AFTER slipping from the play-off places to the bottom half of the Championship courtesy of a seven-game winless run, Huddersfield Town fans could be forgiven for wanting just one present this Christmas – three points.
The Terriers’ slump in form has come as a major surprise after such an encouraging start to life back in the Championship.
However, there were sufficient positive signs in Town’s performance against Crystal Palace at the weekend to suggest a corner has been turned and manager Simon Grayson believes his side are ready to turn round their recent poor run of form.
He said: “Christmas is a busy time and I did have our lads in this year on Christmas Day. I’ve done it different ways in different years and I don’t think there is any one right or wrong way.
“I just felt this year it would be best if we had the lads in to give ourselves the best possible preparation for a tough game.”
With Blackpool the festive visitors to the John Smith’s Stadium, Grayson is hoping for a repeat of what he considers one of Town’s best displays of the season when goals from Lee Novak, Oliver Norwood and James Vaughan sealed a 3-1 win at Bloomfield Road in late September that nudged the Yorkshire club up to second.
The Terriers chief said: “From start to finish and in terms of a performance across the full 90 minutes, I would say Blackpool away was one of our best this season.
“I thought we controlled the game against a very good side who, at the time, were flying. We created a lot of chances and really played to our strengths.
“We caused Blackpool problems all night and I don’t think they could complain to lose.”
Asked if the manner of Town’s win at Bloomfield Road was made all the more satisfying by him having both played and managed Blackpool, Grayson replied: “I wouldn’t say it was any more satisfying because it was against my old club. Not at all. I have a lot of respect for the teams I have been at in my career.
“The only pleasing aspect was how we played and the result, the opposition made no difference.”
Anthony Gerrard is available today despite being sent off in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.
The 26-year-old has appealed against his controversial red card for a challenge on Yannick Bolasie but the FA will not sit until later this week due to the Christmas break.
That means Gerrard is free to face the Seasiders. Should his appeal fail, the defender will start the three-game suspension in Saturday’s derby at home to Sheffield Wednesday.
Last six games: Huddersfield Town DLLDLD, Blackpool DDWDWL.
Referee: N Miller (County Durham).
Last time: Huddersfield Town 0 Blackpool 2; April 9, 2007; League One.