As an exiled Terrier living in London, I don’t get to too many Town matches, but I did make my seasonal trip to Griffin Park recently to see Lee Clark’s boys dismantle Uwe Rosler’s Brentford, running out comfortable 4-0 winners. This result extended the club’s record unbeaten run to 36 league games. Some fans dispute it because of the playoff final defeat last season, but it doesn’t count as it was a cup game! There were no points on offer, so it can’t be brought into the equation when talking about this feat. Otherwise, you would be able to say that the unbeaten run ended with defeat at Cardiff in the Carling Cup, a competition which is also run by the Football League. Anyway, I digress!
They are ten matches away from going a full season’s worth of league games without losing, a remarkable feat if they pull it off. I want to take a look at the run in more detail and offer up some comparisons between this season and last. In the 36 games, there have been twenty wins and sixteen draws, totalling 76 points taken. Most Town fans have said that the team have drawn too many games during the run and that stat seems to back the claim up. However, if you look at the League One table after 36 games last season, Town had 63 points, some thirteen less than they have taken while on this epic run.
Of course, statistics can be used to prove any point, and I don’t see the world through Blue and White tinted glasses. Town have drawn a lot away from home because in a number of those draws they were one or two goals ahead and ended up throwing the points away. The first game in the run was away to Carlisle United where the Terriers drew 2-2 after being two goals up. It has happened so often, it is starting to become routine!
Comparing the league table after 36 games last season with the current run is somewhat erroneous, as the two overlap, but it was only to serve as an indication. If you look at the tables from this and last season at this point, it makes for interesting reading. Last season after eleven games, Brighton were already top with 22 points, whereas this year Charlton have 27 at the summit. As for Town, this season they currently sit fifth with 21 points from eleven matches, four points and one place better off than last season. Further proof to back up the claim Town have drawn too many games comes thanks to Sheffield Wednesday, who are currently one place and one point above. They have lost three games already this season but are where they are thanks to winning all their home games.
Looking ahead to Huddersfield’s next ten games, what are the chances of maintaining this run? There are only two obvious games where you would maybe expect us them to come unstuck – away games at Charlton Athletic and Sheffield Wednesday and a tricky home match against Preston North End. Of course all games are difficult, but there are home games against Stevenage, Walsall, Notts County and Bournemouth, which are all winnable. Trips to Exeter, Yeovil and Scunthorpe complete the next ten, and if Lee Clark’s men could get seven wins and a draw, they would be right on track.
Last season, Huddersfield accrued 87 points, which would have sealed automatic promotion for each of the seventeen previous seasons, but for Southampton’s excellent form. That same total should be enough to achieve at least second place this time around. Whether Town can reach that target is another matter. I believed at the start of the season that there wasn’t going to be a team that would run away with the league and I stand by that even though Charlton have opened up a five point gap. Instead, there is a lot more strength in depth this year than in previous seasons and at least six clubs in with a genuine shout of automatic promotion, funnily enough they are all in the top six already. It could go right to the final day of the season.
As for Huddersfield Town, most fans expect this to be Lee Clark’s last attempt at promotion before chairman Dean Hoyle decides he has to try something new. Clark has done well, improving the club’s position each season, but two successive play-off heartbreaks have piled the pressure on this season. Whether he and his team can finally deliver on their potential remains to be seen.
Written by James Bartaby, We Are Going Up’s Huddersfield Town blogger
James tweets at @jamesb5374