09 Feb Wagner: The whole town has to stand up to help Huddersfield’s survival fight
David Wagner has called on the town of Huddersfield to adopt a siege mentality to help the club win their Premier League survival fight.
The Terriers slipped into the bottom three for the first time this season after last week’s defeat at Manchester United – their fifth successive loss in the top flight.
They will bid to halt an eight-game winless league run against Bournemouth at the John Smith’s Stadium on Sunday and Wagner said their season starts now.
“We are totally aware this is a massive game for us, but now it’s not only to believe that you have the chance to stay up, now’s the time where together we all have to fight to stay up,” the Huddersfield boss said.
“This not only means the squad, the dressing room, but everybody at Canalside and at the stadium – supporters, the whole town has to stand up and fight for Premier League survival. This is the environment we have to create.”
Wagner has a canny knack of turning a setback into an opportunity and insisted his side’s slide into the relegation zone will only spur his players.
“The whole time we’ve had to look over our shoulder, now it’s the opposite,” said Wagner, whose dressing room was lifted by Tuesday’s extra-time win at Birmingham in their FA Cup fourth-round replay.
“We are now the team who can chase. I can only see positives out of the fact we are now in the relegation places.
“We are in a corner and when you’re in a corner there’s only one direction and this is the case for us.
“For us it’s only one direction – try to collect points and climb the table to survive. We have to climb two positions and we have 13 games.”
Alex Pritchard, cup-tied in midweek, and fellow midfielder Danny Williams (dead leg) will return to contention.
But defender Tommy Smith has been ruled out after being forced off through concussion in midweek, while Christopher Schindler and Laurent Depoitre remain doubtful due to respective ankle injuries.
Wagner said the club’s survival also depended on being lucky – falling on the right side of refereeing decisions, which he was left to rue in their 4-0 defeat at Bournemouth in November.
“It’s small margins which decide games as well,” he added. “You can be at your best and this happens and it doesn’t help you.
“But we can’t wait to start this period in front of us because we really have the feeling that, for us now, this is where the season starts.”