MIDFIELDER Joe Lolley believes Huddersfield Town can finish in the top half of the Championship for the first time in 16 years.
The Terriers host Wolverhampton Wanderers today sitting 17th in the table.
Last weekend’s victory at Nottingham Forest was the club’s first in five league outings, but the manner of the performance has raised hopes at the John Smith’s Stadium of a strong finish to the season.
“The win took the pressure off,” said Lolley, who has started seven of the last eight games for Town. “But now we look forward and want to kick on. We want to finish in the top half this season. We want to kick on after the Forest win.”
Lolley’s run in the team has come despite head coach David Wagner sensing, after taking charge in November, that the former Kidderminster Harriers midfielder had more to offer than he was showing on a regular basis.
The German felt Lolley needed to be more professional in his attitude and also improve his fitness, both points that were made in conversations between the pair.
Wagner’s words clearly hit home and Lolley, a £300,000 signing early in 2014, has become a feature of the starting XI just a few months after being loaned to League One side Scunthorpe United.
“The run of games has really helped me,” said the 23-year-old, who recently signed a contract extension to 2019 with Town, having the option of adding another 12 months. “I needed that, as my body seems to cramp up more than others do.”
The game with Wolves is the first of three inside a week for Huddersfield, who travel to Milton Keynes Dons on Tuesday and then welcome Ipswich Town to the John Smith’s Stadium four days later.
Jamie Paterson, whom Wagner would like to sign on a permanent basis next summer, returns to the squad after being ineligible against parent club Forest at the City Ground, while Ishmael Miller has this week returned to training after a long lay-off.
Sean Scannell (knee) and Emyr Huws (ankle) are both missing, while Joel Lynch goes into the game knowing that one more booking will take him to 10 for the season and incur a two-game ban.
Last six games: Huddersfield Town DLLLLW Wolverhampton Wanderers WLDDDL.
Referee: K Wright (Merseyside).
Last time: Huddersfield 1 Wolverhampton 4; February 10, 2015; Championship.