Manager preparing for ‘mini-season’
Huddersfield Town Manager Mark Robins is pleased with the chances that his players have created in the last two matches, but knows that their conversion rate needs to improve.
Reading ‘keeper Alex McCarthy was Man of the Match when Town drew at the Madejski last month, whilst Bolton stopper Adam Bodgan picked up the same award this weekend.
“We did as much as we possibly could do without being brilliant in the final third,” reflected Mark on the weekend’s match. “We wasted chances and then conceded from a set-piece, which killed the mood. If we had seen the game out, the atmosphere would have been different.
“We got into good areas but our conversion of chances was poor. Danny Ward, Nahki Wells and Adam Hammill all got into good positions but they have either missed the target or hit the goalkeeper. I would be more worried if we weren’t creating chances.”
The Terriers’ recent form is one of the worst in the Sky Bet Championship heading into the final six games of the season.
Mark said: “We have set out in a way to play good football and entertain the supporters; everybody knows our long term goals. In the short term, we have got a six game mini season and we need to pick up some results. To get those results we have to play football because that is now the DNA of the football club.
“I accept the responsibility of the results and since the turn of the year they haven’t been brilliant. We need to make sure that the last six games include some good results on the back of decent performances. It is time to step up and deliver those results for the supporters, who have stayed behind us all season.
“The supporters have got to stay focused and believe because ultimately we will have success, but we will get there in our own time," he added. "Whilst it is frustrating – and make no mistake we are all hurting – we need to remain focused and positive. We are at the start of a journey and we are currently experiencing teething problems. We need to remember where we are; we have cut costs in line with Financial Fair Play and can’t just go out and sign a player at will.
“We have developed a style in which we try and win football matches and at the moment we don’t have another way. The players that we have at our disposal are suited to this style and it is working, but the only thing that is missing is the killer instinct.
“Our match statistics are all good and highlight what we are trying to do. We are in the top six when it comes to passing; our crossing is good as are our shots on target, but at the end of it we need to pick up points. Everybody is giving everything to try and improve matters.”
Leicester City gained promotion to the Premier League on the weekend following their victory against Sheffield Wednesday and Mark highlighted the big differences between the clubs.
“We have done things in a completely different way and compared to them are in a different stage of development,” he said. “They spent a lot of money at the start and then thinned out their squad keeping together a core group of players. We are a totally different model and ours is about being self-sufficient meaning that the players we recruit have to have a value that we can take forward.
“We spent money on Nahki in January, which was a great investment, but he certainly isn’t the finished article. He has been brilliant for us, but he is one for the future because he still has plenty of developing to do. That is the way that we have to go because we have to self-sustain. It is a challenge, but one that I enjoy.”
Ipswich’s central defenders have contributed ten goals to their cause so far this season and they are arguably one of the best teams in the division from set-pieces.
“It is another tough game,” Mark said ahead of Tuesday night. “They score a high percentage of their goals from set-plays and defensively we need to improve in that area. We have to be strong and physical because they are a powerful team who like to play direct football. However, they have started to pass and move the ball well, which is another string to their bow.
“They are going for a Play-Off position and they have a lot of experience in their squad of Championship and Premier League football.”
Town didn’t pick up any injuries against Bolton and could again feature Under-18 midfielder Philip Billing on the bench against the Tractor Boys.
“He is a young lad and I wanted him to sample the match day atmosphere; if the situation of the game had been different I would have tried to get him on the pitch,” Mark said. “He is a good player who will be a decent one if he keeps his head down and works hard. He has to finish his scholarship and he might be on the bench again before the season is out.
“Phil has played well in the Under-18s and in the Youth Cup run, but he still has plenty of growing to do. He is a very intelligent footballer.”
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