By Tony Leighton
Huddersfield Town manager Simon Grayson and his players are enjoying the international break as they reflect on a fine start to the season after winning promotion via the npower League 1 Play-Offs to regain the npower Championship status the club lost in 2001.
The Terriers have stepped back up to the higher level as though they had never been away and, after almost a quarter of the campaign, they are lying sixth in the table and looking capable of challenging for a fourth successive season to reach the Play-Offs.
But Grayson, who took over in February and saw his team clinch promotion through an epic penalty shoot-out in the Play-Off Final, is refusing to be drawn on whether or not Huddersfield can do as Norwich City and Southampton have done in the last two years by climbing from npower League 1 to the Premier League in successive seasons.
"In the last few years you've seen where teams can go," said the former Blackpool and Leeds United boss, "but I'm not saying we're going to do that. If we're in the Championship again next year then this will have been a successful season for us.
"It's a tough division where getting points is never easy, but we've got no great expectation on us. The only pressure we have is the pressure I put on the players to perform every week and to maintain the standards that we set ourselves.
"There's nobody above me saying, 'we've got to finish in the top two or the top six,' we're just being told to go and enjoy the Championship and see where it takes us. So we'll just go and take each game as it comes and try to do the best we can."
The Terriers have acquitted themselves well to the Championship despite losing prolific scorer Jordan Rhodes, who, with 40 goals last term, was their key player but who was sold to Blackburn Rovers for £8million in August.
Grayson has replaced Rhodes, in the short term at least, with the three-month loan signing of Leicester City striker Jermaine Beckford, a player who the manager knows well having got the very best out of him when the pair were together at Leeds.
Beckford scored his first Huddersfield goal in his second game, last Saturday's 1-0 win at Birmingham City, and Grayson said: "I've worked with Jermaine at length and when I brought him to Huddersfield I said he'd always get you goals.
"We worked hard to try to get the deal done in August, but then we re-approached it and got the go-ahead. I'm delighted that Leicester let him come to us and he's enjoying his football like the rest of the lads at the club are.
"I've got a good group of players who have got a fantastic spirit among them. They work hard on the training pitch and on match-days they play with a smile on their faces and a refreshing attitude. So we'll just go on enjoying the Championship, working hard, and we'll see where that takes us come the end of the season."
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