Huddersfield Town: Terriers in running for promotion - O'Regan

After hanging up his playing boots in 1998 and then ultimately saying goodbye to management the year after, Kieran O'Regan has witnessed most things at Huddersfield Town in the 10 years that followed.

Music to Town's fans' ears then that the Irishman is anticipating the second half of the season with excitement and relish.

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O'Regan, now 47, played over 200 games for Huddersfield between 1988 and 1993 and now plys his trade as a summariser for BBC Radio Leeds in watching the side he used to represent.

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The former midfielder has seen good times and bad at the Galpharm since hanging up his boots but insists all is essentially rosy with the Terriers, desite the club's miserable Christmas defeats to Hartlepool United and Southampton.

Town can go some way to righting recent wrongs in the clash with promotion rivals Sheffield Wednesday – currently fourth favourites for the league title behind Brighton, Southampton and Charlton with Huddersfield League One's fifth best team in most bookmakers' pecking order.

However, O'Regan still feels Town possess the strength in depth to match any of them – the former midfielder highly optimistic about the second half of the season with only his debut run in the London Marathon in April giving him any serious cause for concern!

Assessing some of Huddersfield's automatic promotion rivals, O'Regan told Yorkshire Sport: "I didn't see the Brighton game but obviously I

saw the game against Sheffield Wednesday and we tore them apart.

"But I think the problem in this division is that everybody seems to be able to beat everybody else and it's about the team that can put a run together – I don't think there's any outstanding team in the division.

"I think we've got a very, very good squad, it's just trying to get the best out of the squad.

"I spoke to some friends at Brighton and they said even though they are top of the table they are not playing particularly well and I believe we are still in a very good position.

"Ideally we will try and get into the top two because the play-offs are a lottery and we froze last year down at Millwall."

Victory at Millwall would have taken Town to the League One play-off final last term, putting them one game away from a return to the Championship in what was then manager Lee Clark's first full season in charge.

Now the Newcastle-born manager, pictured above, is having his second bite at the cherry but regardless of the recent Christmas disappointments, O'Regan feels Clark is here to stay and quite rightly so.

He said: "We are still in a great position, yes we have had a couple of bad results recently, but I think the chairman has shown his desire and willingness for the stability of the football club.

"The chairman is backing the manager and I think it's only good for Huddersfield Town that we have a bit of stability.

"I'm looking forward to the rest of the season. The players are good enough and it's up to them now to go out and show it week-in, week-out."

Next on Huddersfield's agenda is tomorrow's lunchtime showdown with the Owls after which comes Town's FA Cup third-round clash at home to minnows Dover Athletic.

With around 70 league places between them, Town's FA Cup opponents will do well to get their head around the size of the task in store at Huddersfield, but O'Regan says the tie is no gimme at all.

"I think the supporters will be expecting an easy game, but I don't think it will be easy and certainly Lee Clark won't be thinking so," he said.

"He will show them as much respect as he will to Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday but then again it's a game you would look at and think, well, it's a great opportunity.

"It's a home draw, it's against a non-league team and we would expect to be in the next round of the FA Cup."

After that will be the prospect of a trip to Wembley when Town take on Carlisle United over two legs in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy northern area final.

The competition has been called names in the past, but O'Regan knows few will scoff at the chance of a trip to the famous stadium and possible silverware and feels Clark deserves credit for his attitude towards the JP Trophy as a whole.

"You've got to give credit to the manager because he's taken the competition seriously from day one," said O'Regan.

"We are in a great position but I know Greg Abbott (Carlisle's manager) very well, Carlisle are a good foootballing side and it will be a difficult tie."

O'Regan will continue casting his opinions at Town's home games, but the Cork-born former professional knows fitting in some personal training is also a must with the London Marathon on the horizon.

The Irishman ran the Great North Run last year but admits the London event is a different ball game entirely and while the former midfielder is comfortable about Huddersfield's prospects the thought of a 26-mile run is slightly more worrying!

O'Regan said: "I'll still be doing a little bit of radio, looking forward to the games and I'll have to do a little bit of training because I've got the London Marathon!

"I've not done it before but I did the Great North Run last September which is a half marathon.

"I'm still trying to get my head around it at the moment!

Leeds United's Liam Cooper.

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