As Cardiff City travel to Huddersfield Town on Saturday for a crunch game, we caught up with Thrice Champions, a cracking Huddersfield blog and podcast, to see how they fancied their chances – and what they think of us.
View from the Ninian: You finished 16th last season. Did that constitute a success for Huddersfield?
VFTN: Huddersfield had a busy summer, signing a number of players. Who’s caught your eye so far? And are there any areas that you didn’t strengthen that you think should have?
TC: The signing of Terence Kongolo on a permanent deal was huge for the club. He just oozes class and had interest from other bigger clubs than us, but rejoined us after a successful loan spell as we were prepared to bring him in earlier in the window. Isaac Mbenza on his record at Montpellier also looks to be a good signing, scoring 9 goals from the wing in any top league in Europe is difficult and he’s exactly what we required.
We do need more depth though, without Hogg and Mooy in midfield we do look a bit soft and lacking in creativity. Arguably someone to play off one of our big strikers when chasing the game would’ve been ideal, but given our budget, we can’t complain. The squad has definitely improved.
VFTN: David Wagner’s tenure at Huddersfield has a been a bit of a whirlwind. What are his strengths as a manager?
TC: His ability to eek out all of the quality in a player is huge. His man management seems to be spot on too and if you can’t do what he requires of you, then you will not be at the club. The connection he’s built with the fans is massive too, the Wagner revolution as the club branded it has seen more personality about the players and staff and that goes a long way round these parts.
VFTN: How do you think the squad will react to the 6-1 loss at Man City last week? And what do the fans make of these games?
TC: We’ve had these drubbings before and came back stronger. Wagner, for me, was tactically naive against Man City when last season we really frustrated them on two occasions and he did what he’s never done and changed formation around how City set up. That’s never been his way. These games are a luxury though, it’s very difficult to compete with the very best sides, especially when they are fresh. Some enjoy the talent on the other side, others get too down about a defeat. The reality is in the middle, and if you can get some points from them, as we did on occasions last season, the feeling is amazing.
VFTN: What do you think Cardiff can learn from Huddersfield’s time in the Premier League so far?
VFTN: After finishing 16th last year, what would constitute success for you guys this year?
TC: Surviving again. I’ve always hated clubs like that and that mentality will eventually see you go down, but the riches that it brings, if used wisely, can truly set up a club for life. Look at Burnley! Success would also be developing some of the players we have at the club to sell on for a profit, as it’s the best way we can compete financially.
VFTN: What do you know about our squad? Where do you see our strengths, weaknesses? Any players of ours that you’d take?
TC: I know it’s full of ex-Town players! I think Zohore is a dangerous player, the question is will he make the step up to this level like a Glenn Murray or is he bombs like Rudy Gestede. I think on paper your strength is in midfield with players like Murphy and Arter, good additions. I’d have definitely taken Murphy here at Town, but I’m shocked at the fee he commanded. English players for you. I’d love to see Alex Smithies back too, I’m surprised he isn’t your first choice.
VFTN: And finally. Prediction for Saturday?
TC: It’s going to be tight, wouldn’t surprise me if it finished 0-0 but I think we’ll sneak a 1-0 win from somewhere. If we play to our strengths, with wingers, and get service into Steve Mounie, then we should have the quality to exploit your defence.