Slaven Bilić takes his side to the John Smith’s Stadium on Friday evening in the knowledge that there is no room for manoeuvre if they are to secure promotion to the Premier League. It will be the Baggies’ fifth game in thirteen days – every other Championship club has had at least one or two more days to fit those games in. However, Albion are playing well and the players and fans should have confidence that the results will come.
With Brentford having narrowly beaten Preston North End on Wednesday evening, the Bees are now just a point behind Albion with two matches left. Anything less than a victory will give Thomas Frank’s side the chance to moved into the top two when they travel to Stoke City on Saturday.
Nonetheless, any suggestion that the Baggies are bottling it are wide of the mark in my opinion. Since the restart, Albion have picked up 12 points from 7 games, the sixth best record in the division. It might not be sparkling form, but it’s hardly disastrous, and they are only under pressure because of Brentford’s remarkable run. If the Bees can continue that for another two games, good luck to them – Albion have the players, the belief and the form to ensure that it won’t matter.
Danny Cowley’s team are fighting for their lives, just three points above the relegation zone and are desperate for points with a tricky trip to Millwall to come on the final day. In September, the Baggies had to come from behind twice against Cowley’s team at the Hawthorns but won comfortably in the end. Huddersfield were bottom of the table without a win at that point but Cowley managed to get a run of results to lift them out of the bottom three but they have not been able to pull themselves properly clear all season.
They have won just one of their last eight games but have proved difficult to beat in recent weeks recording four clean sheets in their last five games. However, they have not scored in their last four and they haven’t faced an attacking threat as potent as Albion’s since the restart – Luton Town, themselves struggling for form and goals, beat the Terriers 2-0 last week.
The relative form and quality of the two teams points to a comfortable Baggies victory, but that is no guarantee as we know, particularly at this stage of the season.
Obviously, pressure can do strange things and my words could look foolish in a week’s time but, given the remaining fixtures, I believe that Bilić’s boys will see this through.
The Baggies’ last visit to Huddersfield was Tony Pulis’s penultimate game in charge, a 1-0 defeat that was one of the most gutless performances I had seen by an Albion side. I’m sure that it will be very different this time around.
Albion had won 2-0 on the previous two visits to the Kirklees Stadium. In the FA Cup in 2010, late goals from Graham Dorrans and Chris Wood saw Roberto di Matteo’s side through to the fourth round while the previous visit was a decade earlier. Jordão and Lee Hughes were both on the mark before half time in November 2000.
Hughesie was also on the scoresheet in December 1998 when the Baggies recorded their biggest every win at Huddersfield – James Quinn also grabbed a brace as Albion won 3-0 with all the goals coming in the last 16 minutes.
All competitions; most recent game on the right
22 Sep 2019 – League Championship
West Brom 4 (Phillips (2), Furlong, Ajayi)
Huddersfield Town 2 (O’Brien, Grant)
Last meeting at Huddersfield Town
4 Nov 2017 – Premier League
Huddersfield Town 1 (van La Parra)
West Brom 0
Last win at Huddersfield Town
2 Jan 2010 – FA Cup 3rd Round
Huddersfield Town 0
West Brom 2 (Dorrans, Wood)
Albion’s Record against Huddersfield Town