Preview: Huddersfield Town vs. Sunderland – prediction, team news, lineups

Sunderland will travel to Yorkshire to meet Huddersfield Town on Wednesday in a game of major importance at both ends of the Championship table.

A victory at the weekend saw the visitors move seventh and only outside of the playoff places on goal difference, while their hosts’ lead over the relegation zone was reduced back to just two points in a defeat away at Southampton.
Huddersfield Town return to action on Wednesday aiming to return to winning ways in the fight for Championship survival this term, having suffered a setback at the weekend after gaining crucial ground in recent weeks.

Despite the Terriers putting an unbeaten run together with consecutive 1-1 draws against Plymouth Argyle, Blackburn Rovers and Queens Park Rangers, Darren Moore’s tenure as manager was brought to an end at the end of January with the Yorkshire outfit sat 21st on 28 points from 29 matches.

Jon Worthington has since taken over on an interim basis at the John Smith’s Stadium, and he began with a crucial relegation six-pointer at home to fellow strugglers and 23rd-placed Sheffield Wednesday in early February, overseeing a crucial 4-0 victory to stretch their lead over the drop zone as Josh Koroma hit a brace alongside goals from Matty Pearson and Sorba Thomas.
An unenviable trip to second-placed Southampton then followed on Saturday, and despite making a dream start and leading 2-0 through Thomas and David Kasumu and moving back into a 3-2 advantage through Alex Matos, they would return home empty-handed as a Tom Lees own goal drew the hosts back level 10 minutes from time before Sekou Mara and Samuel Edozie wrapped up a 5-3 home win with late goals.

Huddersfield Town vs Sunderland Prediction, Betting Tips & Odds │14  February, 2024

As a result of their rivals in the fight to avoid the drop picking up positive results, the Terriers’ leads over 22nd-placed Queens Park Rangers and 23rd-placed Sheffield Wednesday were cut back to two and five points, respectively, and they will be desperate to bounce back in midweek to re-establish a cushion while the search for a new permanent manager continues.
Sunderland, who have had a recent run of good form, will stand in their way at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Following his appointment as manager in mid-December, Michael Beale was unable to inspire an instant improvement in the Black Cats’ top-six ambitions, with his first six Championship games earning only seven points.

That poor start resulted in back-to-back defeats to Ipswich Town and Hull City in mid-January, but the Wearside club appears to have turned a corner in recent weeks, bouncing back from those setbacks with seven points from their past three efforts.

The Black Cats first hosted Stoke City and won 3-1, thanks to goals from Mason Burstow, Abdoullah Ba, and Pierre Ekwah, and after a 1-1 draw with rivals Middlesbrough, they most recently met Plymouth Argyle at the weekend and won 3-1, despite trailing at halftime, as Ekwah, Jack Clarke, and Jobe Bellingham turned the game on its head in the second half.

Sunderland, now seventh after leapfrogging playoff rivals Hull City with that win, and only trailing sixth-placed Coventry City on goal difference and fifth-placed West Bromwich Albion by two points, will look to make it four games unbeaten and climb into the top six with a midweek victory in Yorkshire.

Huddersfield Town are still dealing with a long list of enforced absentees, which has only grown in recent weeks. Key defender Michal Helik and new attacker Rhys Healey were absent at the weekend, while Oliver Turton, Josh Ruffels, Jaheim Headley, Chris Maxwell, Danny Ward, and Delano Burgzorg are all still in the treatment room, and attacker Kian Harratt is also suspended.

If Helik is injured, Matty Pearson, Tom Lees, and Yuta Nakayama should form an unchanged back three from the weekend, with Jonathan Hogg and Alex Matos expected to retain their midfield spots despite challenge from Ben Wiles.

With Healey, Ward, Burgzorg, and Harratt out, Bojan Radulovic will try to lead the line, but Worthington may once again choose Josh Koroma to do so, with crucial players Jack Rudoni and Sorba Thomas assisting.

Michael Beale will almost certainly field a similar Sunderland starting XI to the one that defeated Plymouth Argyle 3-1 at the weekend, with Dennis Cirkin, Niall Huggins, Ajibola Alese, and Bradley Dack still out injured, while new signing Callum Styles is still out.

One change could be the return of Jobe Bellingham to an advanced midfield role from the start, after scoring his fifth Championship goal of the season off the bench last time out. The 18-year-old should replace Abdoullah Ba alongside Pierre Ekwah, with Dan Neil once again anchoring the midfield.

Nazariy Rusin will continue to lead the line, with attacking support from wingers Patrick Roberts and Jack Clarke, who is joint-fourth in the Championship scoring charts with 14 league goals this season.

Possible starting lineup for Huddersfield Town: Nicholls, Pearson, Lees, Nakayama; Kasumu, Matos, Hogg, Spencer; Rudoni, Koroma, and Thomas.

Sunderland’s likely starting lineup: Patterson; Hume, Ballard, O’Nien, Hjelde; Neil; Roberts, Bellingham, Ekwah, Clarke; Rusyn.

We predict: Huddersfield Town 1-2 Sunderland.
Huddersfield Town demonstrated their fighting spirit despite ultimately falling short away against one of the league’s top clubs last weekend, following a massive victory over Sheffield Wednesday, and they will undoubtedly make it difficult for the Black Cats on Wednesday.

However, the visitors have more quality throughout their squad, and with momentum on their side, we believe Beale’s men will prevail in a difficult test.

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