relegation to League One, this rejuvenated Huddersfield side could yet mount a push towards fighting for promotion.