Huddersfield captain Jonathan Hogg believes the club is better equipped for the Premier League than it was under former boss David Wagner.
The Terriers crashed out of the top flight after two seasons in 2019 and can return with victory against Nottingham Forest in Sunday’s Sky Bet Championship play-off final.
Hogg, 33, the only remaining player from Wagner’s class of 2017, said: “As a squad I think we are better equipped, but we’ve got to get there first.
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“Maybe as individuals we don’t have the quality of (Aaron) Mooy and (Philip) Billing and people like that, but that togetherness we’ve got is special. Not many teams have got what we’ve got.”
Wagner left Huddersfield midway through their second season in the top flight in January 2019 when they were rock-bottom, 10 points from safety with 15 games remaining.
His successor, fellow German Jan Siewert, could not halt the slide as the Terriers became only the second Premier League team after Derby to be relegated before the end of March.
Two Championship relegation battles followed and Town were among the favourites to drop into League One at the start of this season, but current boss Carlos Corberan has overseen a stunning transformation.
Hogg, known as ‘The General’ by Town players and fans, said: “A lot of people ask me, is it the same as when you went up with Wagner, is the group the same?
“I think there’s a lot of similarities, but there’s also a lot of differences – the style of play, players, personnel, stuff like that.
“Recruitment has been excellent. We’ve got players in who want to work hard, want to fight for each other, want to work together.
“It’s that togetherness we didn’t have, it was missing. The lads who have come in have turned that round.”
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Hogg is preparing for his third Championship play-off final having lost with Watford to Crystal Palace in 2013 before Huddersfield’s penalty shoot-out win against Reading four years later.
“With this group I think it would mean more because we’ve worked so hard from where we were last year to get to where we are today,” he said. “I think it’s nothing short of incredible.
“Credit to the club because they knew we were in a bad place when we got relegated. The squad wasn’t good enough. The camaraderie we had in the dressing room wasn’t good enough.”
Forest hope to end their 23-year Premier League exile and Hogg feels that could be a heavy burden for Steve Cooper’s players.
Hogg added: “I think there’s a lot more pressure on them. We’ve been in the Premier League three years ago.
“They’re such a big club and haven’t been there for a long time now, so they’re going to be desperate.
“We all want to be there. I know what it’s like. I’ve had a taste of it with this club and it’s special for everyone.
“Not just the players. The staff, everyone involved, getting to the Premier League, it’s magic.”