DANNY WARD’S first return to Elland Road in April, 2010 was something to savour for the one-time Leeds United junior.
Not only did the flying winger help Swindon Town to a potentially crucial 3-0 win during the League One promotion run-in but he also underlined just what Leeds were missing out on.
Shipley-born Ward, then on loan at the County Ground from Bolton Wanderers, may not have scored that day but United simply had no answer to his devastating forays forward as the Robins leapfrogged the West Yorkshire club into the automatic promotion places.
Come the end of the season, Leeds had wrestled back possession of second place as Swindon suffered defeat in the play-off final. It was a desperately disappointing end to Ward’s loan spell, though he could at least take solace from the standard of his performances in a Swindon shirt.
Now, it is Huddersfield benefiting from those skills and Ward admits a repeat today of his last visit to Elland Road would go down very nicely.
He said: “I was at Leeds from Under-12 to Under-16 level and I really enjoyed myself there. I was in Tom Lees’s group and Aidy White was in the year below me. They are both still there and it will be good to see them again.
“My five years there helped me develop as a player. When I got to the end of the Under-16 age group I was offered a scholarship but Bolton came in and I decided it was better for me to go there.
“It has worked out well, as at Bolton I got a chance to play alongside some fantastic Premier League players.”
Ward’s move to Huddersfield, initially on loan and then on permanent terms, meant he was part of the side that clinched promotion last May in never to be forgotten scenes at Wembley.
On the fight to retain Town’s second tier status, Ward, who recently returned from injury, added: “I think our mentality has to be to try and win every game, without putting too much pressure on ourselves.
“We have ideas of coming away from Leeds on Saturday with three points; we don’t want to come away with anything less, really.
“Obviously, we want to stay in the League, but I think we have to push on and establish ourselves as a Championship team.”
Leeds are hoping to claim what would be only their second league double of the season today but Town are boosted by having a clear midweek for the first time since Mark Robins succeeded Simon Grayson as manager.
The lack of a Tuesday fixture has allowed the Terriers manager to work on a few things on the training field ahead of the trip to Elland Road.
Robins said: “We have had a decent amount of recovery time since our last game and that has meant us being able to get one or two rested. We have also been able to get a little bit of work into one or two of the lads.
“When it comes to derby games, form goes out of the window. It will be an intriguing contest, which has a lot of things riding on it.
“Leeds have got a good balance to their team with a good mix of youth, especially at the back. In the games that I have watched they passed the ball well and generally played good football.”