Manchester City v Huddersfield Town: Guard of honour is all Terriers plan to give champions

Collin Quaner: Breakings forward in last season's FA Cup replay, the Town striker is ready to face 'Manchester City.
Collin Quaner: Breakings forward in last season's FA Cup replay, the Town striker is ready to face 'Manchester City.
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FIRST the bad news for Huddersfield Town.

Pep Guardiola is adamant his Manchester City side will not ease up despite the title having been wrapped up long ago.

Various Premier League records beckon and the demanding Blues manager wants every single one of them.

Most wins, most goals and most points can all be claimed tomorrow along with the trophy that will be presented to captain Vincent Kompany.

The challenge facing the Terriers is how to put a dampener on those celebrations by stopping this footballing juggernaut.

It will not be easy, which brings us neatly on to the good news for Huddersfield. Or, more pertinently, the one sliver of hope that Town devotees can cling to before following their side across the Pennines to the home of the all-conquering champions.

Namely how this post-title call to finish with a flourish has been made unsuccessfully in the past by Guardiola when at the helm of Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

Both won their respective titles with six or seven games remaining only then to stumble towards the line.

Huddersfield, with four points from seven away games since the start of the year, have to hope City are similarly afflicted tomorrow.

“Everyone has seen what they are capable of doing,” said Collin Quaner when asked by The Yorkshire Post about a side that has swept almost all before them this season.

We know what we are capable of and we know what we have to do on Sunday. I can see in the dressing room that the belief is there.

Collin Quaner

“The way City play football is at a very high level. I am not sure it is the highest, but everyone can see how good they are. Their philosophy is to have big, big quality.

“But we know what we are capable of and we know what we have to do on Sunday. I can see in the dressing room that the belief is there.”

Town’s run-in – Wednesday’s trip to Chelsea will be followed by Arsene Wenger’s swansong in English football as Arsenal head to the John Smith’s Stadium a week tomorrow – is undoubtedly the most daunting of those battling to stay in the Premier League.

Few give Huddersfield a chance of claiming even a point, including the bookmakers, who slashed the odds dramatically on head coach David Wagner’s men avoiding the drop in the wake of last weekend’s defeat at home to Everton.

Town, of course, are determined to prove the doubters wrong by beating one of this final trio of opponents.

But if survival is to be earned via results elsewhere then today seems pivotal. Should Swansea City lose at Bournemouth and then Southampton do the same in the tea-time kick-off at Everton, Huddersfield’s position will have been strengthened considerably.

This is because the Saints then travel to the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday. Both teams cannot win, meaning the Terriers would then go into the final day with survival still in their own hands. The flipside, of course, is if Town’s two rivals both triumph today to leave Wagner’s men heading to the Etihad in the bottom three.

“I am quite good at shutting that out,” said Quaner when asked if all the various scenarios were keeping him awake at night.

“I do not focus on it. If I try to look at the league table, straight away I realise it is better to leave it alone. It doesn’t make sense.”

Town did make Guardiola’s Blues work hard for the three points in the West Riding earlier this season.

After taking the lead on the stroke of half-time Yorkshire’s sole top-flight representative looked to be on course for a point until Raheem Sterling popped up six minutes from time with the winner.

Following on from last season’s goalless draw in the FA Cup fifth round against City, admittedly before losing the replay 5-1, Huddersfield can at least claim to have given the Premier League club more worries than most in English football over the past 15 months.

“I don’t know if you can learn from already having played there, but we know what we have to expect on Sunday,” said Quaner, who started both Cup ties last term.

“We know everything about the ground, the pitch and the fans so we can take something out of this. It was a great experience playing there.

“It also showed me how important it is to work hard to stay in this division so we can play there again next season.”

Town are expected to form a guard of honour to welcome City onto the pitch ahead of kick-off.

Then, though, the niceties have to end as Town look to spoil not only the party, but also their hosts’ bid to claim those Premier League records for most wins, goals and points, which stand at 30, 103 and 95 respectively.

A victory over Town with City scoring at least twice will see all three records shattered, underlining the size of the task facing Wagner’s men.

“No matter who we play in the Premier League we are always the underdog,” added Quaner. “This is something we have managed in the past and we will manage in the future.

“When the fixtures came out and I saw Manchester City and Arsenal in the last week, I thought, ‘What a good way to finish the season’. Nothing else.

“This is one of the most exciting weeks in our lives and our careers. You feel the energy in your body and the excitement to get out there.

“Not one of us is thinking of going there to swap shirts with them or anything like that. We are fully focused on our task. We are going there to do our job and to give everything to stay in this division.”