Clark determined Town will emerge from the pack

with the League One promotion race shaping up to produce a similar finish to last season when a host of sides were still chasing automatic promotion on the final day, Huddersfield Town manager Lee Clarks believes “six or seven” clubs are still firmly in the hunt for a place in the top two.

The Terriers gave their own hopes a major lift in midweek with a hard-fought victory at Hartlepool United, a result that has left Clark’s men just two points behind second-placed Bournemouth after 33 games.

Leaders Brighton & Hove Albion are four points in front of the Cherries and have two games in hand, meaning Gus Poyet’s men are overwhelming favourites to go up.

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After the Seagulls, however, the promotion picture is very tight – meaning the third tier could be in for a repeat of last season when Leeds sealed second place behind runaway leaders Norwich City only after a dramatic run-in.

Clark, whose Town side were one of five chasing automatic promotion on the final day of last term, said: “There will be some real twists and turns before the end of the season, without a doubt.

“Brighton have an indifferent result and then kick on again; they don’t have runs of games where they don’t pick up many points.

“But, otherwise, it is looking very, very tight. There are possibly six or seven of us looking for an automatic promotion place and we need to win as many of our remaining 13 games as possible to try and get that.

“At the moment, the lads are showing me they can handle the expectations placed on them. But we haven’t really hit the pressure period yet. That will be the same for everyone, even the lads at Brighton as I wouldn’t have thought many of their squad have been in this situation before either.

“The lads have to grasp this and enjoy the occasion.”

Tuesday’s win at Hartlepool meant Town extended League One’s only remaining unbeaten record in 2011. More importantly, however, it brought to an end a run of four draws, the most recent of which had seen 10-man Leyton Orient grab a last-minute draw at the Galpharm Stadium.

Clark said: “It was important to get back to winning ways. Even though we have been on this unbeaten run, what happened against Orient, conceding a two-goal lead, can have a psychological effect on players.”