WHEN the pundits took a look at the Championship in pre-season, few gave Huddersfield Town a second thought.
Not with a host of former Premier League clubs residing in the second tier, several of whom were spending big in the summer transfer window.
Even when it came to assessing the chances of the three sides promoted from League One, the Terriers rarely got a look-in alongside runaway champions Charlton and a famous old name like Sheffield Wednesday.
With the season having entered the second quarter, however, Town have made the Championship sit up and take note with a start that has yielded 20 points from 12 games.
Even the midweek defeat to struggling Peterborough United has been unable to take the shine off Huddersfield’s start as Simon Grayson sit level with fifth-placed Blackburn Rovers and just one goal outside the play-off places.
The downside of this, as the Town manager admits, is that his team is no longer able to fly under the radar as opposition managers target a notable scalp.
He said: “If they are (seeing us as a scalp), then that is credit to all our players and what they have done so far this season.
“We have to be able to deal with that but I think that sometimes it is more down to the fact that other teams have something to prove – they have to make sure that they are doing their jobs and responsibilities as well.
“You have to give the opposition credit sometimes, but at other times you only analyse your own team when you lose. Peterborough caused us problems at times and obviously Darren (Ferguson) had looked at us and thought they could do so by playing in a certain way. Perhaps that is the respect that we deserve.”
Town return to where their promotion hopes died in 2010 in the play-off semi-finals.
Grayson has experienced heartache at The Den with his Leeds side losing 1-0 en route to a 2-1 aggregate loss the year before Town perished in south London. He added: “This is what the Championship is all about. We have to be able to play on a Tuesday night in front of 6,000 fans and on a Saturday in front of bigger, more boisterous crowds. We go to Millwall with a game-plan to try and keep their team quiet.
“We went to Hillsborough the other week (when Town won 3-1) and dealt with a really difficult atmosphere and we won at Blackpool, where the crowd is on top of you.
“The goalposts don’t change and the size of the pitch doesn’t really alter, so you have to cope with the different environments. I have no problems with our players down there.”