After the opening sparrings of the new season, several players marked the cards of supporters with accomplished displays in the August sun with Huddersfield Town afforded pride of place with four names in this weekend’s line-up. Here it is.
1: Danny Ward (Huddersfield Town). Did not have to pull off save after save, but what he did, he did pretty well. Looked comfortable and assured and made a few decent blocks. Looks to have top-flight attributes.
2: Nathaniel Knight-Pervical (Bradford City). The newcomer had a sound debut in the City defence and looked calm and unflappable. Went close to a goal, too.
3: James Wilson (Sheffield United). Solid and strong and hardly put a foot wrong. Easy to see why several League One rivals were also interested in the ex-Oldham man before the Blades won the day.
4: Sam Hutchinson (Sheffield Wednesday). Back to the future, having returned to his traditional preserve of defence. Won his fair share of headers and tackles and complimented Tom Lees well. A partnership in the making.
5: Tom Lees (Sheffield Wednesday). Carried on from where he left off in an outstanding 2015-16. No wonder he is so coveted with the likes of Burnley and Derby topping his list of admirers, with the Owls set to reward him with a new deal. Marvellous saving tackle to deny his ex-Leeds team-mate Ross McCormack a debut goal in the second half.
6: John Fleck (Sheffield United). Busy and bright and kept the Blades ticking over and pulled the strings in the middle of the park.
7: Will Vaulks (Rotherham United). Crowned an all-action display with a cracking first-half goal. Very encouraging bow, looks a ‘player.’
8: Nicky Law (Bradford City). Industrious and went close with two first-half efforts. At the heart of most things good for City. Showed his experience.
9: Elias Kachunga (Huddersfield Town). Worked his backside off and was a real pest to Brentford’s harassed back four. Deservedly rewarded with a goal. Fast and threatening with an insatiable appetite for work.
10: Jack Payne (Huddersfield Town). Provided spots of sorcery in the number ten role and produced one or two exquisite moments. Effervescent and also scored with a long-range cracker in the second half.
11: Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town). Carried on from where he left off in a high-class pre-season. Likely to be a big player for Town this season. Composed and authoritative. Just the job.
Manager/head coach: David Wagner (Huddersfield). Town looked fit, organised and ‘at it’ and never let Brentford settle with their performance being a tribute to the pre-season work of Wagner and his staff.