Goals to flow from Tom Ince, believes Huddersfield chief David Wagner

HEAD coach David Wagner has challenged Tom Ince to use his first goal in Huddersfield Town colours as the catalyst for a scoring burst.

Proving a point: Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner is backing Tom Ince. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

The 25-year-old broke the deadlock in the hugely entertaining Boxing Day draw at home to Stoke City.

At a stroke, Ince banished for good the unwanted distinction of being this season’s Premier League player with most efforts on goal yet to find the net.

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It was a statistic that had been trotted out before each Town game for months, his goal against the Potters having come with his 45th effort of the league campaign.

For someone who reached double figures in each of the previous three seasons with Derby County, Ince’s lack of goals have been something of a puzzle – especially as the chances had been flowing freely.

Now, however, Wagner wants to see more of the same from the £7.25m summer arrival from the Championship.

“Tom Ince had got no goals in the first 19 games,” said the 46-year-old German. “But now in the first game of the second half of the season, he has a goal. He is now on track. His season starts now.

“Performance-wise, he has had a good season. Of course, in terms of the end product, we expect more from him. He had some assists but not enough and no goals until we played Stoke.

“Now, he has his first goal and with the second half of the season here, this is a perfect moment from him. I am absolutely sure further goals will follow. That is what we take further out of this game.”

Ince’s early strike on Boxing Day took Town’s goal tally for the season to a respectable 18 from 20 games.

Four of the top flight’s other 19 teams have found the net less times, while Bournemouth also boast the same total as Huddersfield.

Not so long, ago, however, it was a different story with Wagner’s men lagging well behind their Premier League peers in the scoring stakes.

After losing 2-0 at Everton, Huddersfield had just nine goals from 15 league outings. Wagner made clear he was not worried at the time but others were concerned this lack of firepower could soon start to undermine what had been an encouraging first few months among the elite.

“I was never worried by the statistics people kept saying to me about our lack of goals,” he added. “Every game is a chance to show that those stats are not right.

“We have now scored a few goals in recent games. Of course, this satisfies me because it shows I was right to have belief.

“But what is good as well is how strong we have been in the defence in those recent games. Against Stoke, we looked very focused and were brave enough to defend with a high line, even if that left us one on one (at the back).

“This makes me confident about the future, even if we know 23 points from 20 games is okay. We have to improve and we will improve because we need further points on the board.”

As for the run that has brought nine goals from Town’s last five outings, Wagner is full of praise for all his players and not just the likes of Ince and Laurent Depoitre, the latter having contributed a third of the recent flurry of goals when playing as the lone frontman.

“I am delighted Tom Ince scored a very good goal with a very good assist from Collin (Quaner),” said the Huddersfield chief, whose side will round off 2017 with a home game against Burnley this weekend.

“In attack, we had some very good moments in this game and I am absolutely satisfied.

“We played with energy and intent, and looked fresh at the end. We really tried to get this ball over the line to win the game.

“We created further chances until the final seconds. I have no complaints about my players and their attitude. A point is a point.”