Date:Thursday November 12 2009
Wycombe Wanderers travel to Huddersfield Town on Saturday for their 16th league game of the season.
The Terriers are currently 6th in the table with 24 points from their opening 15 league games.
With 29 league goals to their name, Huddersfield are the division's joint-top goalscorers and if that wasn't worrying enough for the Chairboys, the Terriers have scored 20 of those goals at the Galpharm Stadium, where they remain unbeaten and have conceded only 3 goals themselves.
On top of that, they also scored 6 goals in the Carling Cup and 5 in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, before beginning their FA Cup campaign with a resounding 6-1 win over Dagenham & Redbridge last Saturday.
That gives Huddersfield a grand total of 46 goals scored so far this season after only 20 games in all competition, frightening firepower when you consider that Wycombe only scored 54 league goals in total last season.
Despite their goalscoring prowess, one possible drawback to the Terriers' promotion hopes is their poor record against teams in the top half of the table. They've only picked up 4 points from 7 games against top-half sides, whereas they've been ruthless against teams in the bottom-half, winning 20 points from only 8 games.
Saturday's match kicks off at the earlier time of 12.05 for the benefit of Sky, a fact which will reduce the number of Wycombe fans travelling to the Galpharm Stadium, a ground which used to be called the Alfred McAlpine Stadium and which Huddersfield opened in August 1994 with a 1-0 defeat to none other than Wycombe Wanderers.
This is the Terriers' 6th consecutive season in League One and they finished 9th last year with 68 points, 10th with 66 points the season before, and 15th with 59 points the year before that. Their most successful season during this period was in 2005/06 when they finished 4th but lost to Barnsley in the play-off semi-finals.
Since December 2008 Huddersfield have been managed by Lee Clark, the former Newcastle United midfielder who was also the Magpies' first team coach under Glenn Roeder before they both moved on to similar positions at Norwich City.
Huddersfield's last five games
LG1: Exeter (H)..........Won 4-0
LG1: Charlton (A).......Lost 2-1
LG1: Orient (H)..........Won 4-0
LG1: Oldham (A)........Won 1-0
FAC Dagenham (H).....Won 6-1
Huddersfield Goal Stats
League Goals Scored (Total)........29
League Goals Conceded (Total)....16
League Goals Scored (Home).......20
League Goals Conceded (Home)....3
Top Goal Scorers (All Competitions)
Striker: Jordan Rhodes............13
Striker: Theo Robinson..............8
Striker: Lee Novak....................4
Midfielder: Gary Roberts............4
Midfielder: Anthony Pilkington.....4
Jordan Rhodes.......23 on-target...21 off-target...2 against woodwork
Antony Kay............11 on-target...19 off-target..0 against woodwork
Anthony Pilkington..16 on-target...11 off-target..0 against woodwork
Wycombe Wanderers are currently 24th in the table with 8 points from their opening 15 games.
The Chairboys have looked a different side altogether in their last two games as the attacking philosophy of their new manager Gary Waddock gradually filters it's way into the players psyche.
The six goals scored against Walsall and Brighton in the last fortnight have included some crackers, most notably from Waddock's on-loan signing Scott Davies who bagged three of them himself and could have scored even more with a bit of luck, given his propensity to shoot on sight.
Such is Davies fondness for having a go, that after only 4 games for the club, he has propelled himself up to 5th place in the Chairboys' shooting stats with 9 on-target, 10 off-target and 2 against the woodwork. Not bad for a midfielder and even more impressive when you realise that these stats put him ahead of Wycombe's main striker Matt Harrold who has managed just 8 shots on target in 14 appearances.
So, with his loan-signing doing the business and his team having rediscovered the art of goalscoring, Waddock would no doubt be a happy man if it wasn't for the fact that his defence leaks like a sieve.
Already a less than convincing unit, the Wycombe defence has been further exposed by the team's new attacking mentality and has conceded 7 goals in the last two games to ensure that Waddock still seeks his first victory in charge.
