After three unbearable weeks away from St James’ Park, the ‘Opposition Opinion’ is back with some thoughts from West Yorkshire ahead of Huddersfield’s visit to St James’ Park today.
As ever, we are looking to bring you a view from the other side before this weeks game, interviewing an opposing fan to gain their opinions on NUFC, some insights into their own side and their thoughts on of our upcoming match.
This week we’ve been speaking to Terriers fan Jim, with him having the following to say ahead of today’s relegation six-pointer at St James’:
Q1) What sort of form do you feel you’re in coming into this one? It’s a massive big game for both of us..
“It’s hard to say, the international break came at the right time for us, it’s given us a chance to regroup after being frustrated by Swansea & convincingly beaten by Palace.
“We’ve found it challenging on the road all season, with scoring goals away from home being the main issue.
“When we have scored though, we’ve generally gone on and recorded some convincing victories. We also ground out a 2-1 victory away to WBA which was a relegation six pointer similar to this fixture.
“General play has been frustrating, we were below par against Palace at home and paid the price losing 2-0, Swansea frustrated us to a 0-0 draw in a game which we were completely on top and we recently lost 2-0 at at Spurs but put up a good show.”
Q2) What do you make of Newcastle’s current side and the thought of facing us at St James’ today? Which players do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of this NUFC side?
“I don’t think there’s much between our sides.
“I think bringing in Kenedy from Chelsea was a good bit of business and he seems to be making a big impact for you.
“Other than the obvious Shelvey, Ritchie etc..I don’t think Jamaal Lacelles is getting the credit he deserves outside of Newcastle.
“As for weaknesses, our high press is all about forcing errors, so we’ll be looking at your full backs and defensive midfielders in possession – so it’s all about how you deal with that.”
Q3) Likewise, who are the players to watch out for in your Huddersfield side? Anyone for us to watch out for and anyone we’ll be able to get at?
“Our strength is our unity – we’re a team without superstars or household names.
“David Wagner has managed to foster the same team spirit and desire that got us promoted in a vastly improved squad.
“Saying that, St James’ will have never seen anyone like Colin Quaner..”
“Strengths – Mounie, Pritchard, Hogg and Schindler are probably putting in the better performances.
“Weaknesses – Ince, Malone & Van La Parra are getting a lot of stick from our fans. They’ll feel they have a lot to prove in the run in.”
Q4) How do you see the match panning out? Score prediction?
“It’s all on the first goal for me. If we score first then we’re in with a good shout at getting the 3 points.
“If Newcastle score first it could be a long afternoon for us.”
“Score prediction is 1-1 with a last minute equaliser from Quaner.”
Q5) With the season drawing to a close, how do you see us both faring in the fight for survival? Predicted league positions and your three sides to do down..?
“I’m hoping all 3 promoted teams beat the drop. Should anyone get the 3 points today that’ll be a huge step towards safety for the victor.
“West Ham, Stoke and West Brom to go down.”
Q6) I see Mooy and Billing *might* not start after picking up knocks on international duty. It’d leave you very short in midfield and without a player I rate as one of your best (Mooy). How do you think you’ll cope if both did miss out?
“Both are in training and will hopefully be in contention for Saturday.
“Failing that we’ve got Dean Whitehead waiting in the wings – it’s impossible to have a midfield injury crisis when Deano is in the squad.”
Q7) If you had to pick the best XI choosing players from both of our teams, what would your starting 11 be?
” (4-3-3) – Lossl – Yedlin, Schindler, Lacelles, Kongolo – Hogg, Mooy, Shelvey – Ritchie, Mounie, Kenedy”
A few observations:
- He clearly feels the international break came at the perfect time for them after a few frustrating performances and bad results.
- It’ll be interesting to see how easily Jonjo Shelvey can pick up the ball from our centre-backs given they’re clearly keen on a high press.
- He feels the first goal is absolutely vital – and I’d tend to agree with him given their fragile confidence and the two extremes of a St James’ Park atmosphere.
- They struggle to score goals on the road, but he’s pointed out how they often go on to win games (and win them comfortably) when they score first on the road!
An interesting chat with Jim, who clearly feels we’ll both be fine regardless of the result.
We’ll be back next week with the thoughts of a Leicester fan ahead of our trip to the Kind Power Stadium next Saturday.
Another huge game – HWTL!