Nigel Clough blames Huddersfield Town for tough Championship matches

After Huddersfield Town did what many pundits felt was impossible last season and won promotion from the Championship to the Premier League, Burton Albion boss Nigel Clough feels that the second tier of English football has got more difficult

Nigel Clough blames Huddersfield Town for tough Championship matches
Pic: Getty Images

Burton Albion boss Nigel Clough believes life in the Sky Bet Championship has got harder since Huddersfield Town achieved promotion to the Premier League at the end of the season.

The Terriers did what many pundits believed impossible, having been favourite for relegation and known as "the perennial strugglers", having finished towards the bottom of the Championship most of the previous years since making it to that division - the club won the promotion play off at Wembley Stadium against Reading after a penalty shootout.

Clough feels that the remarkable story of Town last season has made the division much harder this time round for his club and other rivals. Having finished the previous season on 51 points, just one point ahead of Albion, the success the Terriers achieved has sparked Premier League dreams amoungst the second tier clubs.

Difficult opposition

Albion have experienced the depth of quality in the Championship this year, having lost 4-0 to Aston Villa and Wolverhamption Wanderers back to back. The club have also lost to four of the top seven in the Championship so far this year.

"If I asked you right now who is going to win the league and who is going to be the top two from so far, could you? There's the top six, plus the ones outside." Clough said

"You don't rule out Derby County. They're in the bottom half, and you wouldn't rule Derby out for automatic promotion." the Albion boss added.

Although Huddersfield are not the first to achieve the success of promotion to the top flight of English football from the second tier, Clough is clear on who is to blame for the new standard in the lower leage

"I blame Huddersfield!" he joked.

"Huddersfield's achievement is what has led to a lot more teams, like Huddersfield, saying, 'well if they can do it, we can do it'."

Blackpool achieved the same feat 10 years ago and at the time other teams thought "Why can't we do a Blackpool". 10 years seems to be when the remarkable stories happen, but it doesn't stop the clubs dreaming and striving.

"But all the clubs of Huddersfield's sort of size are sitting there, they've invested heavily and thought, 'if they can do it, we've got a chance' Clough said. Villa and Wolves are certainly looking to to return to the Premier League come May 2018.