History repeating itself as David Wagner plans changes against Birmingham

History repeating itself as David Wagner plans changes against Birmingham
David Wagner is prepared to name an entirely different side in Huddersfield’s FA Cup tie.

David Wagner is prepared to name an entirely different side in Huddersfield’s FA Cup tie against Birmingham if he thinks it would benefit the club.

Terriers and head coach Wagner escaped punishment from the English Football League last season when making 10 changes for his side’s defeat at Birmingham in their penultimate Sky Bet Championship match.

EFL chiefs demanded a written explanation but decided to take no further action, while Wagner felt his rotation was vindicated after Huddersfield went on to secure promotion to the Premier League for the first time via the play-offs.

When asked if he would consider making the same number of changes again on Saturday, Wagner replied: "I’ll make 11 if necessary.

"No complaints about it. No problems with it. If it’s beneficial for my football club and it guarantees me more success on Saturday, then we will make 11.

"This is how it is for me. This is the absolute priority, what is best for my football club, and what gives me the highest chance to be successful."

The Terriers also lost their final league match last season, at home to Cardiff, but went on to beat Sheffield Wednesday in the play-off semi-finals and then won a penalty shootout at Wembley against Reading.

"To be totally honest, I thought it was a joke when they told me that there would be an investigation," Wagner said.

"At the end, of course, it’s easy. We can say we did everything right. We were successful in the play-offs.

"Joel Coleman, who got minutes in this game, played in the semi-final (first leg) against Sheffield Wednesday because Wardy (Danny Ward) got a red card in the last game before the semi-final.

"So all the thoughts I had theoretically when I made this decision against Birmingham came true. This is why I can say we have done everything right in favour of success for our football club.

"This maybe an example of why I am not interested in what other people say. This should not be disrespectful, in this case. I am the manager of Huddersfield Town and I have to make sure that we are successful."

Recent signing Alex Pritchard is cup-tied for Saturday’s fourth-round tie having appeared for former club Norwich in round three against Chelsea, but Wagner has a near full-strength squad to choose from.

The head coach confirmed Coleman will start in goal in place of Jonas Lossl and that he will mix up his squad, but said he will make a late decision on exactly how many changes he will make.

Fit-again Dane Philip Billing is expected to feature, while fellow midfielder Danny Williams, Abdelhamid Sabiri, central defenders Michael Hefele and Terence Kongolo, right-back Tommy Smith and striker Laurent Depoitre are all hoping to benefit from Wagner’s squad rotation.

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