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Championship: Huddersfield appoint Neil Warnock

Veteran manager Neil Warnock will return to the dugout after re-joining his old club Huddersfield Town on a deal until the end of the season.

The Yorkshire club are currently 23rd in the Championship table with only Blackpool keeping them off rock bottom and they have not managed to win any of their last six games.

Warnock will be Huddersfield's third manager of the season after Carlos Corberan's departure in the summer. Danny Schofield only lasted until the middle of September while his replacement Mark Fotheringham was sacked last week following a 2-2 draw at Blackpool.

Now, 28 years since he was last at the helm, Warnock returns to West Yorkshire with the remit of keeping Huddersfield in the Championship, only months after they were beaten in the playoff final by Nottingham Forest.

With the charismatic Warnock is in the hot seat, Huddersfield are priced at 8/15 to be relegated, while they can be backed at 11/4 to finish bottom this season. 

Hudds go for the tried and tested route

Warnock's appointment has been made with the idea that he is a very safe pair of hands at this level and, on the face of it, the Terriers board are right to believe that.

Although his managerial career has been laden with promotions - eight in total which is an English record - he also has the ability to galvanise struggling groups of players.

He kept Rotherham in the Championship in 2016, citing that as his "biggest achievement" in management, while he also staved off relegation for Middlesbrough in 2020. 

That ability and passion has not left the 74-year-old in the 40 years he has been a manager and now he will hope to lift Huddersfield after what has been a dreadful campaign so far.

Losing Corberan was a huge blow in the summer and what he has done to lift West Brom has been testament to that. The two appointments that followed were both failures so all the eggs are in the Warnock basket now.

What must Warnock do to improve Huddersfield?

To start with, the Terriers need to find more ways to score goals with only Cardiff City scoring fewer times in the Championship this season.

Their current top scorer for the campaign is Jordan Rhodes with five - the fact he has been a substitute more often than a starter tells you all you need to know about how toothless the attack has been.

Huddersfield have managed to win only seven games this season with five of them being at home. Improving their away record will also be vital to their chances of avoiding the drop zone.

Defensively, they have not been good this campaign with only four other teams in the bottom half of the Championship conceding less.

Given Warnock enjoys setting up teams that are difficult to beat, this will be a good omen so the main focus must be on the attack and being more clinical in front of goal.

The lack of a star creative midfielder has hampered them this season as the Terriers have felt the absence of Lewis O'Brien from last season, while the decision to let young winger Sorba Thomas leave for Blackburn on loan still looks mystifying.

The next challenge for Huddersfield comes on Wednesday as they travel to Stoke and they are priced at 15/4 to win while the Potters are 5/6 and a draw can be backed at 12/5.

Warnock not the first to go back

"He knows the club" might be a tenuous reason to hire a manager but that hasn't stopped several boards over the years as they sought to stop the decline of their clubs.

Perhaps the most striking example in recent years was in January 2011 when Liverpool rolled back the years to bring Kenny Dalglish out from the cold. He hadn't managed since leaving Newcastle in 1998 (he left Liverpool in 1991) and there were concerns over his suitability.

That didn't stop the Reds from persisting with Dalglish for 18 months and he was given licence to bring players into the club such as Luis Suarez and Jordan Henderson - two players who became Liverpool heroes in their own way.

Newcastle also fancied a bit of 90s nostalgia in 2008 when Kevin Keegan was drafted in to take over from Sam Allardyce but unfortunately, the second stint did not go smoothly.

12 years on from his resignation, when Newcastle seemed to become everyone's de facto "second team" because of their flair and attacking excellence, Keegan departed six months later, citing a strained relationship with the board and a lack of funds to build the squad.

However, going back can be a positive. Jose Mourinho returned to Chelsea in 2013 six years after initially leaving and within two years he took them to another Premier League title.

Fabio Capello managed Real Madrid for two seasons. It's just that they were spaced ten years apart. In 1997 and 2007, the two parties split because of disagreements over the Italian's playing style, despite him leading them to two league titles.

In the EFL, 16 years after first walking through the London Road door, Darren Ferguson was back at Peterborough for a fourth spell in charge of Posh in January.

Martin Allen and Barnet are a match made in heaven. Ditto John Sheridan and Oldham. Both men have had five spells in charge of their respective clubs. 

It would unwise to say they are their last. Just as it would be unwise to ever rule out Neil Warnock from donning a club tracksuit, despite the fact he publicly retired from management in April last year.

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