Writer: Dan Malin
Date:Saturday November 5 2011
People talk of the mammoth tasks of days gone by and it is little wonder that these moments are recorded in history for future generations. The Wright Brothers thought it might be a laugh to get the human race off the ground and, a century later, countless men and women are now jetting off wherever they dam well please. Emile Heskey`s mother faced a mammoth task when she was told she was expected to push out a 22-pound baby but push she did and, 30 years later, Mr Heskey has re-written footballing history in becoming a pointless target man that everybody seems to think is an essential member of any team he plays in. On the anniversary of a failed mass murder, we humble Saddlers come up against another one of our famous mammoth tasks in the shape of unbeatable Huddersfield Town. When they beat us, they will have gone 42 games unbeaten which will match a record that has stood since 1978. Technically speaking, Arsenal went 49 games unbeaten but no one really likes or cares about our cousins in the capital so Forest`s record is the one we`re all concentrating on.
So just why are they going to beat us? Well reason 1 is Lee Novak. Reason 2 is Jordan Rhodes. Reason 3 is Scott Arfield. Reason 4 is Gary Roberts and reason 5 is Peter Clarke. They are the in-form team in the country at the moment and Jordan Rhodes is most definitely the in-form striker, behind Robin Van Persie of course. He has 11 goals in 12 games this season and I am not stupid enough to believe that his run of form will come to an end at the hands of our back 4. We defend passionately and resolutely but Daniel Nardiello proved that if a player is good enough, all the body-on-the-line defending in the world will not be good enough to stop him picking his spot at some point in the game. With service from the likes of Arfield and Roberts, Novak and Rhodes will get no end of chances and this could be a massacre if they have got their boots on the right feet. Novak returns to the starting line-up in the absence of Alan Lee and I think he could be just as dangerous as young Rhodes next to him. Novak is a man I have a lot of time for and his annoying knack of scoring all the bloody time will probably serve him well against us today. Finally, the captain; Peter Clarke. Solidity in your back 4 is a necessity for a promotion-chasing team and that is personified in Peter Clarke. He will play centre-half for the next 10 hours straight if it means his side can come away with the points and you can`t put a price on a player like that. We probably won`t get past him is the jist of what I`m trying to say.
So why might they not beat us? For some strange reason we step up when our backs are against the wall and, even in the absence of quality, we have character and there aren`t many teams who can offer the energy levels and hunger that we can. We never stop running, we never roll over and we just love an upset. We`re up against one of the best teams outside the Premier League so you can be fairly sure we`re going to play beyond anything that we should be capable of.
I`m surprisingly optimistic going into this game and I think we could frustrate them. They`re a top team and we will go there knowing that possession football is not the plan for today. If we`re going to give them a problem we`ll have to deal with about 6 problems of our own but I think we`re capable of that and I`ll go for a 1-1 draw. Huddersfield always score but, aside from MK Dons, we don`t lose by more than 1 goal to anyone and I think we might nick an equaliser at some stage after Jordan Rhodes or Lee Novak scores.
Date:Saturday November 5 2011
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