HUDDERSFIELD TOWN manager David Wagner says the “nice present” of a home tie against Manchester United in the next round will be a big motivation for his players tonight.
The Terriers travel to Birmingham City knowing that victory in the fourth-round replay will bring Jose Mourinho’s men back to the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday, February 17.
With the winners at St Andrews bagging £90,000 in prize money plus a guaranteed TV fee of £247,500 with the Red Devils tie to be shown by BT Sport, the victors will be in for a sizeable cash windfall.
It is, however, the chance to take on a team who have already lost in Huddersfield this season that is firing Wagner’s men to succeed tonight.
“Manchester United at home is the present you get if we come through,” the Terriers chief told The Yorkshire Post.
“That is a nice present, of course it is.
We had it once already this season and we would love to have it a second time. This is what we work for, to play Manchester United in the next round.Huddersfield Town manager, David Wagner
“We had it once already this season and we would love to have it a second time. This is what we work for, to play Manchester United in the next round.
“We will have to be at our highest level because Birmingham is a good side. I am totally clear, we want to get to the next round.”
Wagner made seven changes for the first tie against the Blues due to having one eye on the league clash with Liverpool just three days later.
This time his options will be limited with Christopher Schindler and Laurent Depoitre absent due to foot injuries sustained in last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford.
Both will be fit for Sunday’s crucial home clash with Bournemouth.
Also absent tonight are Alex Pritchard (Cup-tied), Elias Kachunga (knee) and Danny Williams (dead leg), but Wagner insists his side will be strong enough to progress.
“What is the definition of a stronger team?” he added. “We will take a selection that can get us through. We will make changes, like always. But we have a bigger gap until we play our next opponent on Sunday.
“I don’t know yet if we will make as many changes as the first game, but we will send out a squad that is capable and competitive and able to win this football match. A win lifts everyone. It will help with the Premier League, I am sure.”
Town slipped into the relegation zone for the first time this season courtesy of the weekend loss tat Old Trafford.
Victory in the West Midlands, therefore, would be the ideal tonic after being held to a 1-1 draw in the initial tie, which ended with some among the 12,683 crowd jeering Huddersfield from the field.
“I absolutely understand the boos,” said Wagner, when asked if he felt such a reaction was unfair. “Yes, Birmingham is a good side, a big Championship name that started the competition with a clear target of at least reaching the play-off spots.
“They have not had the best season, but, in the recent past, they have been collecting points. They have totally different ambitions, due to where they are now.
“But we are the Premier League side. If we, as a Premier League side, play at home to Birmingham, the expectation is that we are successful.
“So, I totally understand if, after this game, people were not satisfied that we were not able to go through.
“They had every right to show they were not satisfied, even though I think we had two good (goalscoring) opportunities and conceded a goal from a huge mistake. The supporters had every right to show their frustration and that they were not happy. ”
Last six games: Birmingham City WLDDWW Huddersfield Town WLLDLL.
Referee: C Kavanagh (Lancashire).
Last time: Birmingham City 2 Huddersfield Town 0; April 29, 2017; Championship.