Huddersfield Town shaping up nicely to win Championship relegation battle

Huddersfield Town go into an extended international break in much better shape for the last couple of weeks of football not only because of the points picked up, but the greater flexibility coach Carlos Corberan now has.

The Terriers are unbeaten in four matches, conceding just twice, and although there is frustration they have only won one, they have a four-team and 10-point buffer to the relegation zone, albeit Rotherham United have four games in hand.

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The 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday showed reasons for cautious optimism. Caution because they did not play very well, doing little with 60 per cent of the ball, but optimism because they are now much more flexible.

The return from injury of centre-back Richard Stearman in particular allows them to play different shapes, and at Hillsborough the formation was 3-4-3, 4-3-3 then 3-4-1-2. More than that, signing striker Yaya Sanogo allows them to play in different ways, too. Focused on possession in a first half when Josh Windass’s counter-attack opened the scoring, they equalised via the direct route of a deep free-kick.

“We’ve made a lot of effort in the last four games,” reflected Corberan, whose side sits out this weekend because Bournemouth are playing in the FA Cup. “We want more points but I have to evaluate the dynamic.”

A big part of “the dynamic” is a conscious effort over the last four games to develop a plan B.

“For a long time we didn’t have the option to play a back three and now we are using that every game,” pointed out the coach.

Huddersfield Town players celebrate their side's late equaliser at Hillsborough. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA

“Sanogo is important and gives us the possibility to play more directly. He’s adapted very well. Every time you add players you have more options.”

With nine games in 35 days after the international break, Huddersfield are eight points from the traditional Championship safety mark but this has been anything but a traditional season.

“Until you hit the (point where three teams can no longer catch you) you’re going to fight to the end,” said Corberan. “I’m sure that after the weekend the league will be more compact.

“How many points do we need? Enough to stay in the Championship. I don’t think you can say a number but what we have now is not enough. It’s a long battle.”

But one looking a lot more winnable than at the start of March.

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