Huddersfield Town v Bournemouth: Terriers are no longer flying under Championship radar

Huddersfield Town have probably slightly resented being talked down all season but now Championship opponents are showing a bit more respect, it is proving a double-edged sword.

However, Matty Pearson is expecting a more positive approach from Bournemouth in today’s second-versus-third clash at the John Smith’s Stadium that should suit the hosts.

The Terriers’ promotion hopes have constantly been written off by people looking harder at their record in recent years and their budget than at what they have been doing in 2021-22.

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Judging by recent matches, though, the penny seems to have finally dropped with opponents that they are not third by some sort of freak accident.

Huddersfield Town's Matty Pearson. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Wednesday at Millwall was the first time Huddersfield had lost in the Championship since November. “I think we went through a patch maybe a month ago where teams under-estimated us,” says centre-back Pearson. “We were playing some of our best football and teams probably weren’t expecting what hit them.

“It’s definitely the case that teams are starting to value us as a team with the way they’re starting to set up against us but we need to come together and think of plans to break teams down that sit off us and maybe let us have the ball.

“Sometimes you want them to come at you a bit more to allow you to play your game and find the spaces further up the pitch but we’ve played quite a lot of games recently where teams have sat off us.

“We’re always vulnerable to the counter-attack then so we need to find solutions and I’m sure we will.”

With the expectations on them, Bournemouth – just three points above Huddersfield but with three games in hand – should be different but having won at Fulham last month, Town will not be intimidated.

“Hopefully, Bournemouth will suit us better,” says Pearson. “They won’t sit off us because they’ve got good players who can hurt us so we need to be on it defensively.

“Hopefully, it can work a little bit to our advantage to get space up the pitch.

“We’ve played against some good teams in that unbeaten run, it wasn’t just playing against lower teams, so it’s definitely given us belief against the bigger teams.

“The Fulham game was a typical example of how we can go home and away and pick up points.”

Huddersfield became the last team in England to lose their unbeaten start to 2022 when Nottingham Forest knocked them out of the FA Cup last week, and now they have lost in the Championship too, for the first time in 18 games.

But one of the big factors in defying the odds is the mentality of hardened professionals such as former Barnsley and Halifax Town defender Pearson.

He insists there have been no dramas caused by Wednesday’s result.

“Everyone’s just as normal, we’re still in a great position,” he says. “We’re not going to let this affect us. It’s business as usual.

“It’s not nice to lose but it’s always going to happen at some stage, you can’t win every game and especially in this league, everyone loses.

“It’s now time to bounce back.

“We’re not going to dwell on it. We’ve got games every three days, or we have had, so there’s no time to dwell.

“It’s nice to know we’ve got a game to put it right today,” he added.

“We need to be performing, that’s what’s he (coach Carlos Corberan) said (after the defeat). We probably didn’t perform as well as we could have done, that was his message.

“If we perform better, we’ll get the result, as we saw in our previous games.

“His message was mainly on performance, not too much about the result.

“It was mainly about our standards in the game.”

Never mind not wanting to dwell on defeat, Corberan says there has been no time.

“We arrived (home) at 4am (on Thursday),” he explained. “We were here (at the training ground) in the morning but it was just for recovery because after preparing with a lot of intensity for the game, the only important thing was the recovery.

“I won’t focus on the past, I will focus now on how today’s game is going to be. I don’t think we needed to continue the unbeaten run to perform well in the games coming up.”

Levi Colwill is in the England Under-21 squad to face Andorra and Albania in the European Championship qualifiers. Fellow Chelsea loanee Tino Anjorin is in the Under-20s squad.