REFRESHED midfielder Jonathan Hogg says head coach David Wagner has given Huddersfield Town an “identity” and also improved their fitness in readiness to climb from the wrong end of the Championship table.
Town have lost just one of their last four games under the German, who replaced Chris Powell in early November.
They head to bottom-placed Bolton Wanderers this afternoon seeking to advance further from their current spot of 19th and Hogg says the former Borussia Dortmund coach has them in the right state to do so.
Asked if they are a better side than when Wagner took over eight weeks ago, the former Aston Villa schemer said: “We’ve got the same players and we’re not technically better.
“But we’re better organised and have a good identity now with the formation and style he wants us to play. I don’t think we had that six or seven weeks ago. That’s our identity now; people will know we want to get it down, pass it and start from the back so, as a team, I think we are better.
“He’s bred confidence as training’s all been sharp, high-tempo stuff and I think we’re a lot fitter.
“Performances show that as when he first came in we were always dying in the last 20 minutes and conceding too many goals.
“I think we’ve got over that bridge now and going into Saturday we will all be confident.
“We were confident at QPR (Monday’s 1-1 draw) and they’re just down from the Premier League. I don’t think it’ll be an easy game – Bolton will come out fighting – but if we can perform the way we have been we’ll take the ball to them.”
Amid these changes, Hogg, 27, has seen his role altered slightly, too, and the former Watford star is thriving.
“I’m playing a more sitting role, reading the game a bit more and stopping attacks the way he wants me to do,” said the Middlesbrough-born player, now in his third campaign at Huddersfield.
“It is totally different to how I would normally play. Normally I try to get box-to-box but he wants me to do less running and control the game a bit more.
“It requires more discipline. He pulled me recently and said he doesn’t want me to go charging around like I do and to relax and stay in the middle of the pitch which makes my job a little easier.
“I’m the sort who’d run all day but this definitely suits me. I’m doing less work so I feel a lot fresher and know that when there’s a chance to go win the ball I feel more powerful and stronger as I have more energy.”