HUDDERSFIELD TOWN head coach David Wagner is confident that his side can replicate history for the third season running by producing a strong finish to the calendar year after some late autumn difficulties.
Since taking over at the club in November 2015, Wagner has presided over just one win in eight league outings in the penultimate month of the year, which has proved somewhat problematic.
By contrast, the German has enjoyed victories in seven matches during the festive month of December since heading to West Yorkshire.
Town’s ability to turn around indifferent November statistics is likely to provide supporters with succour ahead of a frenetic month that sees Wagner’s troops face critical home matches with Brighton and Hove Albion, Chelsea, Stoke City and Burnley and trips to the likes of Watford and Southampton.
Wagner’s side head into today’s encounter with Brighton on the back of a four-match losing Premier League sequence, but the Town chief is steadfastly focusing on the bigger picture and remaining calm, with his side still having a five-point buffer above the relegation zone.
Wagner, whose 16th-placed side have never lost five successive matches in all competitions under his watch, said: “All three Novembers I spent here were not the most successful. In my first November, we lost three of the first four.
“But every single year we fixed and changed it, and we will work as hard as we can to turn it around this year.
“I think this (run) is not something we enjoy, to have a few defeats in a row.
“But we have experience in the last two years of less successful periods and we were always able to come through it and bounce back.
“We have to be honest to ourselves; it should not be a surprise that this can happen in the Premier League,” Wagner added.
“We will try everything to get the turnaround (against Brighton). It is a massive game.
“We are very happy to get the chance to play at home. The stadium will be full of energy. Our home record is good and now we play a home game.
“Everybody is smart enough to realise that our position is comfortable from my point of view. We lost four games in a row, but we are above the relegation zone and we have Brighton at home.
“If you had offered me 15 points after 15 games and Brighton at home, I would say, ‘Absolutely. Bring me to this position without the preparation you have to do for these 15 games’.
“What happened for us so far was not a surprise for me. We are calm and relaxed, but efficient enough to do our job.”
Firmly casting aside notions that this month could be the most challenging of his reign, with seven games crammed into the month, Wagner countered: “My most challenging month was the first month when I arrived.
“I did not know the league, my players or the football club, I knew nothing. We were two points above the relegation zone. This feels like a holiday, to be fair.”
Pressure may be somewhat relative as far as Wagner is concerned, but he is also the first to acknowledge that Town’s difficulties on the road have heightened the need to keep their solid home form firmly on the straight and narrow.
All told, Town have picked up more home points than eight fellow top-flight sides.
By contrast their form on their travels is the third-worst in the division with a mammoth 642 playing minutes having elapsed since they scored in an away league fixture – way back on the opening day of the season on August 12.
That came in their 3-0 win at Crystal Palace, with Huddersfield having lost six of their seven away league matches since, picking up just a solitary point from a possible 21 and failing to find the net in over 10 and a half playing hours.
Admitting that such statistics heighten the need to continue chiselling out results at home, Wagner said: “Yes, there is no doubt about it.
“If you do not win away it puts more pressure on you to win at home. This is what we have done so far.
“It does not make it easier, but it gives you more confidence to perform at your best level.
“It is important, if you want to survive, to collect some points against the big six and some away points.
“We have so far a very good home record. We have lost only against Tottenham and Manchester City. In most of the games, we have performed.
“That is our aim for Saturday.”
Match preview: Page 3.