Caretaker Manager Mark previews the Reading game
Caretaker Manager Mark Lillis has urged the Club, the players and the fans to ‘keep the faith’ ahead of Tuesday night’s Sky Bet Championship game at Reading.
The Terriers put in an improved performance despite the 3-1 loss at Cardiff City on Saturday, which Lillis thinks is down to the spirit within the squad.
“There was a lot of belief in the dressing room that we could get something from the game at Cardiff and had we kept the game at 2-1 for a little longer in the second-half, we could have got back in it. We still kept going when we were two goals down; Harry Bunn had a really good effort tipped onto the bar by (Cardiff goalkeeper David) Marshall at the end. It was disappointing to come away with no points.
“I’m not one to read much into what people say in the papers, but (Cardiff Manager Ole Gunnar) Solskjaer said we played well and the reports said that we gave a good account of ourselves. We wanted to put some pride back into the place after the disappointment of the first weekend.
“It was difficult to take the loss, but I think the comeback at Chesterfield was the shot in the arm that was needed. We can build on that – the body language was great. Although we lost on Saturday, I think you could see some of that belief in the second half; we kept going right until the end. Credit to the players for that; that’s a good attribute to have.
“I’ve learned so much in this first week, working with the players on a daily basis. When you’re in amongst them, you learn about the DNA of the squad. It’s been a great week for me on that side.”
Although a lot of the focus in the press is on Town’s search for a new permanent First Team Manager, Lillis is concentrating on Tuesday’s game against the Royals – where he will come up against an old friend.
“The main focus for the Club, the players and I is Reading. Like any Manager in any division, I want to get three points on Tuesday night.
“I know Nigel Adkins really well – he was physio when I was at Scunthorpe. I encouraged him to get into coaching and we’re good friends as we lived in the same village for a number of years.
“I know he likes to play good football, similar to myself. His teams work hard and put a shift in. It will be good to see him, but once the whistle goes we’re not mates anymore – we’re opposition.
“Reading will be a tough one, but every Championship game is. It might be a different type of game than Saturday – I’m looking forward to it. We’re looking to come out with a decent result. We have a group of players here that we believe in.”
Lillis explained that he has the same pool of players to choose from going into the game:
“We’ll go with the same squad that travelled to Cardiff at the weekend, but we might have some lads coming back ready for Charlton on Saturday.
“As I’ve said to the players, four games in 10 days is a big ask and we’re going to need bodies. The lads who come out of the team have to take it on the chin; I can’t have anyone moping around the place. I know players don’t want to be sat in the stands, but unfortunately it happens in football as a Manager has to pick a team to try and win a specific game. We don’t have that environment here. Nobody has a divine right to be in the XI.
“We’re keeping the players focussed every day, because you never know when you’ll need them. Chesterfield typified that, when the subs came on and made a difference – Joe Lolley scoring a goal for us. The subs were buzzing when they come on, which is what you want. You need to keep 20 players happy as a Manager.
“The likes of James Vaughan are progressing well and will hopefully be back out on the grass today (Monday). They need a few days training and then they will come into our thoughts. If we can get them back as quickly as possible, it will be a boost for whoever takes over.”
Going into the game, Lillis has a strong message for everyone:
“The fans should believe and keep the faith. I hope they turn up at Reading – and on Saturday – believing and ready to support the team.
“This Club is in good, safe hands with Dean Hoyle, just like the team is with me. We’re always thinking about Huddersfield Town and how we’re going to take the Club forward.
“Of course it’s disappointing not to have any points, but we’re only two games in and we have progressed in the Cup, which was a boost.
“We’ve signed some good young players; ones that I like. You look at the likes of ‘Butts’ (Jacob Butterfield), Conor (Coady) and Murray Wallace and they are good lads who are hungry to learn, which is exactly what you want in a football club. You need that mixed with good pros; if we get that mix right, we’ll have a better season than last.”
Finally, on the search for a new manager, Lillis explained:
“I’m here to pass my experience onto the Board if they need me. For now, I will take the team at Reading and we’ll touch base after that. There might be something happening by the end of this week or the start of next week.”
For pay on the day information at Reading, click HERE