HUDDERSFIELD Town head coach David Wagner is happy that struggling Bolton Wanderers, their opponents tomorrow, have finally won another game.
Crisis-torn Bolton have endured some wretched fortune of late and are bottom of the Championship, four points adrift of safety and dogged by troubling financial problems.
However, they won for only the second time this season when defeating Blackburn Rovers 1-0 on Monday, their first success in 18 matches in a run extending back to September.
Ordinarily, that would leave the manage of their subsequent opponents a little concerned given the obvious shot in the arm they must have received with those long-awaited three points.
However, Wagner maintains the opposite to be true.
“I don’t think about how confident Bolton will be after that,” said the German, who has steadied the Terriers’ ship since arriving at the West Yorkshire club in November.
“I think they have quality and for us it is good that they won the last game as now everybody in my squad and hopefully everyone outside Huddersfield and inside this room (the media) knows that this is a good team we are about to face.
“They have beaten a Blackburn side with a clean sheet and in a situation that is not easy for them with the financial problems there. For us it is a warning.
“They are bottom of the table, but they have won twice and drawn 11 times, which means that in 13 games they have been better or the same quality as the opposition.
“We know we have to work very hard to get three points on Saturday. We must be very focused and concentrated.
“I have a very large respect for Bolton and their players and staff because, if you are able to produce such a performance as they did, with all the financial trouble that they have in their club, from a distance it is a sign of character.”
No team has drawn as many games as Bolton in the Championship – only fourth-placed Brighton have finished level as many times – so their competitiveness is unquestionable.
Turning those draws into wins is their main issue especially against the current backdrop.
Bolton’s players had seen their wages for December go unpaid and manager Neil Lennon was fearing a mass exodus in the January transfer window with the club’s future existence under a massive cloud.
However, emergency funds have been raised to settle those debts and they will seek to back-up that win over Blackburn when Huddersfield arrive tomorrow.
Town, however, have enjoyed a decent festive spell themselves to climb up to 19th place.
They followed up their 3-1 Boxing Day win over Preston North End with a gutsy 1-1 draw at QPR and have now lost just once in four games.
Wagner is keen, however, to ensure people do not get carried away with this comparative improvement.
On those Christmas displays, he said: “The performances were not perfect, but good. At the end I accept if somebody is happy with these two games and performances and satisfied with the results.
“But I don’t accept if people think it is something special. It’s not something special to win a game. This is why we work.
“We start again now as we’d like to get three points and win this game, too, and we know nothing that happened on Monday will help us at Bolton.”
Wagner, the former Borussia Dortmund coach who replaced sacked Chris Powell at John Smith’s Stadium on Bonfire Night, is preparing to make moves in the transfer market once the window opens at midnight.
“Yes, of course, I’m thinking about it and working on it, but the only important matter at the moment is how we can give Bolton the biggest problem they have had this season,” he said.
“The transfer window will open and then it will be when I can have more focus there, but it’s open for four weeks so there’s enough time to make progress.
“We have discussed things since the moment I arrived.”
Huddersfield sold some of their better players in the last transfer window, but Wagner says he has had assurances “100 per cent as sure as I possibly can be” that he will be able to keep all the personnel he wants to retain until the end of the season.
He also has the rare luxury of an almost fully-fit squad for the trip across the Pennines with only Dean Whitehead (ankle) remaining on the sidelines.
Town are understood to be open to offers for Murray Wallace due to the defender not being part of Wagner’s plans.
The 22-year-old, in his fifth season at the West Yorkshire club, has only played one minute since the German took charge.
Wallace recently spent a successful loan spell at Scunthorpe United and their former Town manager Mark Robins is expected to be interested in taking the defender back to Glanford Park once the window opens.