Lincoln City will face Huddersfield Town for the first time competitively since the old Division Three play-off defeat in 2004. The Terriers have just faced relegation into the Sky Bet Championship and have started the 2019/2020 season with a defeat to Derby County and a draw with QPR, writes Jake Tonge
I spoke to Huddersfield supporter Sam Aswell. He runs the @TalkingTown_ Twitter account, a popular handle with Town supporters.
1. After relegation from the Premier League last season, what are the expectations for Huddersfield this season?
This question has caused a split in our fanbase. The club have remained silent over the off-season as to what the objectives are for the upcoming campaign. A lot of the summer arrivals have talked up an attempt of instant promotion back to the Premier League whereas the supporters are perhaps more realistic and would like to stabilise before mounting a promotion push. The last thing we want to do is fall through the trap door like Sunderland did a couple of years ago.
Personally, I think we should be looking to challenge the top six. We have quality throughout our squad, and despite losing Aaron Mooy to Brighton recently, the likes of Terence Kongolo and Christopher Schindler stand out as key players.
2. There has been a lot of change at the club over the transfer window, what players should Imps supporters be looking out for?
One of the new boys that I think is in line for his debut is Reece Brown. He’ll be a familiar face to Lincoln fans due to his time at Forest Green last year in League Two. He’s good on the ball and was well coveted for a big move following the end of his contract at The New Lawn. He’ll be eager to impress the manager since he’s not had any competitive minutes this season.
Another who’s had a similar career to Brown, in terms of arriving from the lower leagues, is Josh Koroma. He was an unused sub at QPR on the weekend but looks like a handy pick-up from Leyton Orient. He has bags of potential and started to showcase that in the National League last year, he was crucial in Orient’s success. Like Brown, he’ll be wanting to impress to challenge for a place in the starting 11 when we face Fulham on Saturday.
Trevoah Chalobah has recently come in from Chelsea. He was on loan at Ipswich last season but was impressive despite the club’s relegation to League One. Lincoln fans may recognise him from his appearance for Chelsea’s U21 side that they faced in the Checkatrade Trophy semi- final in the 2017/2018 campaign. He was linked with a move to the Bundesliga over the summer, so I think it’s a coup that we have him in our group.
3. How have the opening two games of the season gone? One point from two games suggests a difficulty to adapt to life back in the Championship.
I can safely say that life back in the Championship has not been ideal for Town. Against Derby we were punished from one mistake from Tommy Elphick gave Tom Lawrence his first and the second was a moment of class from the former Manchester United midfielder. From that point on we lacked a real cutting edge in front of goal which has worried a lot of our supporters. It was very well showcased last season through the national media that we had a real problem when it came to putting the ball in the back of the net.
The game against QPR offered more positives for us. It was perhaps slightly more even than the Derby game, but QPR will feel like it was two points dropped. They were certainly in the ascendancy when Grant Hall equalised and could’ve gone on to make our start even worse.
Our lads just look like they need a win under their belt to bring up the confidence and to play with more freedom. Once we’ve got the first one, the next one becomes a lot easier.
4. Are you expecting a weakened side to line up against the Imps come 7:45pm on Tuesday?
Jan Siwert will be using this game to refresh the squad I hope. This kind of game is needed to get minutes into the legs of players who haven’t appeared for us as much as they might have liked. I think we’ll put out a weakened side with little first team experience but a lot of those players will be looking to stake a claim ahead of the weekend.
5. How do you expect the game to pan out?
I think that Town should come away from the game in the hat for the next round of the cup. Siwert has already confirmed that both Steve Mounie and Rajiv van La Parra could start which will have an impact on the way that we play. These two were playing regularly in the Premier League just last season and can cause Lincoln a lot of problems, particularly since we are at home. I think if we field the team full of players that are wanting to prove a point to the manager then we should be looking at a comfortable victory. However, I’ve heard of Lincoln’s ride over the last couple of seasons and expect them to grab a goal to make it interesting.
I predict a 3-1 win for the Terriers.
6. In recent years, Huddersfield have gone down the German approach with David Wagner and now Jann Siewert. How have their styles of football differed from the likes of Chris Powell and Mark Robins?
The club have opted to go down a different route to normal when it came to appointing our last two managers. We could’ve stuck with British managers but those in power at the club have turned to Germany. You can see the difference in mentality in terms of the ruthlessness and efficiency. Norwich went down a very similar route in appointing Wagner’s predecessor at Borrussia Dortmund II and now Daniel Farke has guided them into the Premier League.
In terms of the style of football, I have preferred to watch us under the German managers. The ‘gegenpress’ that is commonly spoken of was really effective for us the year we got promoted. Obviously, it has worked for Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool in recent years as he has guided them to a sixth European trophy.
Siewert takes a more pragmatic approach when compared to Wagner. Although they play a similar formation (4-3-3), you can sense the small tactical changes that make a big difference. Siewert’s teams prefer to sit back and soak up possession and hit on the counter attack. Siewert likes to have his full-backs wide and overlapping the wide players to try and ask different questions of our opponents.