DAVID WAGNER has declared Huddersfield Town’s recruitment in the January transfer window to be complete – barring his squad suffering any serious injuries later this month.
The Terriers have added two new faces, Norwich City’s attacking midfielder Alex Pritchard for around £11m and Monaco defender Terence Kongolo on loan.
Both new signings could start tomorrow at third-bottom Stoke City as Town look to put more distance between themselves and the relegation zone.
Wagner, who allowed Kasey Palmer to return to parent club Chelsea earlier this month after an injury-dogged first half of the campaign, is delighted with his two new additions after identifying the left side of defence and a number ‘10’ as his main targets for improvement in January.
“We have done our business,” said the Huddersfield chief after being asked if speculation on the continent over possible moves for Borussia Dortmund defender Neven Subotic or Chievo midfielder Samuel Bastian had any credence.
“I am very happy with the players we have.
“Of course, this can change but, if everything goes to plan, we have done what we have to do.
“We had 22 players in training yesterday and I only needed 20 for what I wanted to do.
“We will also have 23 next week (when Martin Cranie returns from injury) so I am happy.
“Of course, I know them (Subotic and Bastian) very well. Subotic is a very good guy and character but everyone knows in the centre-back position, we have no pressure.
Don’t waste your time (coming on January 31). Stay in the studio.A smiling David Wagner to the Sky reporter
“Maybe I can cancel this (any more questions about possible transfers) for the rest of the window. We have done our business. So ‘no’ to all the other names (linked with Town) as well.
“No-one knows what can happen in the next two-and-a-half weeks but I am very happy with what we have done.
“You have to have more targets (going into the window) because you can never have just one solution. A lot of options that you, at first, think are options are not options. I am very happy with the work that we have done.”
Wagner further reiterated this point to Sky Sports News, who had a reporter at Town’s Canalside training ground throughout the final day of the summer window.
“Don’t waste your time (coming on January 31),” said the 46-year-old with a smile. “Stay in the studio.”
Pritchard and Kongolo both made their Premier League bows for Town from the bench in last weekend’s 4-1 defeat at home to West Ham United.
The cameo from Pritchard was one of the few plusses for the Terriers on an otherwise chastening afternoon and he seems certain to come into the side to face Stoke.
Asked what the former Norwich man will bring to Huddersfield, Wagner replied: “Creativity. He really likes to play football in tight spaces and he is confident enough to ask for the ball.
“He can create and score goals. He is the type of player we wanted in our squad. He showed against West Ham with the ball that he has a lot of things to give us.
“We have worked with him on grass and video, and he is learning as quick as he can about how we play the game.”
Kongolo, too, could be handed a start in the Potteries, though Chris Lowe’s return to fitness after a niggling foot problem over the festive period means the German may get the nod at left-back in place of Scott Malone.
For Stoke, Kostas Stafylidis, Paul Lambert’s first signing since succeeding Mark Hughes as manager at the Bet 365 Stadium, is expected to come in at left-back to bolster a defence with the worst record in the Premier League.
Lambert’s presence in the home dugout following his appointment on Monday adds further intrigue to an already fascinating clash between two sides separated in the table by just four points.
As Huddersfield discovered when facing Everton in Sam Allardyce’s first game at the helm last December, a ‘new manager bounce’ can be apparent in the top flight.
“We are aware of it,” added the German about a possible lift for Stoke due to Lambert making his bow. “But do I have it in my mind? No. You have to be focused on what you have to do.
“We have to make ourselves independent from circumstances. We have to play at our best, make our details right and follow our gameplan.
“Of course, you never like to play against a team that has changed their manager. But, good or otherwise, it is nothing that bothers me.
“We played Stoke three or four weeks ago (when the Boxing Day clash at the John Smith’s Stadium finished 1-1), so we are totally aware of them. Plus, we have played Lambert twice as a manager – once with Blackburn, when we won (2-0), and another with Wolves, when we also won 1-0. So we are aware of his mindset and we do not expect any major surprises.”