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Championship - Football: Terriers enjoying life under Corberan

Eyebrows were raised when Huddersfield hired Carlos Corberan in July 2020 but their patience has paid off with his side now well in the promotion picture.

The Spaniard is one of several exciting young coaches, who after a limited playing career, have worked their way up to find themselves in a position where their lack of on-field success is no longer held against them.

Huddersfield currently sit third in the Championship and are 8/1 to be promoted. Even if they don't win promotion, after overseeing a remarkable turnaround in Kirklees, Corberan's name could well be on the wish lists of a number of top tier clubs.

Tough introduction

Corberan was recruited from Leeds, having initially served as the club's under-23s boss before being promoted to a first-team role under Marcelo Bielsa.

Bielsa regularly praised the 38-year-old's energy and intelligence and despite his tender years, he attracted a number of admirers, with Pep Guardiola having reportedly recommended him for a job at Saudi side Al-Ittihad back in 2012.

He also spent time honing his craft in Cyprus and even turned down an approach by Cultural Leonesa to continue working at Elland Road before eventually leaving in the summer of 2020.

Huddersfield have made a habit of recruiting relatively unknown coaches, with David Wagner guiding them to the Premier League in 2017, and he took over a team that had finished 18th in their first season back in the Championship after relegation from the top flight.

Corberan did his best to inject a fresh style of play but things didn't always work out, eventually finishing 20th in the standings. After taking just two points from their final four games, a change was speculated.

However, having earned praise from both the supporters and players for his relentless nature and enthusiasm on the sidelines, the board could see something was building and he has clearly learned from his mistakes.
Defensive improvement

Huddersfield's defensive improvement has been key to their turnaround, with both positioning and personnel contributing to their rise. Having conceded a league-worst 71 times last term, Corberan has undoubtedly made a point of improving his team's shape.

As of writing, goalkeeper Lee Nicholls has kept a league-high 14 clean sheets, with the Terriers conceding 1.02 goals per game this season, as opposed to the 1.54 they averaged in 2020/21.

Nicholls seems to have established himself between the sticks after joining from MK Dons, while the arrival of defender Matty Pearson has added further authority at the back.

The Terriers have also found a bit more spark in attack, with Danny Ward particularly impressive, netting 11 times in the Championship, while Duane Holmes and Danel Sinani have added five goals apiece.

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All this has helped Huddersfield reach the fifth round of the FA Cup, with them set to visit fellow Championship hopefuls Nottm Forest on Monday.

The Terriers have beaten both Burnley and Barnsley to date and are 14/5 to win at the City Ground. However, promotion back to the Premier League is their primary goal.

They host bottom club Peterborough on Friday evening and will be eyeing a fourth Championship win in a row. A victory is priced at 3/5 and would extend the West Yorkshire outfit's unbeaten run in all competitions to 18 games. It would also take them up to second, albeit having played five more games than Bournemouth.

A draw is 14/5, while the Posh are 5/1 to win for just the seventh time this season and first time under new boss Grant McCann, who took over last month from his former coach Darren Ferguson.

Peterborough have won just once away from home this season and may also suffer from a spot of fatigue after being knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester City on Tuesday.

Can Corberan take his team up?

A top six finish at 5/6 seems to be the minimum goal for the rest of Huddersfield's campaign. Would it be a season too early for them to go up? Perhaps so, but Corberan wouldn't complain.

Even so, it isn't tough to envisage the Cheste-born coach being in the Premier League soon.

Leeds were thought to be keen to bring him back up the M62 had Bielsa lasted at Elland Road until the summer. His energy on the touchline shows he remains as committed as ever to the Terriers, but it may not prove too long until he gets an offer he cannot refuse.

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