Caretaker Manager up for the challenge at Cardiff
Huddersfield Town’s Caretaker Manager Mark Lillis thinks the players did the Club proud at Chesterfield on Tuesday night – and he’s looking for more of the same at Cardiff City on Saturday.
Town’s First Team squad will travel to Wales today (Friday) ahead of Saturday’s game against the newly relegated Bluebirds and explained how he has approached his job as Caretaker Manager this week.
“It was a tough game at Chesterfield on Tuesday, but our players did the Club proud,” ‘Lills’ told htafc.com.
“I’ve been here two and a half years here as Academy Manager so I know a lot of the players well. I sat down and had one-on-one chats with the new lads that have come in that I don’t know as well. I’ve got to know them quickly on a personal. That is important.
“That’s the way I am – I get right in amongst it. I will be Caretaker Manager for as long as it takes. I will treat players properly. We all got stuck in and we’re preparing for what is a massive game for us at Cardiff on Saturday.”
Cardiff will be the bookies’ favourites to win Saturday’s game, but Lillis thinks his side should relish taking on one of the division’s main promotion hopefuls:
“I think we will be underdogs, as Cardiff are favourites to go up and rightly so. We can’t do anything about that – we have to focus on getting our lads in the right frame of mind to go and enjoy the game.
“When I was playing, if you had told me I was going to be running out in front of 30,000 fans in the Championship I would embrace it and that’s what I’ll be telling our players to do.
“We have some good Championship experience in this squad – it’s not like we’re playing a team of youth players. These lads can handle this division and we have to make sure we believe that we can compete at this level. Huddersfield Town is in its third season in the Championship now.”
Having made 242 appearances for the Terriers between 1978 and 1985, one-time Town ‘Player of the Year’ Mark admitted he will relish enjoy in the dugout at the Cardiff City Stadium.
“I’ll be a proud man on Saturday. I live in Huddersfield and I’m proud to do so. I’m looking to embrace the contest against their dugout and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is starting in management in England after a fantastic playing career.”
However when asked if he wants the role on a permanent basis, he had a definitive answer.
“No. I’ve been asked to take Saturday and Tuesday and then I’ll speak with the Chairman. That’s good for the players as they’ve got continuity going into Cardiff and Reading. The process of appointing a new Manager is obviously down to the Board, but in the interim I will steady the ship.”
With the extra-time win at Chesterfield only days before Saturday’s game and a subsequent midweek trip to Reading to follow, Lillis explained the squad will be fully utilised over the next week.
“We’re a team and, with four games in 11 days, 20-odd players are going to be used. We’ll make sure every player is cared for. I always sit down with the lads who aren’t selected when I pick a team and explain why they’re not playing and they’ve all been fantastic – they took it well ahead of Tuesday. You may have not noticed, but when the third goal went in at Chesterfield our whole dugout was jumping up and down; substitutes and lads not in the squad alike. That’s what we need together.
“We picked up a few knocks and bruises the other night over the 120 minutes, so we’ll have a chat and I’ll pick a team that will compete with Cardiff.”
Town will be without three senior players in Wales, as Mark explained.
“We’re missing Paterson, Gerrard and Vaughany, but otherwise we should be ok. They’re coming along ok but I don’t like putting timescales on returns, as I believe you shouldn’t rush players back when they’ve had injuries. We’ll be led by the medical team and the players themselves, because their frame of mind is important too.
“Every footballer hates being injured, because they want to be playing in games like Cardiff away.”
For information on Cardiff tickets and pay on the day, click HERE