WITH a return of just three points from a possible 24 and a first double defeat to neighbours Leeds United since before the Second World War, Huddersfield Town, it is surely fair to say, did not enjoy derby football last season.
Just five goals were scored in those eight all-Yorkshire contests, too, compared to the 14 that the Terriers conceded against Leeds, Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham United.
The challenge this time around, therefore, is to improve on that winless record against their White Rose brethren – starting with today’s opening day trip to the East Riding to take on newly-relegated Hull City.
“All the derbies matter and we need to improve our own derby record after last season,” admitted manager Chris Powell to The Yorkshire Post. “Even at Barnsley (in last week’s final pre-season friendly), it didn’t happen for us as we lost 2-1.
“We need to break that hoodoo and we need to break it as a team. That said, for me it is irrelevant who we play in the first game. It is a huge game whether you are away or at the John Smith’s, that is how it is with first games.”
Town fans know better than most the havoc that an opening-day reverse can have on a club.
Twelve months ago, Town’s 4-0 home loss to a Bournemouth side who would be crowned champions nine months later led to Mark Robins quitting that same night.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Terriers took some time to get going as a team and won just one of their opening eight games.
Powell, however, managed to turn things round in impressive fashion in the wake of a 3-0 loss at Elland Road that left Huddersfield in the bottom three.
Town finished in 16th place and were just a couple of points behind Yorkshire rivals Leeds and the Owls, and eight points ahead of fourth-bottom Rotherham.
Only Boro were streets ahead of Huddersfield, making a mockery of the club’s troubles against teams from within the Broad Acres.
Powell added: “We know we are playing an ex-Premier League side who have quality. We have got to be right and be ready for it because Hull do have players who have played at a higher level internationally.
“But that it is what we are up against in this league. We are on the same field as Hull and that makes me and my players feel good, as we have earned that right to play against them.”