David Wagner sees Bournemouth as massive game for Huddersfield
Last Updated: 09/02/18 4:13pm
David Wagner accepts Huddersfield are entering a run of fixtures which are likely to determine their fate in the Premier League this season.
Having started the campaign promisingly - with the Terriers holding a mid-table position in November - a poor run of form has seen the club slip into the relegation zone.
They are currently 19th in the table - West Brom are the only team below them - but after facing Liverpool and Manchester United in their most recent two league outings, they now embark on a crucial series of games mainly against teams outside of the top six.
Seven of their next eight opponents are Bournemouth, who Huddersfield host on Sunday, followed by West Brom, Swansea, Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Brighton and Watford.
Their last four league matches of the season will see them take on Chelsea, Everton, Manchester City and Arsenal.
And looking ahead to facing the Cherries this weekend, Wagner said: "We are totally aware this is a massive game for us.
"And now, it is time to believe, that we have the chance to stay up and fight. And this does not mean just the squad but also the supporters and the whole town to fight for Premier League survival.
"We have to feel that now, over the next 13 games in the league, we have to stick together and believe.
"We all look at the fixtures and we knew we had a difficult spell with the Liverpool and (Manchester) United games.
"Now we have games against teams, in and around us, and we have a chance and must show our fighting spirit.
"Against the top six, it's not impossible, but difficult, to collect points. Now we face teams against whom the chances are a little bit bigger.
"We now have opponents who are in and around us but we still have to be at our best. We are three points behind the team 12th in the table, after 25 games, and now the crucial time starts for us."
Huddersfield have won just two of their last 15 league matches, although there have been a brace of FA Cup victories in recent weeks which has seen the Yorkshire side make it through to the last 16 of the competition.
The most recent of these came against Birmingham in midweek, when they battled back from a goal down to win 4-1 after extra-time.
However, despite playing for 120 minutes on Tuesday, Wagner believes the win was a vital confidence-booster for the squad.
The German added: "It was a long night but a successful night, and there were so many positive things to take from the game.
"We have that winning feeling again, which is important, and came back from a goal down.
"We changed the game and looked fit, physically strong, we scored four, could have been six or seven, we created opportunities and defended very well.
"It was what we needed and we need to build up the momentum. So 'yes', it was a long night, but the players have shown how fit they are.
"Every win helps, and it doesn't matter what the competition is. It was a good win and a good performance as well.
"It would have been easy to lose your focus and concentration, when we went behind, which is when your morale can drop, but exactly the opposite happened.
"The players continued and got this deserved win. The atmosphere is better and different."
Asked about the fitness of the squad going into the match against the Cherries, Wagner went on: "Tommy Smith will miss the game on Sunday.
"He suffered concussion against Birmingham on Tuesday, so we have to follow the routine and sideline him for five days.
"Christopher Schindler and Laurent Depoitre are doubts. Both are back on the grass but not with the group.
"And we'll have to see what they look like at the end of the day, and tomorrow, when we'll make the final decision after training.
"Apart from them, Danny Williams is back in training and will be in the squad. Everyone else looks fine after our recent games."