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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Big Match Preview

League One
Huddersfield Town vs. Southampton
Saturday August 15, 15:00, Galpharm Stadium

Rarely could two sides have had more contrasting summers. However, as two of League One's strongest sides square up in West Yorkshire, Southampton know even a win will see them still rooted to the bottom.

The Saints, in the Premier League as recently as 2004, were deducted 10 points after their former parent company entered administration towards the end of last season.

The deduction was carried over after the relegation from the Championship, and the club almost went out of business before Swiss billionaire Marcus Liebner took over the ailing Hampshire outfit.

Now under the guidance of former West Ham boss Alan Pardew, who won promotion from this level with Reading in 2002, they're looking at wiping out the points deficit and playing catch-up with the division's top teams.

It's a description Huddersfield hope will apply to them. After another summer of heavy spending, the Terriers are expected to challenge strongly for promotion to the second tier.

Huddersfield boss Clark is targeting a promotion push

Rookie boss Lee Clark splashed out around half a million pounds in the summer bringing in Coventry's Robbie Simpson and Ipswich youngster Jordan Rhodes. With the latter having notched three goals already, the manager believes they now have the required firepower to launch a promotion push.

Two of those goals for Rhodes came in Town's 3-1 win over Stockport in the League Cup in midweek, following up their 2-2 comeback draw at Southend on the opening day.

The visitors have a similar record after their first two appearances of the campaign too, a 1-1 home draw with Millwall was followed by Tuesday night's 2-0 win over Northampton at St. Mary's.

It was a game that saw a debut goal from Southampton's new million pound forward Rickie Lambert, who bagged 29 goals for Bristol Rovers last year. Pardew will be hoping for a similar haul over the coming months.

Saturday could well be one of their toughest examinations of the season though. Huddersfield are an established side at this level, and are difficult to play at home. Their attacking style of play always guarantees goals, and with new boy Rhodes already finding the back of the net, it could be a difficult day for Saints.

Nobes' Prediction: Huddersfield Town 2 Southampton 1

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