Boss looks ahead to the busy run of games
Simon Grayson described Town’s busy run of Christmas fixtures as “season defining” when he spoke to htafc.com ahead of the trip to Charlton on Saturday.
After the trip to the Valley, the Terriers face games against Middlesbrough, Leeds United, Bolton, Hull City and Crystal Palace.
However, Simon started by focusing on Saturday’s challenge against Charlton in which he wants his team to build upon the last away performance against Barnsley.
“We know what we need to do this weekend,” he said. “We need to start the game brightly – it’s all about what we can do. We have proven this season that we are hard to beat away from home. I want the team to build on the professional performance they displayed against Barnsley the last time we went away from home.”
On Charlton, he said: “They have been in the mix so far this season. We don’t go too far back when analysing the opposition. We only go off the last three or four games and in those games they got beat by Middlesbrough, then they beat Cardiff and then won at Bristol City and Burnley. They are a hard working team that has quality in good areas; they are a threat up front with Rob Hulse and Danny Haynes.”
After guiding the Addicks to the npower League 1 title in his first full season in charge, Chris Powell has steadied the ship at the Valley after a rocky start to life in the Championship.
“Chris did a great job last year to get the team promoted and to be fair they were quite easily the best team in the Division. They had a few bad results at the start of the season, but he is the right man to be charge and that has shown with his team’s recent form.”
Town face a number of tough games before Christmas and Simon believes they could shape the Terriers’ season heading into the New Year.
“The next five or six weeks are big for us” he said. “You look through the run of fixtures and you see Charlton and Middlebrough who are both flying and then we have a local derby against Leeds; after that we have very tough games against Hull, Bolton and Crystal Palace. It could be a defining period of the season for a lot of teams, not just necessarily us. These games come thick and fast and if we can be somewhere around where we are now come January then we can assess the situation and see what we need to do as a football club to try and take us to the next level.”
Liam Ridehalgh was the only Town player to be involved in any transfer activity on Thursday when he joined Rotherham on loan. However, Simon also revealed that young defender Murray Wallace had attracted the interest of a number of clubs.
“We have had enquiries for one or two other players,” Simon confirmed. “Murray Wallace could have gone out on loan but we decided that he is doing well enough and will benefit from being in and around the squad. He is ready to step in, if, and when, required.
“There were probably three or four clubs that asked about him, which shows how highly he is rated. He’s unfortunate not to be in our 18 regularly, but he is working hard. I will have no hesitation in throwing him in if any of the lads at the back suffer an injury or hit a lack of form because he has done very well in the U21 games and training.”
To finish Simon provided an update on the fitness of strike duo Jermaine Beckford and James Vaughan.
“I’m not going to give too much away on whether it’s good news or bad news; I’m not one for divulging that sort of information. They are both making progress and they are being analysed on a daily basis.”
Speaking about Vaughan, Simon said: “I can confirm that his scan showed that his thigh is making very good progress, so he’s moving in the right direction. I don’t know if he will be fit for the weekend or for the games over the next few weeks, only time will tell.”
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