JUST four of Huddersfield Town’s expected starting XI today were at the club when promotion was clinched in the most nerve-jangling of fashions last May.
Christopher Schindler, the scorer of ‘that’ penalty to settle the shoot-out, is one of the quartet, along with Rajiv Van la Parra, Collin Quaner and Jonathan Hogg. Danny Williams, again expected to deputise for the injured Aaron Mooy in central midfield, was in the Reading side beaten that afternoon under the Arch.
A need to adapt to the increased demands of the Premier League explains why there are likely to be seven players in the team taking on Spurs who were not at the club nine months ago but David Wagner insists that has not dampened the excitement levels among his squad.
“For our players, occasions like a trip to Wembley are something that you usually don’t have every single week or month,” said the German head coach.
“Of course, everyone is excited about it. That we are able to meet Tottenham with the positive momentum we have at the minute, after the recent games in which we played well and where we scored goals, is a positive thing.
“This makes it better for us. At the end, we have to make sure that we perform again, that we show exactly the same desire and passion that we have shown in the past.
“We must really try to perform at our best, even if we do not get the result that we hope for, like against Manchester United (who Town beat 2-1 in October).”
Huddersfield headed south earlier than planned yesterday by train in an attempt to avoid suffering any unnecessary disruption from the snow and ice that has covered much of the country for the past 72 or so hours.
“We have been able to do everything we wanted to do,” said Wagner when asked if the Arctic conditions had disrupted his training schedule.
“But there was a lot of work to do to make that happen. So, I would like to praise and thank everyone who helped. All the departments, who helped to prepare the pitch so the players were able to follow the training programme.
“What they had to do has shown how tight and together this club is. When we need each other, everyone is here and helps.”
As for tackling in-form Spurs, the Terriers chief added: “If we get a result, it would be great. If not, we have to accept that. I have said before that you have to make sure you deal with defeats in the last 10 games because all of the teams who are fighting for survival will concede defeats.”