David Wagner claims Huddersfield are under much less pressure than their Premier League relegation rivals – including Saturday’s opponents West Brom.
Rock-bottom West Brom will bid to put their off-field troubles behind them at the Hawthorns, but Terriers head coach Wagner believes his club’s low expectation levels give them a distinct advantage.
“It’s no disadvantage that our job from day one has only been to survive,” said Wagner, whose side bounced straight out of the bottom three after their recent thumping win against Bournemouth.
“After 27 games other teams with other targets and other history are in different situations. The pressure is much more on them.
“A lot of teams have already changed their manager. Managers are sacked for a reason – they have not met expectations.”
Wagner insists now is a good time to play West Brom, but not because of the recent sacking of chairman John Williams and chief executive Martin Goodman, nor players breaking a club curfew last week on a training camp in Barcelona.
Four Baggies players, including skipper Jonny Evans and Gareth Barry, were accused of stealing a taxi during a late night incident outside a restaurant, but look set to avoid legal action because of a lack of evidence.
“It’s a fact that they have some problems and have had some quieter days,” said Wagner.
“I’m totally sure (manager) Alan (Pardew) would wish this would not be the case. But it is and he has to deal with it.
“It doesn’t bother us as it’s nothing we can influence. This is a good time to meet them, but not because of this. I think this it’s a good time to meet them because of us.
“Because of our momentum, not their problems. It’s a very difficult game that we have the solutions for and this is what we have to show.
“The pressure is on for both teams, there is no doubt about it. But we have shown that we are able to show very good performances under pressure.
“This is what makes us even more confident that we can get a positive result and another very good performance.”
The Terriers welcome back Alex Pritchard, ineligible for last week’s FA Cup defeat against Manchester United, but Aaron Mooy remains sidelined due to an infected cut on a knee.
Michael Hefele has shaken off illness and fellow defender Chris Lowe hopes to shake off a hamstring strain.
West Brom are seven points from safety with 11 games remaining after winning just once in their previous 25, while Huddersfield halted their winless eight-match league run against Bournemouth.
“There will be so many twists and turns,” Wagner added. “The important thing is to deal with defeats as we will concede defeats.
“We have to use our momentum, take it and fight with it. It’s about two things – use your momentum and manage your defeats.”