David Wagner’s men endured a frustrating afternoon when they last took to the field. A 0-0 draw at home to Swansea City does not sound like a disastrous result on the face of it, but Huddersfield were left feeling extremely disappointed after failing to beat a team who were playing with only 10 men for 79 of the 90 minutes. The Terriers had 28 attempts on goal but only landed four on target, showcasing an attacking bluntness which has been on display in several of their games this term. The Swans spent the vast majority of the match pinned back in their own half of the field – they did not attempt a single shot all game – but their backs-to-the-wall defending denied the hosts. Huddersfield remain outside the bottom three, but a four-point gap is too close for comfort.
Crystal Palace fell to a fourth defeat in their last four games last Saturday, but again they did not disgrace themselves against top-six opposition. Indeed, a 2-1 reverse at Chelsea continued a theme of narrow losses in recent weeks, with Tottenham Hotspur edging out the Eagles 1-0 and Manchester United scraping a 3-2 win at Selhurst Park. Despite some creditable moments in all three matches, Palace failed to collect a single point from the nine available; although they clearly would not have targeted such matches when the fixtures were released, they now find themselves with little margin for error in the last two months of the season.
Huddersfield will have to make do without Terence Kongolo (hip), Michael Hefele (knee), Elias Kachunga (knee) and Jon Stankovic (knee), but Wagner has no fresh injury concerns to contend with. Town have favoured Steve Mounie over Laurent Depoitre up front in recent weeks and are unlikely to change that on Saturday, particularly as the former Montpellier frontman netted twice against Frank de Boer’s Palace on the opening day of the campaign. Collin Quaner could come into the line of three behind the centre-forward, possibly at the expense of Alex Pritchard, but Wagner is unlikely to make wholesale changes to his starting XI.
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Hodgson told reporters after the Chelsea defeat that Yohan Cabaye, Mamadou Sakho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek should resume full training this week, although it remains to be seen whether any of the trio will be in contention for a starting spot in Yorkshire. Joel Ward (muscle) is another player who will have to be assessed before kick-off, but Julian Speroni (knee), Connor Wickham (knee), Bakary Sako (ankle), Scott Dann (knee) and Jason Puncheon (knee) are definitely out. Wilfried Zaha came through the second half of the Chelsea game unscathed and will be involved from the first minute here, with Hodgson likely to favour a 4-3-3 formation with one of Christian Benteke or Alexander Sorloth leading the line at the top of the pitch.
Tension will be high at the John Smith’s Stadium, particularly as Huddersfield known that victory here would provide them with a significant shot in the arm in their ongoing battle against the drop. The Terriers have at times been a little blunt going forward, though – as was evidenced by the blank they drew against Swansea – and the fact that Palace will also take a reactive, safety-first approach means a high-scoring encounter is unlikely. With that in mind, it could be worth backing fewer than 2.5 goals to be scored in total on Saturday afternoon.