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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Huddersfield Aiming For Successive Promotions?

Southampton did it last year, Norwich completed their own rise the year before and now, Huddersfield Town look as if they want to complete the transition of League 1 side to the Premier League in the space of two seasons.

A few years ago, the Terriers were known as an excellent League 1 team who played good football but seemed to "bottle" the chance of going up a division at the final hurdle.  Under former Manager Lee Clark (now at Birmingham City), the club achieved the remarkable feat of going 43 league games unbeaten (A record than ran from 1st January 2011 - 28th November) that was halted away at Charlton Athletic.

FIRED: Lee Clark
Clark was sacked, then replaced, by ex Leeds boss Simon Grayson, who led them to the dreaded play-offs!    Beating MK Dons over two legs led the Terriers to Wembley; just a year before, they missed out on a promotion after suffering a 3-0 defeat by Peterborough United at Old Trafford (Due to the Champions League Final being held at Wembley the day before, the venue was switched). Goals from Tommy Rowe, Craig Mackail-Smith and Grant McCann sending Posh up.

HIRED: Simon Grayson
Once again, last season was an exciting one for the Yorkshire side. Suffering a mere seven league defeats all season and racking up memorable wins against Sheffield United away (3-0), Wycombe Wanderers away (6-0), Exeter City and Brentford away (4-0).

The form of striker Jordan Rhodes was a key factor in Huddersfield's success. The 22 year-old Scotland International found the net an unbelievable 40 times in all competitions for his club side, scoring hat tricks against Exeter, Preston North End and Leyton Orient, 4 goals came in the entertaining 4-4 draw away at Sheffield Wednesday (Where his Father, Andy, is Goalkeeping Coach) and 5 out of the 6 goals at Wycombe's Adams Park.

THE RHODE TO GLORY: Frontman was prolific
Grayson finally led his side to the Championship after an on-going penalty shoot out saga that was finally brought to an end after Sheffield United goalkeeper Steve Simonsen missed his spot kick as Huddersfield triumphed 8-7.

Simonsen blazes over the bar
The club have moved swiftly in their bid to get their recruitment business completed early; already making three signings that plied their trade in the Championship last season.

Outgoing from the club were high profile players such as Gary Roberts, Damien Johnson and Tommy Miller. Roberts and Miller both joined Swindon Town as Johnson headed for League 2 newcomers Fleetwood Town.

RELEASED: Gary Roberts
Midfielder Adam Clayton made the short journey across Yorkshire to re-unite with Grayson, whom he worked with at Leeds last season.  The tough tackling Manchester City youth graduate was surprisingly placed on the transfer list at Elland Road just a couple of weeks after the season finished despite featuring in 46 games for Leeds last season in all.

Adam Clayton
Next in at The Galpharm Stadium was Crystal Palace winger Sean Scannell.  The Eagles' Academy Product signed a 3-year-deal after his move north from south London where he had spent the last five seasons.  The 21 year old will certainly add a bit of pace to the Huddersfield side.  Grayson can clearly see the potential in Scannell after splashing out nearly £1m on the youngster who played a part in over 40 of Palace's games last season.

Sean Scannell
Only yesterday, the club signed former Nottigham Forest defender Joel Lynch.  Lynch, at 24, is another young player brought in that has a lot of experience of playing at the higher level having been at The City Ground for the last four campaigns.  Another signing that shows the ambition that Huddersfield, and their chairman, Dean Hoyle have.

Joel Lynch
Momentum certainly plays a key part in football these days.  As I've said, Southampton and Norwich show what can be done when winning one promotion.  Both teams didn't strengthen or make many drastic changes and the core of the players brought them more success.  Who's to say, Huddersfield Town Football Club can't emulate the Saints and the Canaries?!

Until next week...