Jackson gamble pays off as Terriers threaten

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The Independent Football

Huddersfield Town took a leap of faith when they reappointed Peter Jackson as their manager last June. The 42-year-old former club captain may have been a popular figure during his last stint in charge and may, in some eyes, have been unjustly dismissed by the former chairman Barry Rubery. But after four years out of management, his return had to be seen as a gamble.

It is a punt that seems to be paying off, however. The Terriers' form in March earned Jackson the divisional manager-of-the-month award but the team's consistency goes back further. In 17 matches since just before Christmas, they have suffered only two defeats and climbed from 10th place to third - and all this despite the sale of the leading scorer, Jon Stead.

Jackson's first stint in charge at the McAlpine Stadium saw him pull off a remarkable escape act. He took over 15 games into the 1997-98 season, with the team bottom of the First Division with four points on the board, and steered them to a final position of 16th. The next season, they finished a respectable 10th, after which his replacement with a then unproven Steve Bruce seemed somewhat harsh.

Jackson turned down a number of chances to return to management elsewhere but says that when the latest boardroom team at Huddersfield offered him an opportunity to go back, he "jumped at the chance" and four years working in the media and player management sectors of the game clearly has not blunted his edge.

Today the Terriers are at Leyton Orient, hoping to maintain the pressure in particular on second-placed Hull City, who go to Kidderminster. "All I want the lads to do now is carry on playing like they have been, because if I'm named manager of the month for April then we know we are up," Jackson said.

In the Second Division, third-placed Bristol City are expecting a gate approaching 19,000 for the visit of second-placed Queen's Park Rangers as Danny Wilson's side try to arrest a disappointing run which has seen them win only one game in their last seven.

Brighton's Mark McGhee has been named the Second Division's manager of the month for March, with Graham Turner of Hereford garnering the Third Division award.