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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Big Match Preview

Huddersfield Town vs. Bournemouth
Saturday September 4, 15:00, Galpharm Stadium

Two sides who have made promising starts to the new campaign clash in West Yorkshire on Saturday as big-spending Huddersfield entertain promoted Bournemouth.

Both teams occupy a spot in the top six after the first four games - level on seven points. However, whereas Bournemouth will be happy with such a positive start, it's the least that's expected of their opponents.

Town were beaten semi finalists in last term's League One play offs and are once again expected to at least claim a place in the top six - if not gain automatic promotion.

A sustained investment in the playing squad - both on transfer fees and wages - has occurred at the Galpharm Stadium over the past two years, and expectations are high for another fine season.

That puts the pressure firmly on young boss Lee Clark to deliver the goods. Fortunately, he has been to assemble one of the strongest squads in the division.

In the shape of Jordan Rhodes - with four goals to his name already - the Terriers have one of the top strikers in the third tier. He is ably supported by the likes of Gary Roberts, Theo Robinson, and Joe Garner.

Clark also looked to re-enforce his largely young team with a smattering of experience during the summer. Jamie McCombe from Bristol City and former top flight player Gary Naysmith were added to the defensive ranks in the close season.

In 20-year-old Alex Smithies, Huddersfield also have a highly rated goalkeeper who has been attracting Premier League scouts over the past 12 months.

Town will also be looking to continuing the excellent home form - typified by their 3-1 defeat of Charlton last weekend - which was the bedrock of their success last season.

There are big expectations for Lee Clark and his Huddersfield team

All of which means that visitors Bournemouth face a severe test of their League One credentials on the long trip north.

Boss Eddie Howe worked wonders to get the Cherries promoted last term despite suffering a transfer embargo and operating with one of the smallest squads in the Football League.

It was work which saw him attracting the interests of then-Championship outfit Peterborough. Howe has also been linked with the now vacant position at near neighbours Southampton.

Bournemouth have made a solid start to life in their new division, although they were careless in allowing a 3-0 lead to slip against Notts County and only collecting a point last weekend.

Their previous two away matches have left mixed emotions too - an opening day loss at Charlton being followed by a 3-0 success at Tranmere on their next trip.

Howe has also had to contend with the sale of key striker Brett Pitman to Bristol City. However, youngster Josh McQuoid has stepped up to fill the breach - scoring three times in the last two games.

Saturday is likely to be the toughest game the team from Dorset have faced so far though. Huddersfield are a very difficult team to contend with on home soil.

With such a rich array of attacking options, it's hard to see past the Terriers notching their third win of the campaign as they will have too much for their opponents.

Nobes' Prediction Huddersfield Town 2 Bournemouth 0

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