HUDDERSFIELD and Burnley, former mill towns either side of the Pennines and separated by a distance of just 45 miles, have similarities that extend far beyond geography and industry.
In the footballing sphere both these venerable, humble football clubs can reflect upon some esteemed glory days of the past, with both sets of supporters also sharing a strong affiliation in terms of their adoration of a legendary forward in Steve Kindon – revered at both Turf Moor and the old Leeds Road back in the day.
Today the Clarets and Huddersfield Town are kindred spirits too as they fly the flag for the provincial north against the big-city clubs of Manchester, Liverpool and London in the Premier League.
The pair resume Roses acquaintance tomorrow in Lancashire with Town having drawn a great deal of inspiration from the recent feats of those in claret and blue, according to full-back Chris Lowe.
Just a few weeks ago some outside observers were alluding to the fact that Burnley’s bubble was in danger of bursting, with Sean Dyche’s side’s league form on the slide after a historic 2017-18 campaign.
Reference was made to Burnley being the victims of their own success, qualification for Europe for the first time in 51 years seemingly coming at a price, with the demands of combining Europa League football and the top-flight meaning something had to give.
So it was that Burnley found themselves among the early-season toilers – ahead of keynote wins over Bournemouth and Cardiff City that changed the landscape in a major way.
For a Huddersfield side who have not won in eight matches so far this season – and are without a victory in their last 12 – it provides a spot of hope as opposed to envy.
Lowe told The Yorkshire Post: “That shows how quickly that it can go in the other direction. So hopefully we can turn it around too.
“Two weeks ago they had one point out of five games and did not have a great start. Now they have won two games on the bounce and they are now speaking about a good start.
Of course, it is a different weekend if you are winning when you can just enjoy it and you do not think football any more. But if you are losing and in a position like we are, you think a little bit more.Chris Lowe
“You can turn it around quickly, but the thing is we have to start now. We have to start to collect points and get our first win to really turn it.”
Quietly-spoken, but clearly driven and determined with a steely look in his eye, Lowe has overcome his own obstacles to clear a path back to the first team and represents an example for Town to follow in their collective battle against adversity.
The German, who started exactly half of Town’s Premier League games last season, has now re-established himself as the club’s first-choice defensive option down the left and only three outfield players in Philip Billing, Terence Kongolo and Christopher Schindler have started more top-flight matches for the club so far in 2018-19.
Arguably Town’s most consistent performer this term, Lowe is pouring all his energies into the club providing an answer to those ready to pen the club’s Premier League obituary – not for the first time.
The former Kaiserslautern and Borussia Dortmund player said: “To be honest I think we are used to this. It has been exactly the same over the past two years.
“Nobody believed that we could gain promotion and nobody believed that we could stay up last year.
“I think we have showed what this club is all around and we always work as hard as we can, no matter what the situation is.
“We do not care about people outside of the club in the end as nobody believed in us in the last two years.
“So nobody will do it now. But we believe in ourselves, which is the most important thing. We are confident that we can turn it around.
“All we have to do is work as hard as we can to turn it around and prove them wrong again.”
You have to go back to mid-April for the last time that Town celebrated a three-point haul, with Tom Ince’s dramatic last-gasp winner coming against Watford at the John Smith’s Stadium.
It has been a lengthy wait since and while fans are currently being put through the mill and have endured a few ruined weekends since Spring, it is very much the same for the players.
Should Town prevail this afternoon then the roar from the away enclosure in the David Fishwick Stand is likely to be heard over the hills back in Huddersfield – and it would enable proud professionals like Lowe to sleep a little easier too.
He observed: “Of course it is a different weekend if you are winning when you can just enjoy it and you do not think football any more. But if you are losing and in a position like we are you think a little bit more.
“You try to find some solutions of what you can do better or what the problem is in terms of why you cannot win a game. But after one or two days you have to look forward to the next game.
“But in this situation it is hard to switch off. We know we have not done a great job in the first seven games points-wise and you are thinking about how you can turn things around. It is hard, but our job in the end and, hopefully, we can turn it around at Burnley.
“For sure we know that we are in a difficult situation at the minute and also a bit dangerous as two points out of seven games is not what we wanted.
“But our performances have been quite good over the last few weeks and if we keep performances going then the day will come when we can get three points.”