A 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough gave us our first point of the season but now it is time to push on and make our mark on the league. This week we are travelling to West Yorkshire for our first away game of the season against Huddersfield Town, a team we have only lost to once since 1993. Will this be Marco Silva’s first win as Fulham boss?
Huddersfield are going through an interesting period in the club’s history. Last season was the Terriers’ second consecutive season in the Championship since being relegated from the Premier League in 2019. Both seasons have seen them in relegation battles, and I expect this season will be no different. They are managed by one of Marcelo Bielsa’s former assistant managers Carlos Corberán who joined the club in 2020 after the departure of the Cowley brothers. Like us, Huddersfield drew on the opening day of the season against a Derby County side that is experiencing a lot of woe on and off the pitch.
On the other end of the spectrum, Fulham need points to push for promotion back to the Premier League. We have a very favourable run of games up until October so now is the time to garner some momentum. The last time we were in the Championship we were slightly let down by our away form, with five teams collecting more points away from home. It will be important for Marco Silva to make us as good away as we are at home if we want to push for automatic promotion. Harry Wilson will prove to be an excellent addition this season, contributing both goals and assists from the right-wing. The form of Aleksandar Mitrović does is a worry but if there is a team for him to regain his scoring touch against, it’s Huddersfield. Last season they conceded the most goals in the Championship so I’m expecting a goal-fest on Sunday with all the goals going in the Huddersfield net.
In terms of our starting eleven, I expect it to remain unchanged. Harrison Reed is back in training, but I don’t think he will be rushed into the starting eleven especially after the good performances from Josh Onomah and Tyrese Francois on Sunday. The only change I would be tempted to make is swapping Neeskens Kebano for Bobby Decordova-Reid on the left-wing. I would also like to highlight how good Tim Ream was against Middlesbrough and that he will be vital as Silva looks to build from the back this season.
WHAT THE MANAGERS HAVE SAID
MARCO SILVA: “You see our squad list last game, a good number of players were out, important players. The players who are playing are doing a good job. This is important. They are improving every single time.”
CARLOS CORBERÁN: “Fulham have a very good squad. They will be one of the strongest teams that we face. We are completely focusing on all our possibilities to try and show our best level in what will be a difficult game.”
SCORE PREDICTION: HUDDERSFIELD 0-3 FULHAM
PREFERRED LINE-UP: 4-2-3-1
H2H LEAGUE RECORD (OVERALL)
- PLAYED – 66
- FULHAM WINS – 28
- DRAWS – 15
- HUDDERSFIELD WINS – 23
- GOALS SCORED – 95
- GOALS CONCEDED – 87
H2H LEAGUE RECORD (AWAY)
- PLAYED – 33
- FULHAM WINS – 9
- DRAWS – 6
- HUDDERSFIELD WINS – 18
- GOALS SCORED – 38
- GOALS CONCEDED – 55
LAST 5 GAMES
- FULHAM 3-2 HUDDERSFIELD
- HUDDERSFIELD 1-2 FULHAM
- FULHAM 1-0 HUDDERSFIELD
- HUDDERSFIELD 1-0 FULHAM
- HUDDERSFIELD 1-4 FULHAM
BIGGEST WINS AT HUDDERSFIELD
- HUDDERSFIELD 5-1 FULHAM (1912/13)
- HUDDERSFIELD 1-4 FULHAM (2016/17)
- HUDDERSFIELD 3-0 FULHAM (1919/20, 1968/69, 1971/72 – FA Cup)
- HUDDERSFIELD 0-3 FULHAM (1957/58)
PLAYERS IN COMMON
Gary Barnett, Pat Beasley, Danny Cadamarteri, Mark Cooper, Mark Hudson, James Husband, Terence Kongolo, Scott Malone, Brian McDermott, Oliver Norwood, Len Quested, Jazz Richards, Richard Stearman, Dale Tempest, Robert Wilson.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Since the second tier was rebranded to The Championship, Fulham are unbeaten at this level against Huddersfield with 6 wins and 2 draws.
- Despite Fulham only winning 2 more than Huddersfield in this fixture in all competitions, The Terriers have only won 1 of the last 15 fixtures between the clubs.
Here’s a Terriers perspective from the And he takes that chance podcast ahead of Saturday’s trip to Yorkshire.
What are your expectations for Huddersfield this season?
Expectations aren’t particularly high in HD1. The club have bemoaned their financial position on several occasions and set the expectation level that there’ll be functional rather than flamboyant recruits and have braced the supporters for possible, key outgoings. The hope is that the money from any outgoing transfers is reinvested smartly and not squandered like in previous years. Josh Koroma and Sorba Thomas have shown that money can be invested smartly and a couple more players of this ilk will get a sceptical fanbase back onside. On the field, after 3 relegation battling seasons in a row there is hope that the club are learning from previous mistakes in the transfer market and that the new players brought in add adaptability to the squad and that we are now set on the road to slow and steady improvement. Avoiding a heavy sweat at the bottom end of the league with 5/6 weeks to go will be seen as somewhat of a success as we now hope that Town have bottomed out and can start to climb back up the Championship ladder.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a squad?
Huddersfield have added a ruggedness and experience at the back in Matty Pearson and Tom Lees. That sort of influence should help the young and exciting loanee Levi Colwill and the sometimes jittery, sometimes brilliant Naby Sarr. Pipa and Harry Toffolo are good fullbacks at this level and Town have added Turton and Ruffles smartly to make sure that two of last season’s key players don’t suffer the burnout of last year, which saw both get long term injuries. On the left of attack Josh Koroma and Sorba Thomas offer excellent options but Town really lack creativity elsewhere. Before the window closes we could perhaps do with a few more creative options in midfield and/or wide right and a starting striker as Rhodes, Ward and Campbell all feel like steady bench options rather than nailed down starters.
If you could have one Fulham player at Town, who would you sign and why?
The options Fulham possess are ridiculously good for this level so I could easily pick several. Mitrovic is an obvious one but I’ve always really liked Josh Onomah and think that he would compliment Lewis O’Brien perfectly in our midfield and add a balance that we currently don’t quite possess there.
How do you see the game panning out?
It’s probably not a terrible time to play Fulham as I suspect you’ve not quite got going yet and once you build up some momentum you’ll be very difficult to stop. Having said that, this past week hasn’t been a good one for Huddersfield Town due to a covid outbreak. We’re currently shorn of 3 of our best players and head coach and have a number of other knocks, niggles and ailments depriving us of several more. You have to wonder whether there’ll be more positive tests this week and whether any form of team training can go ahead. Either way it’s sure to be disrupted and not ideal preparation for taking on one of, if not the strongest side in the league. I suspect Town will battle gamely and have their moments but ultimately be undone.
HUDDERSFIELD 1-2 FULHAM