David Wagner will be more wary of Wayne Rooney in Huddersfield’s game at Goodison Park on Saturday than of Sam Allardyce taking charge of his first game for Everton.
Allardyce signed an 18-month deal to replace Ronald Koeman on Thursday and will be back in the dugout when the Terriers bid to avoid their fourth straight league defeat for the first time since November 2000.
But Town boss Wagner appeared more concerned that Rooney rediscovered top form with a hat-trick in midweek, including his goal-of-the-season contender, in Everton’s 4-0 home win against West Ham.
“On Wednesday he showed us his top quality with three goals,” Wagner said. “I’ve seen a few Everton games when I think he was a little bit quiet as well, searching for his role in the team.
“But on Wednesday he found it and we have to make sure we keep him and the whole Everton offensive quiet.”
Allardyce returns to management six months after leaving Crystal Palace, who he steered to Premier League safety before hinting at retirement and Wagner is expecting few, if any, surprises.
“Usually, especially tactically, it isn’t nice if a manager of an opponent changes shortly before you play them because usually then you can put all your tactics in the waste basket,” the German said.
“This time, because it’s Sam Allardyce and everybody is aware about how he usually sets his teams up, this isn’t a major problem.”
Allardyce, 63, is embarking on his 11th job in a 26-year managerial career and the former Bolton centre-half spent one season as a Huddersfield player during the 1984/5 season.
“Even if I’m only in England now for a little bit more than two years I know exactly how Sam Allardyce usually sets his team up,” said Wagner.
“There will not be, I think, any big surprises. I’m aware that he played here. I’m not really sure if this was a most successful period for the football club or not.
“But I think this is so long ago. So much has happened in his football and managerial career and this club as well. It’s nice to know, but not really relevant.”
Huddersfield slipped to 14th in the table after Wednesday night’s 5-0 defeat at Arsenal and have failed to score in four straight league games on the road.
They have taken just one point from their travels since the opening-day win at Crystal Palace.
But Wagner, keen to put his side’s faltering progress in perspective, insists there have been no major setbacks.
“We are still very humble, very calm about our situation. Nothing extraordinary has happened so far,” he added.
“We will not be focused on the league table. This makes no sense. We have to be focused on our performance and collecting points.
“This means it doesn’t matter where you are on December 1 in the table. The only moment when the table really counts for me is after 38 games.”
Kasey Palmer could return to Huddersfield’s squad after a three-month injury lay-off, but Rajiv van La Parra serves the second game of his three-match ban.