Chris reviews 2-1 victory over Bolton
.Chris Powell was happy that Town’s players passed a big physical and mental test by coming away from their game with Bolton Wanderers as winners
Having given up two points at Rotherham on Boxing Day due to two late goals, the Terriers went behind inside the first minute against the Trotters – but fought back and won thanks to strikes in either half from Jacob Butterfield and substitute Nahki Wells.
Chris explained: “After the kick in the teeth that we didn’t see coming at Rotherham and then the first minute today, this was a real physical and mental test. Every time you have a knock-back you have to overcome it – and I thought the players did. They took the game by the scruff of the neck when they had to get themselves going.
“Our response and reaction to conceding the opener was first class and we deservedly got the equaliser. Until then it looked like things weren’t happening for us, but we were getting in the final third, balls into the box and working their ‘keeper. Eventually Jacob Butterfield came up with a sublime finish, which I thought we deserved.
“You name 18 players and it’s a 14 man game; subs always make a difference. Today Nahki came on and does what he does best; he took his goal really well.
“I’m sure every fan was wondering if we would then hold out after what happened 48 hours ago. At times we did our best not to, but in the end we deservedly got three points.
“I have to say that physically the players looked strong and fit, given that we only played two days ago.”
Powell altered the shape once again for the game, as he described post-match:
“We went a little bit different today; it was a 3-5-2, although it probably didn’t look it because we were so flexible. In the game we actually switched between four and three at the back, starting as a three but allowing Tommy Smith to come out as well as offer us protection. That allows Jack Robinson to open his legs and really bomb on.
“That gives us three in midfield and the width of Sean Scannell, who I thought gave (Tim) Ream a really tough time in the first-half, as well as two players up top.
“We’re also quite flexible with Harry Bunn. He plays off the left and if we have a problem he can move there, as well as down the middle.
“We talk about this, but the players also naturally do it. We know we might have to shore up the left side sometimes and the players are willing to do that work, so I’m really pleased.
“I know people will always want to play with two strikers at home, but we have to be flexible. I always look at what’s best for us and how much work we can get out of the players. I’m trying to get as many good players on the pitch in positions they are comfortable in, because then we’ll get a performance out of them.”
With Grant Holt injured (knee), the obvious option would have been to recall top scorer Wells – but Powell explained his decision to opt for Jonathan Hogg.
“We’ll get there, definitely. It would have been quite easy to start both Nahki and James Vaughan today, but they’re quite similar in what they want to do – although Vaughany is a bit more robust!
“I had one eye on what Bolton do. They play a diamond system and if you empty that area they can cut through you, so I had Harry in there. Their time will come, but we’ll have to work with them to make sure they play as a pair.
“Credit to Vaughany – I never envisaged he would start both games in the 48 hours.”
After the match, Powell was full of praise for his central midfield trio:
“They dovetail really well and they’ll only get better with experience and playing games.
“Jacob is a creator and scorer of goals; he wants to put the telling pass in. He’s a very good player and I’m pleased to have him.
“I think Conor Coady will get better and better as he develops. He was schooled well and that will continue.
“I thought (Jonathan) Hogg was immense today; he got both assists. He epitomises what Huddersfield Town likes; he’s got aggression, get around the pitch and in the other team’s faces. He knits things together by playing simply and effectively.
“He’s quite underrated at times. He gets overshadowed by the other two lads, but he’s really stepped up.”
Town – now eight points from the relegation zone and just three points from 10th – now go into the FA Cup with a game against Reading on 3 January, with Powell expecting more from the rollercoaster that has been the 2014/15 season.
today, they’ll know I feel these players have a lot to offer. When you have days and performances like today, you know we’re on the right lines.”Give Us An H“It will be up and down, but I want this team to do well. If our fans read
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