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Preview: Huddersfield Town v Blues

I expect a little bit of a similar game to the one against Fulham, so that when we don’t have the ball, we make sure we don’t leave gaps and put pressure in the right areas because they are dangerous up front.

Pep Clotet.

Our full match preview ahead of Saturday's Sky Bet Championship fixture between The Terriers and Blues at the John Smith's Stadium (3pm kick-off).

Pep Clotet on how everyone is feeling and how training has been during the international break...
"I think everybody feels very confident. They feel strong in their own football and their own abilities. The spirit is very good, and we are trying to play the best football we can to our abilities and our possibilities. We did a lot of work physically and some tests and we realised that we are much fitter than we thought we were going to be.We have compared with seasons before and we are in a good position physically and it is a good boost compared to where the team were."

Pep Clotet on his decision for appointing Lukas Jutkiewicz as captain in Harlee Dean's absence...
"He's a player that always thinks something is possible and always puts his body on the line for the benefit of everyone else. That's how he understands life and that's how he understands the game. He has very good balance for a captain."

Pep Clotet on how Jake Clarke-Salter has performed since returning to the side and how difficult it has been for him to break up an established central defensive partnership...
"It was not easy because he played against Wigan and then the next game that he plays is against Fulham who probably have the most threat offensively in the division. When I evaluate his performance, I have to take that into consideration. I realise that he did very well according to the circumstances and he offers a different kind of game to Harlee and Robbo. He offers us a little bit more pace and he offers different things offensively. With the suspension we thought he was the one to step in and we're very confident that he will improve further on Saturday."

Pep Clotet on Huddersfield Town following the appointment of Dan Cowley as their manager...
"I think it’s been a very good appointment for Huddersfield. I have seen a lot of the games since he took over, the situation was not easy, but they have made very good progression. They are strong at home and they haven’t lost in the last four games there. They have sorted a little bit the offensive part and they are creating problems because they have good individuals there, but as well there is a good team effort. The manager did fantastic at Lincoln, I followed that a few years ago, coming from non-league, being a teacher, not knowing the league, stepping into the league. Taking all this into consideration I think he has done a fantastic job and now and he is turning them into what everyone was expecting it to be, so I think it is going to be a very difficult game - especially away."

Pep Clotet asked where he expected Huddersfield's main threats to come from...
"They press high very well, they win the ball and cause problems. Some of the players like (Karlan) Grant have a very good ratio of coming in and shooting, he can play forward as well. The front three I expect them to be dangerous, the midfield tries to link well and create problems behind out full-backs. I expect a little bit of a similar game to the one against Fulham, so that when we don’t have the ball, we make sure we don’t leave gaps and put pressure in the right areas because they are dangerous up front."

Huddersfield manager Danny Cowley's comments ahead of the game...
“We had a good week in Dubai and now we need to make sure that we get value for the hard work we had out there. We always love playing at home in front of our supporters, so we are looking forward to getting back to the John Smith’s Stadium come Saturday and giving our very best against a good Birmingham team. We’ve already had a good opportunity to look at Birmingham. We’ve got some more games to watch. We know they’re a good team in a good moment. They have the opportunity to go quickly into the front, but also have technical players to allow them to have control and rhythm in games, so we know they’ll bring a really challenge and we are looking forward to that.”

Blues team news...
Midfielder Gary Gardner is edging closer to a return following his knee surgery and should be available from next week. Maikel Kieftenbeld (knee) remains sidelined until at least the new year. Captain Harlee Dean will be missing as he serves out the second game of a three-match ban after his sending off at Cardiff.

Huddersfield team news...
The Terriers will be without Jaden Brown (ankle), Tommy Elphick (knee) and Collin Quaner (hip). Jonathan Hogg is available after missing Huddersfield's last game because of suspension.

Last five meetings between Huddersfield and Blues...
FA Cup 06 Feb 2018 Blues 1 Huddersfield 4
FA Cup 27 Jan 2018 Huddersfield 1 Blues 1
Championship 29 Apr 2017 Blues 2 Huddersfield 0
Championship 05 Nov 2016 Huddersfield 1 Blues 1
Championship 23Apr 2016 Huddersfield 1 Blues 1

Total meetings between Huddersfield and Blues...
Huddersfield wins: 41
Draws: 32
Blues wins: 38

Form guide...
Huddersfield: DDWWL
Blues: LWWLL

Line-ups last league game...
Preston v Huddersfield (4-2-3-1): Grabara, Kongolo, Schindler, Elphick (Stankovic, 21), Simpson (Pritchard, 65), O’Brien, Chalobah, Bacuna, Kachunga, Grant, Diakhaby (Mounié, 60).
Subs (not used): Schofield (GK), Koroma, Hadergjonaj, Harratt.

Blues (4-4-2) v Fulham: Camp; Colin, Roberts, Clarke-Salter, Pederson; Crowley (Gimenez 62), Bellingham, Sunjic, Villalba (Montero 79); Mrabti (Bela 61), Jutkiewicz.
Subs (not used): Harding, Davis, Maghoma, Trueman (GK).

BluesTV...
BluesTV will be streaming the match live to International Subscribers. Those in the Great Britain and Ireland can get exclusive audio commentary. Commentary will be provided by Dale Moon and Jonathan Bell. For more details about BluesTV, click here.

Match officials...
Keith Stroud will take charge of Saturday's game. So far this season the Hampshire-based official has refereed 11 games, where he has produced a total of 28 yellow cards, but no reds, and awarded two penalties. The last Blues game he refereed was our final league game of the 2018/19 season at Reading in May 2019. That match ended in a 0-0 draw and Wes Harding was the only player from either side to be cautioned. He has refereed 17 Blues game to date, five of which we have won, six we have drawn and six we have lost. The last Huddersfield game he refereed was their Championship home game Bristol City in December 2016. Huddersfield won that encounter 2-1 and there were four players booked in total; including Christopher Schindler and Elias Kachung for the hosts. He has refereed 10 Terriers games to date, with the Yorkshire side winning six of them, drawing one and losing three. Mr Stroud will be assisted on Saturday by Nick Greenhalgh and Rob Smith, with Darren Drysdale acting as the fourth official.

Tickets...
Blues have sold out of our full allocation of 2,366 tickets for this game.

Supporter message...
The Club urges all supporters to be responsible in their behaviour and actions. Birmingham City knows that the overwhelming majority of our supporters do not indulge in anti-social activities and are passionate about the players and the Club. We appreciate this. We adopt a zero-tolerance stance on anti-social behaviour and spectator misconduct. This includes - amongst other things - drunkenness, throwing of missiles and use and carrying of pyrotechnics (flares, smoke bombs), racist and/or homophobic chanting. Pitch encroachment is forbidden and against the law. Please DO NOT encroach onto the pitch. Any person found to be encroaching on the pitch will automatically be served with a banning order - regardless of the circumstances. It is important that bottles, coins, flares and other items not thrown at our matches. Again, we would like to thank the overwhelming majority of supporters for their backing and their understanding.

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