Many fans up and down the EFL will be fulfillng a Boxing Day tradition of following up their festivities with a football match.
In the Sky Bet Championship, Huddersfield Town will play host to Blackpool but who will be laughing all the way to victory in West Yorkshire?
📅 Match details
Kick-off at the John Smith’s Stadium on 26 December 2021 is 15:00 for the first post-Christmas fixtures in the Terriers and Tangerines’ schedule.
Jeremy Simpson has been appointed as referee, alongside assistants Steven Meredith and Matthew McGrath, and fourth official Adam Herczeg.
👔 At the helm
Carlos Corberan stepped out of Marcelo Bielsa’s shadow at Leeds United when the Spaniard took up the role of head coach at Huddersfield Town last summer, having served as Bielsa’s number two when the Whites won promotion to the Premier League.
The Terriers boss also boasts a CV that has seen Corberan travel far and wide to earn his coaching credentials, including spells in Saudi Arabia and Cyprus, before arriving in England.
Blackpool manager Neil Critchley is here to stay after inking a new, long-term agreement with the Club in November to remain at Bloomfield Road until 2026, after joining the Tangerines in March 2020.
The Pools boss guided them to promotion from the Sky Bet League One in his first full season in charge, as Blackpool missed out on automatic promotion in 2020/21 but instead secured their place in the Championship for the 2021/22 season via the Play-Offs, overcoming Oxford United in the Semi-Finals and beating Lincoln City in the Final.
🔑 Key man
Terriers Academy graduate Lewis O’Brien has already caught the attention of Premier League suitors this season, clocking up 21 appearances and chipping in from the middle of the park.
The defensive midfielder, who progressed through the ranks from Under-11s level with Huddersfield, has stepped up to the plate this season, wearing the captain’s armband on a number of occasions, most recently against Coventry City.
Four League goals and three assists have established Keshi Anderson as a key player in Neil Critchley’s Blackpool side.
The attacking midfielder, who has emerged as one of the standout performers this season for the Tangerines, signed for Blackpool from Swindon Town in 2020, making the leap up from the Sky Bet League Two to the Championship in the space of two years, but he has acclimatised to the second-tier, contributing to the team’s impressive start to the season.
📈 Form guide
Huddersfield return to the John Smith’s Stadium this weekend, having secured their first away win since September against Bristol City last weekend, coming from behind to edge the Robins 3-2.
Back on home soil on Boxing Day, where Corberan’s side have performed considerably better, the Terriers are unbeaten in December, with five wins in their last seven in West Yorkshire, which could give the hosts an edge.
Similarly, Blackpool ended their run of seven games without a win last weekend with victory over Peterborough United and a win for the Tangerines could put them level with the Terriers on points.
The 13th-placed Pools found their footing in the Championship early on in the season before dropping into a rut in November. However, as the half-way mark approaches in the 2021/22 season, Critchley’s side returned to winning ways with a 3-1 triumph over the Posh and will be looking to kickstart their campaign on Boxing Day.
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