Soccer AM/MW - the home of lively and humorous discussion from the Football and Non Leagues

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Big Match Preview - Bournemouth vs. Huddersfield

Bournemouth vs. Huddersfield Town
Saturday February 19, 15:00, Dean Court

Precious League One promotion points are up for grabs on the South Coast at the weekend as second host third with Bournemouth and Huddersfield Town going head to head.

While the big-spending Yorkshire side were one of the pre-season favourites to be competing for a place in next season's Championship, the Cherries are the division's surprise package.

Considering the resources at the Dorset outfit, it's hard to underestimate their achievement in challenging for back-to-back promotions.

They have also had to contend with the loss of inspirational boss Eddie Howe who, after turning down the advances of several clubs, eventually left to join Championship side Burnley last month.

That saw senior player Lee Bradbury take over in the dugout, assisted by club legend Steve Fletcher - and the pair have ensured a seamless transition after Howe's departure.

With four wins and two draws in their half a dozen games, the Cherries head into the match just three points off top of the table Brighton and are the same distance above their weekend opponents.

They'll also be looking to build on an excellent home record, with 11 victories from their 15 home games being unmatched in the third tier. However, two sides - Colchester and Hartlepool - have beaten them at Dean Court this term.

Key men for Bournemouth this term have been midfielder Marc Pugh who is the side's top scorer with 11 after the sale of Josh McQuoid to Millwall. Michael Symes, who scored their winner at Walsall last weekend, will also be looked to for goals.

Lee Bradbury has made the transition for player to manager at Bournemouth

Huddersfield come into the game as the only unbeaten side in League One in 2011. Lee Clark's men have won five and drawn three of their fixtures since the turn of the year.

They also enjoyed profitable runs in the JPT and FA Cup, narrowly losing 2-1 to Arsenal in the Fourth Round at the Emirates. Now their focus is solely on winning promotion.

The Terriers were losers in the play offs last term and look likely to at least be in the top six again this term, if not going up automatically.

To do so, they'll need to improve upon a chequered away record. Six games have been won on the road, at Exeter, Walsall, Sheffield Wednesday, Colchester, Notts County, and Leyton Orient.

However, they have also tasted defeat on half a dozen occasions at the likes of Peterborough, Rochdale, Swindon, Plymouth, Oldham, and Southampton.

Outstanding performers for Town this term have been top scorer Jordan Rhodes, with six goals to his name, and midfielders Anthony Pilkington and Gary Roberts - both in double figures themselves.

It's a sign of the attacking threat which Clark's men take with them on the long trip south as they seek to bring Bradbury's unbeaten start to management to an end.

I've a sneaky feeling that in-form Huddersfield are peaking at just the right time and will do just that to take all three points.

Nobes' Prediction: Bournemouth 1 Huddersfield Town 2

No comments:

Post a Comment