Neil Warnock, Huddersfield's Demise And The Championship Relegation Battle

Huddersfield Town were 90 minutes away from the Premier League last summer
10:07, 07 Mar 2023

With 12 games to go, Neil Warnock knows he needs a miracle to save Huddersfield Town. Ahead of their crucial midweek home game against Bristol City, the legendary gaffer knows he needs a win. The Terriers are now propping up the Championship, have conceded four goals in each of their last two outings and haven’t shown any signs of improvement since Warnock came in on February 13. 

They’ve lost three out of four league games since his arrival, with the only brief glimmer of hope coming in the form of a home win over a Birmingham City side that are sinking towards a relegation battle of their own. 

It’s remarkable to think that less than 12 months ago, Huddersfield were on the brink of the Premier League, facing Nottingham Forest in the play-off final. Had they been awarded just one of the two solid penalty claims they had, this could have been a whole different story but instead of progression, they have fallen apart. 


It becomes even more stark when you look at the other three teams that were in the play-offs last term. Forest are doing well in the top flight, while Sheffield United and Luton Town have kicked on again and are back in the top six, with the Blades desperate to secure second spot and automatic promotion. 

All those clubs built on their solid foundations, while Huddersfield completely destroyed theirs. Things seemed to be array when influential and talented head coach Carlos Corberan resigned just three weeks before the start of the new season, citing a lack of ambition as his main reason. That should have set alarm bells ringing for Town fans, while the transfer business only sparked further cause for concern. 

They lost key players Lewis O’Brien and Harry Toffolo to Forest, while Pipa left for Olympiakos. Naby Sarr moved on to Reading while Danel Sinani and Levi Colwill’s loan spells ended, completely annihilating the team that started the play-off final. Even Sorba Thomas, so impressive last term, fell out of form and favour, before being loaned to Blackburn Rovers in January. Given his upturn in form, that decision seems bizarre. 

Only four of that starting XI remain at the club and the decision to give the managerial job to inexperienced former player Danny Schofield backfired. He won one from nine and was in charge for 69 days before being given the boot. Instead of going for experience in his replacement, they gave another coach his first managerial job in Mark Fotheringham. Again it backfired, although he did manage five wins across his 21 matches in charge. 

If you could plan out a disastrous season for a football club, it would look something like Huddersfield’s effort this term. Influential manager resigns? Tick. Lose all your best players? Tick. Two inexperienced managers sacked? Tick. 

Fast forward to the present day and they’ve turned to former manager Neil Warnock. The man who simply can’t stay away from the sport he has desperately tried to leave behind is back for ‘one more job’. But Warnock will have to pull off another miracle to keep this lot up. In truth, he hasn’t changed much in his short time there. Huddersfield haven’t really improved.

It doesn’t help that the trio in the relegation zone look cut adrift. Town are bottom on 31 points, while Wigan Athletic and Blackpool sit just above them on 32 points apiece - with none of the three in any sort of form. Cardiff City are the nearest targets on 38 points in 21st, but they have won three of their last four, and while QPR are sinking like a stone, they are seven points clear of the drop zone. 

The one glimmer of hope on the horizon for the strugglers could be an impending points deduction for Reading but Huddersfield have to start winning matches at the John Smith’s Stadium if they have any chances of survival. They’ve been battered by Burnley and Coventry in the last two outings - tonight is a chance for Warnock to start again. 

Otherwise we could see Neil Warnock and Mick McCarthy relegated in the same season. 

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject to Change

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