Friday, 8 August 2014

Robins has his work cut out against Howe

This weekend Mark Robins, 44, will come up against Eddie Howe for the third time when his Huddersfield Town side take on the Cherries. Appointed at the Terriers in February 2013 after Simon Grayson had been dismissed after a barren run, Mark was effectively promoted from his League One job at Coventry City to the Huddersfield post in the Championship. Some would say that move was a bit of a risk for the owners of the Terriers as he had not had the best of times as Barnsley's manager in the Championship even if he had kept them up in 2010-11. Mark had only been at Coventry about five or six month's before the move but had done exceedingly well at the sky blues.

The two games Robins has managed against Bournemouth have been shared with a win a piece, the home team winning out both times. I don't think the 5-1 thrashing of the Cherries on 24 August 2013 did not leave a bad taste though in the AFCB's players' minds, but it was viewed as more of a lesson which they took on board and used to their advantage in other games. It was the second away game in a row where the Cherries had been on a hiding but looking back now it is more easy to appreciate that Mark Robins got his tactics right and his forwards put away their chances with great skill. It probably was not Ian Harte or Simon Francis' finest of games but that is a mark of how well Huddersfield played. 

Huddersfield handed out a bit of a Championship lesson to the
Cherries last time at the John Smith's stadium.

It was not so easy for mark Robins at Dean Court though in the Tuesday evening game on 28 Jan 2014 when his team battled hard, but came out the 2-1 losers in match that really showed the attacking power of both sides, on a muddy pitch. Woods scored a great goal for the Terriers that night but Rantie had the last word. Robins seems to set his teams up to go for the win more often than not, just like Eddie Howe, which makes them both exciting young managers in mt view. Robins record has slipped a little of late with 23 wins from 67 games at Huddersfield and a win ratio of 34.3%, but he has lost only 30 games in a couple of seasons which is better than many in the Championship.

In terms of manager records though it is Howe that is far the stronger. Now in his second term at the helm of AFCB he has been accelerating his win ratio. While not all those games were in the Championship and included a promotion, a win percentage of 50.56% is quite remarkable and the task facing Huddersfield is not easy when you see that Howe has lost just 25 games since 12 October 2012. If Eddie Howe can improve on last season's stats as a manager he surely will be one of the most wanted English managers. That is not a great thing for AFCB fans to hear but when you assess Howe against other Championship managers it gives you an idea of just how some of those opposition managers are feeling when they have to devise a plan to beat the man who is rapidly rewriting AFCB's history.  

I was asked a few questions by Huddersfield website Thrice Champions about AFCB and how I thought the season would pan out for the Cherries and I am told that it is likely to be posted on the Thrice Champions' site later today - so look out for it.

Also good luck to AFCB's Callum Buckley and Mason Walsh who go on loan initially for a month to Dorchester Town.

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