Southampton v Huddersfield Town: Wagner has Hoyle’s backing to keep Terriers’ squad intact

Huddersfield Town owner Dean Hoyle, left, with head coach David Wagner (Picture: Tony Johnson).
Huddersfield Town owner Dean Hoyle, left, with head coach David Wagner (Picture: Tony Johnson).
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HEAD COACH David Wagner has vowed that none of Huddersfield Town’s key performers will be leaving during the January transfer window.

The Terriers have enjoyed a hugely encouraging first few months in the Premier League and head to Southampton today sitting 11th in the table. With the trip to St Mary’s representing the halfway stage of the season, Huddersfield can be extremely pleased with their efforts.

What this unexpectedly smooth adaptation to life among the elite has done is thrust several of Wagner’s squad on to the radar of other clubs.

Christopher Schindler, for instance, has been a revelation at centre-half while Aaron Mooy has continued the form that made the Australian the standout midfielder in last season’s Championship.

Both have attracted admirers among Wagner’s fellow top-flight managers, as have strike duo Laurent Depoitre and Steve Mounie. The Town chief, however, insists anyone hoping to lure away his better players in January should think again.

The 46-year-old German said: “I can make it totally clear and say loudly because I have spoken with Dean (Hoyle), our owner, and we are totally on the same page – no player will leave our club in this transfer window if I don’t want to send him on loan or sell him.

“This is the truth and this will happen. This is for sure something that is important for us.

“There will be no outgoings without my permission. This is guaranteed.”

Town spent an unprecedented £33.7m on transfers during the summer window and smashed their club record fee three times.

The value of that recruitment can be seen in Huddersfield’s mid-table position after collecting six wins from their opening 18 games.

Mounie led the outlay in a £11.5m deal, but there were also substantial sums spent on Mooy (£8m), Tom Ince (£7.25m) and Scott Malone (£5m). Both Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jorgensen and Depoitre arrived for £3.5m apiece to underline how well the Terriers fared in the last window.

With the market set to open again in a little over a week, all eyes will be on what additions Wagner plans to make.

At the moment, Town are yet to replace former head of football operations David Moss following his departure in October.

The search has been on-going for the best part of two months, but with an appointment not believed to be imminent, Wagner is planning for the window without additional help.

Asked if talks had taken place with owner Hoyle over the impending resumption of the transfer market, Wagner replied: “Yes, of course. We have spoken about it so he is aware of my ideas and, like always, we have to have our eye on the market.

“If you ask me if we will bring some players in, I cannot answer this question. At the minute, this is uncertain.

“But I can live with everything. If we find someone and try to bring them in, then great. But if not, I am happy with the players I have.

“For me, it is very important – and we are totally clear on this – that in this window we will keep these players together. This is the first transfer (window) when we will keep all our players.

“As to whether we then add players to our group, to be honest this is not something right now I can say because we have four games before January 1 and no one knows what will happen in the next four games.

“My thoughts can totally change in nine days because of these four games. This is why I cannot seriously answer the question. But if we need to, I have a feeling we are prepared.”

Huddersfield have already suffered a fair share of injury problems this season with Elias Kachunga, last season’s top scorer, ruled out for up to three months just last weekend after sustaining a knee injury in the 4-1 win at Watford.

Kasey Palmer also spent a lengthy spell on the sidelines, while fellow long-term absentees Michael Hefele, Philip Billing and Jon Gorenc Stankovic are not expected to return until the new year.

Any further additions to that list may yet dictate what direction Town take in the window, though Wagner is at pains to stress that his priority right now is today’s long trip to Southampton.

The Terriers will be buoyed by last weekend’s spectacular banishing of the club’s away-day blues with a 4-1 triumph at Watford.

It was their first win and first goals on the road since the opening day of the season and left Wagner delighted.

“We felt all along the victory was just around the corner,” he added. “We could have scored more goals, but it was a great afternoon to get that away win.

“I will not say it took a weight off my shoulders. I did not feel a big weight when we played Watford. I was totally confident we would be able to perform.

“I was aware about our away record. I did not like it, but that did not change what I judged of our performances, even when the results were not there.”

The 472-mile round trip to St Mary’s kick-starts a hectic period that will include Town playing back-to-back home games against Stoke City on Boxing Day and Burnley on December 30 before then making the New Year’s Day trip to Leicester City.

“Everything we have done this week has been about Southampton,” added the Huddersfield chief. “Nothing about Stoke. That is the key, nothing else makes sense.

“One game can change so many things. It makes no sense to look too far ahead. The good thing is our analysis department is so strong they can share the work across the week, they can prepare for the opponent after this opponent. But, for us, our thoughts are totally on Southampton. They are a good club.”

Asked if there were similarities between his side and 12th-placed Saints, Wagner added: “I wish there was. Southampton are on a totally different level in terms of budget, their individuals, the names they have and how long they have been in the Premier League.

“That, though, doesn’t change that we play in the same division and that our first meeting (a goalless draw in August at the John Smith’s) was a good game. Now, we have the second leg.”