Huddersfield v Sheff Wed: Tight Yorkshire derby forecast

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CHAMPIONSHIP specialist James O'Rourke (@JamesOR1) shares his thoughts on Sunday's fixture between Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday as both Yorkshire clubs begin new eras under new managers.

Huddersfield v Sheffield Wednesday | Sunday 15th September 2019, 12:00 | Sky Sports

It has been all-change for these two Yorkshire club over the international break, with Danny Cowley taking over the reins at Huddersfield and Garry Monk returning to management with Sheffield Wednesday.

This provides further intrigue prior to this local derby encounter, featuring two teams very much looking to get their seasons back on track.

All change in each dugout

As a Lincoln supporter of over 20 years, it has somewhat been uncomfortable seeing Cowley introduced as the next Terriers manager at a press conference earlier this week. However, it is certainly a move he would not have taken lightly, as he has stated countless times of his love for Lincoln and the job he had.

Albeit at a higher level, this looks a similar task to the one he inherited at Sincil Bank in 2016. An out-of-sorts team with a disillusioned fanbase and a club generally seeking some direction. The Cowley brothers will embrace this challenge, and I for one am backing them to make a success of it.

Funnily enough, it had been widely reported that Sheff Wed were seeking the services of Cowley only a week or so before eventually taking over at the John Smith’s Stadium. The man himself however said that there was no contact, but it is another layer to this Sunday clash which provides more meat to the bone.

Monk is a good appointment however, after working wonders in very tricky circumstances at his last job with Birmingham City. Like his opposing number this weekend, he too shall look to galvanise a team and a club, and this is arguably the best fixture to try and achieve that.

Low stakes advised

Certainly from a betting perspective this is a very difficult game to approach. The change of management in each dugout therefore opens the book to any eventuality. Both Cowley and Monk will look to stamp their authority on proceedings, but only having a few days to do so after losing some to their national teams means the timing is perhaps not ideal.

Both should improve over time, but there is a game to be won, and a big one.

It could be argued that Cowley will feel he has more to prove given this will be his first-ever Championship fixture he has taken charge of. The highest level of his managerial career. This won’t daunt him or brother Nicky however, only spur them on even more. They thrive on the pressure and they’re winners.

Monk has slowly fallen into the category of being a journeyman Championship manager, along with someone like Gary Rowett. It is perhaps harsh to state that although he has had a few jobs in this league, but he has generally made a decent impression everywhere he has been.

Certainly this is a low-stakes kind of game given the very unique circumstances. Team news will be up in the air, and any kind of tactics or system could be employed. Cowley will look for the best way to mould the best XI players on the pitch. He has been tarnished harshly with a long-ball merchant tag in recent times from his time at Lincoln.

Monk likes his teams to have a go, but you just wonder if both wouldn’t be too unhappy with a draw in this one.

A tight local derby anticipated

Having watched Cowley in the Lincoln dugout these three-and-a-half years I find it tough to back against them. He has inherited a Huddersfield team who badly needed a fresh face with fresh ideas for them to bounce off.

I get the impression Monk won’t necessarily change a great deal with Sheff Wed compared to what caretaker Lee Bullen has been doing, not in terms of selection anyway, perhaps more some fine tweaks. I do think this gives Sheff Wed a slight edge, as the Cowley’s won’t have liked watching the Huddersfield match tapes from this season so far.

The Terriers have been conceded plenty of goals; 11 so far. Only four teams in the division have let in double-digit goals. Only them and Stoke remain winless, but Cowley says he needs to convince the players of the relegation battle they are currently in. Wednesday have lost three of their last four, but these have all been tight games. Again, fine tweaks are probably only needed to get them more consistent again.

I don’t normally like to favour the draw from a punting point of view, but I do think it has a very good chance of paying off this weekend. Odds of 121/50 (Marathon) tempt me enough to back it outright. There’s every chance both will cancel one another out, in what should be a hotly-contested derby.

Best Bets

Huddersfield v Sheff Wed – Draw (121/50 Marathon)

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