Sheffield Wednesday star Jack Hunt ready to test his mettle against familiar foes

Jack Hunt.
Jack Hunt.
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Jack Hunt is looking to upset some old friends when he returns to boyhood club Huddersfield Town on Sunday.

The Sheffield Wednesday right-back started out as a nine-year-old at Town, rising up through the club’s Academy before a big-money move to the Premier League with Crystal Palace in 2013.

That move quickly turned sour with him breaking a leg during his first training session, and following loan spells at Barnsley, Rotherham and eventually Hillsborough, Hunt made the move back north permanent in the summer.

He returns to the John Smith’s Stadium on Sunday lunchtime, for a Yorkshire derby televised on Sky, against a Terriers team unrecognisable from the one he left three years ago.

New head coach David Wagner has led a revolution which has seen Town quickly reap the benefit.

Huddersfield are the surprise leaders of the Championship – 25 points from 11 games – and have impressed everyone this season, including old boy Hunt.

“You can’t hide anything and have to give Town a lot of credit,” said Hunt, who made over 100 appearances for Huddersfield.

“The manager has come in and had a full pre-season with them after coming in last year.

“He has got his message across well and I still speak to a few lads there.

“They are really enjoying it there, so fair play to them, but we will be looking to take three points off them.”

If Wednesday – under the then unknown Carlos Carvalhal – were the surprise package of the Championship last season, then Town are this campaign’s dark horses.

Wednesday came within 90 minutes of the Premier League – losing to Hull City in the play-off final at Wembley – but now Huddersfield’s slick football has them as the early pace-setters.

Not that Hunt is taking too much notice of the league table with less than a dozen games on the board.

“You could say they are a surprise package, they have started well and if they continue this run they will be right up there,” said Hunt.

“They could make the top six, and even the top two. But this Championship is a marathon, not a sprint, and there’s a long way to go.”

Ninth-placed Wednesday trail Huddersfield by eight points heading into Sunday’s noon showdown.

Hunt has been fighting with Liam Palmer for the right-back shirt, but one of the first names on Carvalhal’s team sheet every week is centre-back Tom Lees.

Hunt rates the former Leeds United player as one of the best defenders in the Championship and believes he is eventually destined for the Premier League.

“He’s been absolutely exceptional, and deserves every credit he gets,” said Hunt.

“He’s right up there with the best (defenders) in the league.

“People forget how many games he has played for his age, his experience is vital to us. He’s a rock at the back for us.

“I am surprised he is not playing in the Premier League, to be honest with you, but I don’t make signings for other teams.

“I am just very happy he is playing alongside me at Wednesday.”