Football – England – Championship
Wednesday 30th January 2013 – Kickoff: 1945hrs
Managerless Huddersfield Town take on high-flying Crystal Palace at their John Smith’s Stadium on Wednesday night as they look to pull away from the dangers of being sucked into an unwanted relegation fight.
Former manager Simon Grayson was sacked last week on the back of a couple of recent heavy defeats at Leicester City 1-6 and away at Watford 0-4 last weekend, and Huddersfield are now temporarily managed by Academy manager Mark Lillis and coach Steve Eyre as the search for Grayson’s replacement begins.
Chairman Dean Hoyle has stated that retention of Huddersfield Town’s status in the Championship is the first and foremost aim for the new manager and on the back of twelve matches without a league win in the Championship, they’ll certainly have their work cut out for them. It’s also seven matches without a win on home turf as The Terriers’ home form has dipped to a disappointing 4-6-4 18/19 and have kept just one clean sheet during this recent miserable run at home which was against struggling Sheffield Wednesday in a 0-0 draw at the end of December.
The leading goalscorers for Huddersfield are Novak, Clayton and Vaughan (4 goals apiece) with Daniel Ward (5 assists) supplying most of the ammunition, and while they did hold Leicester City to a 1-1 draw at home in their weekend FA Cup fixture, I daresay Leicester had one eye on their automatic promotion ambitions, and Huddersfield will face another tough task on Wednesday night against Palace.
Onto the visitors then, and they could jump back up into second place and oust Leicester City from their spot behind leaders Cardiff City despite Palace winning just once in their last eight matches, such is the topsy-turvy nature of this division.
Defeats against Cardiff City 1-2 and Burnley 0-1 (both away from home) along with managing just single points against Blackpool, Birmingham City, Huddersfield Town, Nottingham Forest and Bolton and the solitary win against Wolves 3-1 has cost The Eagles valuable ground in the race for promotion up to the Premiership, and they currently reside in fifth place just two points behind Leicester City.
But despite their recent run, it still isn’t disastrous for the London club and a win on Wednesday night would put them firmly back in the driving seat for a place in the top-flight. Crystal Palace’s away record stands at 5-4-5 17/19 and are winless in their last six on their travels, but they do have a good chance of halting this winless streak against a vulnerable Huddersfield outfit.
Palace manager Ian Holloway knows no other way than to attack, and he possesses some key attacking players in the shape of leading goalscorer Glenn Murray (22 goals, 2 assists) who is having a stellar season, along with Moritz (5 goals) and Bolasie (7 assists) as well of course Zaha (5 goals, 4 assists) who is due to join Manchester United at the end of the season.
Whilst Huddersfield are in a state of upheaval with the departure of manager Grayson and their extended downtrend in form, I see Palace taking advantage of the situation here tonight and therefore I’ll back them with the round ball in what could be a 2-1 win for The Eagles.
Pick: Crystal Palace AH0 (Draw No Bet) @ 1.73 Pinnacle