Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United: David Wagner aims to deliver as Town make home bow

Huddersfield Town head coach David Wagner: Relishing prospect of tackling Newcastle United.
Huddersfield Town head coach David Wagner: Relishing prospect of tackling Newcastle United.
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DAVID WAGNER has urged Huddersfield Town to tomorrow ride the wave of euphoria generated by their shock opening-day win when top-flight football returns after a 45-year absence.

The Terriers, fresh from a 3-0 triumph at Crystal Palace, host Newcastle United in front of not only a sold-out John Smith’s Stadium but also with millions watching around the globe.

Winning on the opening day was pleasing. Of course, it is only one game. But it was the perfect result for us, as it helps to have more trust, belief and confidence.

David Wagner

Last May’s promotion had already fired the imagination of the West Yorkshire town but the manner of that stunning win at Selhurst Park means excitement is approaching fever pitch ahead of taking on Rafael Benitez’s men.

“Expectations are rising but I will not stop that because we also have expectations,” Wagner told The Yorkshire Post. “We were very happy with our start and are very excited to have our first Premier League home game in history.

“I am very excited about this game and have so much trust and belief in our supporters that it will be an extraordinary atmosphere. We had a great atmosphere when we got promoted last season but now our supporters will deliver something totally special. I am sure of that.

“This will give everyone a lift to make the dirty yards against Newcastle, to make it as uncomfortable as possible for them. For this, we need Premier League support on Sunday. For the first time in 45 years, we are at the highest level. We must all be together.”

A measure of just how long it is since Huddersfield last hosted top-flight football comes via Wagner being just five months old when Wolverhampton Wanderers brought the curtain down on a sorry Leeds Road campaign with a 1-0 victory in April, 1972.

Relegation was confirmed by that loss on the penultimate weekend and, until last season, the Yorkshire club had rarely looked like returning to the top table of English football.

Now, though, all eyes will be on Huddersfield tomorrow for what Wagner admits will be a special occasion for the town.

He said: “From everything we have done in preparing the team, it is similar. This is a home game, an opponent who we have tried to find out what to do to cause them problems. This is business as usual, always the same focus.

“But, when we come out of the tunnel in the minutes before kick-off, I expect it will be extraordinary. We have to make sure this continues after the first whistle.

“Then, hopefully, this gives us the lift we need to be successful.

“Winning on the opening day was pleasing. Of course, it is only one game. But it was the perfect result for us, as it helps to have more trust, belief and confidence.

“We are inexperienced in this division so it is even more important to have quick points on the board to lift confidence.”

Town beat Newcastle in the second game of last season to set the tone for one of the more remarkable promotions to the Premier League. Building on the confidence boost of beating Palace, therefore, would be a major lift.

Wagner, meanwhile, has confirmed that Town’s pursuit of Barnsley full-back Andy Yiadom during the current transfer window is over.

After having a couple of offers rebuffed earlier in the summer, the Terriers struck a £2m deal with the Reds for the 25-year-old only for the move to break down in midweek.

“I don’t like to go into details because he isn’t our player,” said Wagner. “But it wasn’t a financial reason, either between us and the player or Barnsley and us.

“The deal is dead, in this window the deal will not happen. Everything else should be answered by Barnsley or the player, why we are not able to come together.”

Asked if this meant there was credence in suggestions that Yiadom had failed a medical, Wagner replied: “He isn’t our player. This is something for Barnsley to answer.”

As for Huddersfield’s recruitment plans in the final 12 days of the window, Wagner added: “We have our eyes on the market, this is our job, it could happen in both directions – both in and out –- in the next couple of weeks.

“For all of us, the next games are very important. Like our first game against Crystal Palace gave us a better picture, a better idea about the possibility of players competing in this division.

“Pre-season was important but competitive games give you the right picture in detail. That is why it is so important to play the game on Sunday and the cup game on Wednesday.

“Then, Southampton before the window closes. We need these games to get our heads around what we need to do, both ins and outs.”

Kasey Palmer big-match interview: Page 3.