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Siewert feeling upbeat about future as he turns focus to Championship challenge

Huddersfield manager Jan Siewert will begin preparing his team for a season in the Sky Bet Championship after relegation from the Premier League was confirmed.

Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace meant Town became only the second Premier League team, after Derby in 2008, to be relegated before the end of March.

A consistently difficult season had contributed to the departure of David Wagner and Siewert’s appointment later that January, but after battling to avoid the Championship the German will immediately begin to focus on what is required to succeed there.

That Huddersfield have resisted the temptation to overspend in an attempt to avoid relegation potentially gives them a greater chance of stability and the ability to possibly mount an immediate promotion challenge, and Siewert said: “I know the Championship will be coming so I can focus even more on it.

“Before it was more like getting the right performance and showing that we want to stay in the Premier League. Most of the work was to have the chance of staying up and with the Wolves win we had real hope.

“This is hard to take but it shows we were competitive in the Premier League and this makes me positive for the future in the Championship.

“The club is a good club and it’s really structured. That’s a good thing for us to start in the Championship and then we can have a look at what’s possible there.”

On the possibility of players being tempted to leave, Siewert said: “It will be normal. We have to respect that and then trust the ones who will stay.”

Confirmation of Huddersfield’s relegation came at Selhurst Park, the same stadium at which their first ever Premier League fixture in August 2017 gave them a promising 3-0 victory.

The influential Aaron Mooy started then and on Saturday, and the 28-year-old said: “The good start really helped us (to survive last season) and gave us a boost. Then the important games at home where we had to get a result, we generally got that result. We kept picking up points.

“We’ve lost too many of those games this season. We never seem to get draws any more. It’s 1-1 and then we lose.

“Our first game of the season then, (getting relegated) here. It’s strange. It was lots of our Premier League debuts; it was good memories.

“The club will have made a lot of money being in the Premier League for two years so it’s up to them to set it up right and give it a go in the Championship.”

Palace defender Scott Dann is finally making regular appearances, after over a year disrupted by injury, during which James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho became established in central defence.

A season-ending knee injury suffered by Sakho has led to Dann’s recall and him demonstrating he remains a reliable performer at the age of 32.

Dann said: “I’ve been on the receiving end of it (injury). You’d never wish that on your worst enemy let alone a team-mate.

“I’m obviously disappointed for Mama; he’ll come back stronger as well.

“I’ve been waiting for my chance and when you get it you have to take it with both hands.”