Sheffield Wednesday: Jack’s on a derby Hunt-ing mission

Jack Hunt
Jack Hunt

Very, very occasionally you meet some footballers who dread the prospect of facing their former employers.

The individual may, publicly, say they are looking forward to the contest, dismissing suggestions of needing to prove a point.

Jack Hunt

Jack Hunt

But privately, the reality can be very different. Deep down that player will be thinking hard about the sort of reception they will receive and desperately want to impress so they can remind everyone of exactly what they are missing.

Sometimes the build up and anticipation impedes their performance.

Tomorrow Sheffield Wednesday entertain Huddersfield Town, a club close to Jack Hunt’s heart. The attack minded full-back came through the ranks at the West Yorkshire club, clocking up 121 appearances, including the 2012 League One Play-Off final triumph over Sheffield United on penalties at Wembley, before earning his big money move to Crystal Palace a year later.

The local derby will be the fifth time Hunt, who has shrugged off a knee injury, has lined up against the Terriers. If Hunt is feeling a tad anxious, he hides his emotions well.

“Huddersfield are one of my old clubs but I left quite a while a go,” he told The Star. “There have been big changes there and managers have come and gone.

“I have stayed in touch with a few of the lads but a lot of the players who I was very close to have left.

“I still do look out for their results and have a massive amount of respect for them because they brought me through in football.

“But times have changed and I’m not there anymore. I don’t really see it at as anything else other than another game.

“As much as I have respect for them, I still want to beat them on Saturday.”

Huddersfield travel to South Yorkshire under new management. David Wagner officially takes charge of his first match as Terriers head coach at Hillsborough, having been appointed before the two-week international break.

The former United States international was a surprise choice to succeed Chris Powell but has promised to deliver “full throttle” attacking football. Wagner has previously worked with Liverpool chief Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund and was best man at Klopp’s wedding.

When asked if Wagner’s appointment makes Wednesday’s task of returning to winning ways more difficult, Hunt replied: “It does as it gives everyone a lift when a new manager comes in and there is a change at a club.

“Everyone is trying to impress the new manager whether it is people trying to keep their place or people who have not been involved and want to show what they can do.”

For Hunt, there will be room for sentiment as Wednesday seek to get back on track following their shock defeat at troubled Charlton Athletic.

“It was just an off day and we weren’t at the races,” admitted Hunt, who has played 16 times this season.

“You could possibly say we were a little bit naive. Our passing game wasn’t at it and maybe we needed to mix our game up more.

“Most of our players weren’t at it and that happens in football at times. But the Charlton game is behind us now.

“If you had asked anyone from the fans to the coaching staff if we would had taken one defeat from the last 12 games, then we would have snapped your hands off.

“We would have loved to have kept the 11-match unbeaten going but we are still in a very positive frame of mind.

“There have been times where haven’t played that well but we haven’t lost and that’s a good sign.

“Now everyone is raring to go after the break. We know the fixtures will come thick and fast and that the winter period will be a real test for us.”

What Owls can take heart from is their impressive home results. Carlos Carvalhal’s men have won seven of their 11 matches in all competitions this season.

Hunt acknowledged: “If you look at anyone who has got into the play-offs in this league over the last 20 years, it is a fact you need a good home form.

“If we can win as many home games as possible, it makes life a lot easier.”

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