At Wembley on Sunday, Huddersfield Town returned to the top flight after more than 50 years away, defeating Reading in a dramatic penalty shootout. A nervous and tense affair ended with spot kicks, and despite falling behind, Christopher Schindler struck the crucial fifth penalty to ensure The Terriers will be playing Premier League football for the first time.
David Wagner’s men are an interesting proposition, as a number of their key players season are loan signings who may return to their parent clubs and move elsewhere. The German’s knowledge of his home country will likely play a big role in his transfer dealings going forward, so their activity will be worth keeping tabs on.
Below is a run down of their stand out performers from the 2016/17 campaign:
By far the lowest scorers in the top eight in The Championship, Huddersfield shared their 56 goals around this season. Whilst both Elias Kachunga and Nahki Wells both hit double figures with 12 and 10 respectively, nobody else scored more than four times for the club throughout their league campaign. In fact, they’ve actually reached the Premier League despite recording a -2 goal difference this year and not scoring a goal in the playoffs aside from an own goal in their semi final against Sheffield Wednesday. Still, the good news for Wagner is that Kachunga’s permanent move is complete, and the DR Congo forward will likely be their highest priced FPL asset next season, superstar signing aside. Wells will be slightly behind in price, but either will do well to break the 10 goal mark in my opinion. Chelsea loanee Izzy Brown could be an option if he stays, and the Blues might be keen to farm him out for another year in an environment he’s familiar with. If so, he’ll want to build on his five goals from this campaign from his position of playing just behind Wells. Other players, such as Collin Quaner, Joe Lolley and Florent Bojaj should not be considered.
The lack of goals scored by The Terriers means there’s no likely Frank Lampard coming from their midfield. Kasey Palmer (on loan from Chelsea) and Aaron Mooy (on loan from Manchester City) chipped in with four goals apiece, and again their futures will need to be decided before we know if either will be genuine budget options for your midfield. Australian Mooy is seen as the team’s creative force though, with the 26-year-old contributing seven assists this term. Palmer has just three to his name, although it should be noted his figures have come in far fewer minutes than Mooy’s. Rajiv Van La Parra is a pacy and tricky wide man, but he can sometimes be wasteful in the box, which is an unhelpful trait when you’re picking your fantasy team! Defensive minded players such as Jonathan Hogg and Dean Whitehead will likely be owned by nobody but their families, though youngster Jack Payne might be worth keeping an eye on. Payne was used sparingly from the bench mostly this season, but notched a couple of assists and is a strong passer of the ball – an attribute we know is important when it comes to claiming bonus points.
I don’t know about you but when I see the name Tommy Smith, I instantly think back to the old Watford forward, who was a bit of a Championship journeyman during the mid and early 2000’s. Fortunately, Town’s version is not that man. Smith is actually a top defender who recorded 10 assists this term, which is four more than Kyle Walker – the FPL top assisting defender – recorded this season. Smith also chipped in with four goals and is the club captain, so he’s likely to play a key role in Wagner’s side next year. If he’s priced at around the 4.0-4.5m mark next term he could be an absolute steal as your last defender. Schindler, mentioned above as Monday’s penalty hero, is another regular at the back, as is left back Chris Lowe. Both were good for a couple of goals and assists each this season. In goal, another loanee, Danny Ward, has been the star. Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp – a good pal of Wagner’s – will surely let Ward remain and gain experience as a top flight number one, which would be beneficial for both player and his clubs. Ward has star potential, saving a couple of penalties across Huddersfield’s playoff shoot-outs. With the team likely to be up against it next term, Ward could well have a season similar to Tom Heaton from this year, and we all know how many points he earned for FPL sides despite Burnley not being the greatest team around.
Written by Joe McPhee (@JPMc99)