HUDDERSFIELD TOWN head coach Jan Siewert plans to seek the counsel of predecessor David Wagner in his quest to keep the club in the Premier League.
The 36-year-old will take charge of his third game tomorrow when Arsenal travel to the John Smith’s Stadium.
Back-to-back defeats to Everton and Chelsea mean Siewert is still seeking his first point and first goal in English football.
He admits he is still learning about Huddersfield and is looking forward to gaining the insight of the man who led the Yorkshire club into the top flight before then keeping them there last season.
“David has been on holiday,” said the new Terriers chief. “I do not know where he has gone, but, hopefully, he has enjoyed it.
“I will talk to him when he is back. We agreed to phone each other then. He did a great job here. That is why I want to chat with him and we will do this next week. That will be good for me.”
Huddersfield sit 13 points adrift of safety after losing 11 of their last 12 league games. It is a run that has seen Town’s hopes of survival written off.
“I won’t agree at all,” countered Siewert ahead of tackling the Gunners. “As long as it is mathematically possible – and everything is possible – I still believe. That is what I am working towards.
“The way we work gives me that belief. I definitely feel optimism. Even the Chelsea game, although I didn’t like the result at all, the way we created chances makes me positive.
“I realised when I arrive that the team had only 13 goals; I am working on improving that.
“It is important everyone still believes. It cannot be done like a magician. Things take time. Of course, in football it is normal not to have time, but I am seeing the development of the squad.”
Town last beat Arsenal in January, 1971, more than 11 years before Siewert was born. “We are fighting history and that means we change it,” said the German.
Those attempts to end a near 50-year wait to get the better of the Gunners will not be helped by a couple of injury and fitness issues.
Isaac Mbenza is out for six weeks with a torn calf suffered less than half an hour into the 5-0 loss at Stamford Bridge.
Siewert also feels Philip Billing and Aaron Mooy are not yet fully up to speed with their fitness after spells on the sidelines with injury, while Chris Lowe has been troubled by a virus this week.
Danny Williams (knee) and Abdelhamid Sabiri (shoulder) also remain out, but Jonathan Hogg is available after sitting out the Chelsea defeat with a back problem. Erik Durm also returns from a foot injury.
“He was totally disappointed,” said Siewert about the lengthy absence facing Mbenza. “Every time a player from a team gets injured that always hurts me.”
Arsenal have their own problems on the road. Defeat at Manchester City last weekend was the third in a row away from the Emirates Stadium for Unai Emery’s side.
The Gunners are boosted by the return of Laurent Koscielny and top goalscorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the latter having been at Borussia Dortmund during Siewert’s spell in charge of the club’s reserve team.
“I enjoy seeing players from the past, but for this game he is my enemy,” joked the Terriers’ chief when asked about tomorrow’s reunion.
On the challenge of tackling Arsenal, Siewert added: “A big English team and, in history, a fantastic team. But I must focus on us.
“In the Everton game and the Chelsea game the players run a lot. They need intensity. Against Arsenal it will be physical and we will have to run a lot because they will run a lot.
“Arsenal are very flexible in the way they play. They are quick up front, very good in possession. I am looking forward to facing them.”