By L Hammond
Huddersfield returns to action for the first time in a month as they face off against first-placed Stockport.
Due to a combination of the winter weather and questionable pitch surfaces, Huddersfield’s tittle charge has stalled amidst cancelled fixtures.
At the end of January, Huddersfield led the National 3 North table by a comfortable seven point margin. This margin has now been surpassed by Stockport who leapfrogged Field and have opened up a three point lead at the top.
The lack of playing time combined with Stockport’s continued fine form has seen Huddersfield Manager Lee Paxman name his as the underdogs: “When we played them at home it was a very close game and I’d probably say we are not favourites for this game, we are the under dogs, but we’re happy with that.”
The result of the fixture is sure to revolve around which side can unlock the others defence with both teams holding the league’s best defensive records, Field Manager Paxman believes the key to victory could lie at the feet of Huddersfield full back Tom Hodson: “Tom will key at full back to make sure we play in the right areas. With defences so strong Tom will also need to have an accurate kicking game, it could be three points which make or break a season and we have every faith in Tom”.
Huddersfield welcome back centre Tom Owen and flanker Ben Hoyle who both return from injury to take their place in the starting line-up. Robert ‘Bob’ Sykes drops to the bench where he is joined by new signing Dan Jefferey, who is set to make his debut.
With victory essential to keep Huddersfield in the hunt for promotion Paxman believes this game could have a bearing on any future league success: “This really is a 10 point game and cannot be under estimated, if Stockport win they could go seven points ahead, although we have the games in hand this will still be a big points difference to overcome and will put us under a lot of pressure.”
The match is a 3pm kick off with all fans who can make the journey the Stockport, encouraged to do so.
Huddersfield 1st XV vs Stockport
1. Alex Battye
2. James Davies
3. Antony Stringwell
4. Nick Rhodes
5. Gav Rhodes
6. Ross Tohrnton
7. Ben Hoyle
8. Nick Sharpe (c)
9. Joel Hinchliffe
10. Giles Hetherngton
11. Michael Clarke
12. Tom Owen
13. Ben Mitchel
14. Elliot Hodgson
15. Tom Hodson