LAURENT DEPOITRE hopes lightning will strike twice for him tomorrow night.
Kept on the bench for Saturday’s fourth-round tie, the Belgian looks set to get the nod to lead Town’s attack against Liverpool despite Steve Mounie being on target against Birmingham.
Depoitre, of course, was Town’s goal-scoring hero as they brought Manchester United’s unbeaten start to the season to a halt with a 2-1 home win in mid-October. Now he hopes to repeat the feat against another of the Premier League’s big-hitters.
Depoitre was disappointed to see his colleagues being held to a draw by the Championship strugglers but was happy that strike rival Mounie had found the net.
Town’s £11.5m record signing from Montpellier has not enjoyed the best service in recent weeks as Town have slipped into a Premier League relegation fight but when right-back Florent Hadergjonaj took a return pass from Collin Quaner, the Frenchman raced towards the near post to head home the delivery from seven yards midway through the first half.
Depoitre said: “He’s a very good friend. He speaks French as well like me, so we are very close. We know we are two players fighting for one position and the coach likes to rotate so we try to do our best when we play.
“I’m happy for him. It’s good for his confidence and for the team. I don’t know if it will make it harder for me to get back in the team. We work hard every day but let the coach decide.”
With relegation fights ahead – Birmingham entertain Sunderland tomorrow – both sides made seven changes and it is likely that Town will have their regular centre-back pairing restored against Liverpool.
“I hope (Christopher) Schindler and Zanka (Mathias Jorgensen) both have a great game because Liverpool have one of the best attacks in the world at the moment. We saw Swansea beat them recently so why not us?,” continued Depoitre ahead of tomorrow’s visitors making their Cup exit at home to West Bromwich.
“Liverpool are a very good team, they have great players. I scored against Manchester United and I hope that I can score against them as well. We will see but we need the points as it is very close at the bottom of the rankings.”
This was one of the reasons why we celebrated like we did when we won the Wembley play-off final because we would be able to host such opponents on Tuesday nights in front of the cameras.Huddersfield Town manager, David Wagner
As for Town’s survival prospects, he continued: “I am quite confident that we will stay up with the group we have and the mentality we have. We have to fight in every game and we know it’s going to be very tough, but everyone can beat everyone in the Premier League. They have so much quality, but it’s not just about two or three players, there’s 11 players on the pitch against 11 players, so you never know.”
As for head coach David Wagner’s closeness to Anfield chief Jurgen Klopp, he added: “We are aware of his friendship with Liverpool’s manager, but we prepare for this game the same as any other game – there is no difference.
“We’ll not be friends with Liverpool. He’s friends with their manager, but that’s not our problem. There’s no more pressure because of that.”
Wagner agreed, stating: “This is personal, special but the game stands on its own, Liverpool against Huddersfield Town. Twelve months ago no-one expected this would be possible but we have it.
“This was one of the reasons why we celebrated like we did when we won the Wembley play-off final because we would be able to host such opponents on Tuesday nights in front of the cameras. We will be there to give it a go and give Liverpool a real fight.”
Wagner was disappointed that Town were taken to a replay but he said his primary reason for making so many changes was to give fringe players game-time rather than others a breather.
The way Birmingham equalised shortly after the break highlighted the rustiness in some. Goalkeeper Joel Coleman made a poor clearance up to Cohen Bramall, who fed the ball out wide to Lukas Jutkiewicz.
The striker’s low cross was easily cut out by Michael Hefele but the German dallied in possession, Jutkiewicz zipped across and robbed him and drove the ball into the far corner. The Birmingham front man also headed home from an offside position and brought the best out of Coleman but David Stockdale was the busier goalkeeper.
He kept out Philip Billing’s fizzing drive and raced out to block from substitute Joe Lolley, who pepped up the attack only to blaze over in stoppage time.
As for if the Cup is losing its lustre, Wagner commented: “To be totally honest, I have not maybe been in England long enough to know. It has allowed for a lot of changes and it is an important competition.
“A lot of players need minutes to come to their best and this is why every game is very welcome even if we did not want a rematch. But now we have it, we accept it.
“The mistakes we made, if they had had a lot of minutes in their legs, then maybe they would not have made them when conceding their goal.
“Tuesday will be a different atmosphere. The stands will be electric, the excitement will be there and you cannot compare today with what will happen then.”
Huddersfield Town: Coleman, Hadergjonaj, Hefele, Kongolo, Lowe (Malone 82); Hogg, Williams (Billing 31); Quaner, Sabiri, Van la Parra (Lolley 57); Mounie. Unused substitutes: Lossl, Smith, Depoitre, Schindler.
Birmingham City: Stockdale, Morrison, Roberts, Dean (Grounds 46); Jenkinson, Lowe (Gardner 88), Jota, N’Doye, Bramall; Adams (Boga 76), Jutkiewicz. Unused substitutes: Trueman, Dacres-Cogley, Seddon, Lakin.
Referee: N Swarbrick (Lancs).