Thursday, January 5, 2006
ESPNsoccernet: December 7, 3:15 AM UK
Jackson looking good to spring a shock at Chelsea
Jose Mourinho will not be the only manager suited and booted on Saturday at
Stamford Bridge where he expects his champions-elect to strut serenely through
to the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Memories of last year's upset at Newcastle in round four will make the
Portuguese even more determined to make a bigger impact in the world's most
famous knockout competition, but first Mourinho must cut a dash past
Huddersfield's own dapper boss, Peter Jackson, in round three.
The self-appointed `special one' will line up opposite Jackson as
promotion-chasing League One outfit Huddersfield embark on Mission Impossible -
and the Terriers boss is sure to give Mourinho a run for his money in the
fashion stakes at least.
Both men prefer suit, shirt and tie topped off with an overcoat to the more
traditional tracksuit - even if Jackson bridles at the suggestion he buys his
garments from more downmarket outlets than Savile Row.
Jackson, the no-nonsense former Bradford, Newcastle and Huddersfield
centre-half - in his second spell in charge at the Galpharm Stadium - is not
comfortable with the inevitable comparisons, sartorial or not.
He has too much respect for his players to attempt to steal the limelight and
has such high regard for Mourinho's talents that he would not dare to seek
parity with the former Porto coach.
'This is not only a big day for me,' Jackson told PA Sport. 'It is a
massive occasion for my players who will come up against one of the best club
sides in the world.
'A lot has been said about me and Mourinho, but I don't think it's really
about the managers. It's about the players.
'I could not ask any more of my players this season, or last, and they're the
ones who deserve to enjoy the day.
'I admire Mourinho's achievements. You only have to look at what he's done.
He has an excellent record as a manager.
'People say he's spent millions, but they forget what he did at Porto. He led
them all the way to lift the European Cup with next to no money spent. He built
that team from nothing.'
Jackson, whose first stint as Town boss ended cruelly with the sack to make
way for Steve Bruce in May 1999 after keeping them in the Championship, will be
without midfielder Jon Worthington through suspension and he shared in his young
'It's a big blow for myself, the team and in particular for Jon. He's been
outstanding this season, but the show must go on.
'We will approach this game with respect for Chelsea, but we will not be
frightened. We will have a go.
'All we can ask of our players is that they come off the field and say they
gave a good account of themselves, that they weren't overawed.
'It's a big occasion for them, but if they can do that we'll be alright.'
Huddersfield had suffered the ignominy of relegation to League Two and
administration by the time they turned to Jackson again following Mel Machin's
sacking in June 2003.
The 44-year-old had remained popular with the Town faithful but quickly became
a hero when leading a team full of homegrown talent to promotion at the first
Jackson's young side finished the following season like a steamtrain and
narrowly missed out on the League One play-offs, while this time around, despite
a recent dip in form, they remain favourites for promotion.
'I know we'll go out to enjoy it. I also know the third round of the FA Cup
can throw up one or two surprises.'
Much has been made of the fact Huddersfield have failed to win a game since
being drawn to face Chelsea, drawing five and losing two to slip down to fifth
in the table.
But the Terriers remain three points behind leaders Southend and one off an
automatic promotion spot and Jackson dismisses the notion his side have had one
eye on their Cup date at Stamford Bridge.
'The players haven't been distracted - there's been too many games in a short
space of time to think about it.
'In all of those drawn games all it needed was for us to win one and we'd
still be at the top.
'It's a testament to my players that they can go on a poor run and still be
in a strong position.
'My players have been outstanding so far to get us 43 points. It could have
been better, but we're in a great position and it's all positive.'
Frank Lampard and John Terry are expected to be rested by Mourinho for Town's
visit and Jackson of course will hope other star names are considered
unnecessary for the challenge.
Veteran Huddersfield striker Andy Booth remains Jackson's only concern after
he sustained a knock in the goalless draw with Gillingham.
Jackson insists his side have an outsiders' chance and may draw strength from
the fact Huddersfield's only FA Cup win was achieved at Stamford Bridge with a
1-0 win over Preston in 1922.