Playing the ball out from the back and never resorting to long kicks forward is an admirable intention if you've got the players to do it, but you can almost sense keeper Scott Shearer's anguish as he obeys orders and rolls the ball out to Michael Duberry for the umpteenth time when all his insticts are screaming at him to welly the ball in the general direction of Matt Harrold. It's not easy for the crowd either, with few at Adams Park confident in the ball-playing ability of their central defenders.
Without a clean-sheet after 18 games in all competitions, and yet, with so many matches lost by just a single goal, Waddock must surely now turn his attention to strengthening the Chairboys' defence before it's too late.
Saturday's game against free-scoring Huddersfield represents a huge test for the Chairboys and it will be interesting to see how Waddock approaches the match. With a clean sheet looking highly unlikely, will he select a typically attacking side in the hope of outscoring the Terriers, or will he change shape and personnel in order to shore-up the defence. We'll soon find out.
Wycombe's last five games
LG1: Gillingham (A).........Lost 3-2
LG1: Colchester (H) ......Drew 1-1
LG1: Exeter (A).............Drew 1-1
LG1: Walsall (H)..............Lost 3-2
FAC Brighton (H)...........Drew 4-4
Wycombe Goals Stats
League Goals Scored (Total).........15
League Goals Conceded (Total).....25
League Goals Scored (Away)..........9
League Goals Conceded (Away)....15
Goal Scorers (All Competitions)
Striker: Jon-Paul Pittman.....6
Striker: Matt Harrold...........5
Midfielder: Scott Davies.......3
Midfielder: Chris Zebroski....2
Midfielder: Matt Phillips.........1
Striker: Stuart Beavon.........1
Striker: Ashley Chambers....1
Defender: Craig Woodman...1
Defender: Leon Johnson.......1
Jon-Paul Pittman.....14 on-target.....9 off-target....0 against woodwork
Chris Zebroski........13 on-target.....7 off-target....0 against woodwork
Stuart Green..........10 on-target....10 off-target....0 against woodwork
League Form Guide
Wycombe.......Pld: 15...W: 1...D: 5...L: 9....Pts: 8.....Pts per game: 0.53
Huddersfield...Pld: 15...W: 7...D: 3...L: 5...Pts: 24....Pts per game: 1.60
Last Five Games
Huddersfield:....LWLWW - 9 points
Wycombe:..........LLDDL - 2 points
Last Five Home Games
Huddersfield:....WDDWW - 11 points
Last Five Away Games
Wycombe:.......LDDLD - 3 points
Against Top Half Opposition
Huddersfield...Pld: 7.......Pts: 4......Pts per game: 0.57
Wycombe.......Pld: 10.....Pts: 7......Pts per game: 0.70
Against Bottom Half Opposition
Huddersfield....Pld: 8......Pts: 20.....Pts per game: 2.50
Wycombe........Pld: 5......Pts: 1.......Pts per game: 0.20
Huddersfield...124 on target...85 off target...6 against woodwork
Wycombe.........82 on target...70 off target...3 against woodwork
Altogether the two sides have met on 6 occasions with 2 wins for Wycombe, 2 for Huddersfield and 2 draws.
1994/95 LG1: Huddersfield 0 Wycombe 1
1994/95 LG1: Wycombe 2 Huddersfield 1
2001/02 LG1: Huddersfield 2 Wycombe 1
2001/02 LG1: Wycombe 2 Huddersfield 4
2002/03 LG1: Huddersfield 0 Wycombe 0
2002/03 LG1: Wycombe 0 Huddersfield 0
The Man In The Middle
Saturday's referee is Michael Oliver from Northumberland who was promoted to the National List of Referees in 2007. His most recent Wycombe game was a 1-0 defeat to Notts County at Meadow Lane in April 2008.
Date:Thursday November 12 2009
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