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SCUNTHORPE GAME GIVES MARK ‘FOOD FOR THOUGHT’

26 July 2014

Robins reacts to pre-season defeat

Huddersfield Town Manager Mark Robins was pleased to see his players get more minutes under their belts at Scunthorpe this afternoon – but admitted the game gave him ‘food for thought’.

Town’s First Team squad was defeated for the first time during the pre-season period by Paddy Madden’s second-half strike for the League 1 newcomers in a game that Robins deemed as an ideal runout.

“It was a good workout, as it was important to get some running done in hot conditions once again. Scunthorpe gave us a good game today; I thought they were excellent.

“We lined up with one or two in the side that needed some more minutes, whereas I also looked at one or two in different positions – Tommy Smith at right wing back, for instance. 

“I wanted to look at Tommy there, because if we’re going to play in that shape we can use Tommy or Adam Hammill in there; I don’t think Sean (Scannell) can play wing-back. I also want to look at Joe Lolley in that (central) position off the touchline, as it adds another string to his bow. He can do it, but he has to play it often enough to learn it. This is the time to try these things; if you can’t do it now, you never will. 

“Sometimes we will have to be a little more solid away from home and being able to look at different things today gave me food for thought – and also helped me make my mind up on a few things as well. You’re always learning about players; players make formations work and sometimes we have to do more when we’re out of possession. In that sense, it was a really worthwhile workout.

“The most important aspect at this stage is getting minutes into the players’ legs and we’ve managed to do that with quite a lot today – and last night as well.”

Although he was happy with the game from a fitness standpoint, Mark admitted that the performance can – and will – be improved upon.

“Performance-wise it was a bit disjointed. We passed it ok at times, but when we got into the final third we had to try and break them down. They were resolute; they had nine men behind the ball as a striker dropped down the pitch, leaving their ‘out ball’ as one long ball over the top for a willing runner to chase. Their goal came from a bit of decent play down their right side; they played it in and slid it across for Paddy Madden, who made a good run.

“We will certainly be better than that in two weeks’ time. Although I wanted to win today, from my perspective it was about getting the players more minutes on the pitch. 

“We have three games left – Sheffield United, Oldham Athletic and Newcastle United – plus the other games arranged around them. The people that need minutes will play in those games and get the relevant time on the pitch.”

Striker James Vaughan was absent from the match day squad at Glanford Park, as Mark explained:

“I pulled James out this morning. He had a stiff calf yesterday afternoon and we decided not to take the chance with him, because there is no point testing it. We are two weeks away from the start of the season and he’s done some hard work. He’s had a weekend of rest – he’ll have treatment tomorrow – so we’ll review him on Monday with a view to Tuesday (when Town play at Sheffield United).” 

Adam Clayton was also in the wars, needing treatment on two separate occasions from Town physio James Haycock:

“Adam has a dead leg. He fell on his elbow in the first-half and got the dead leg in a second incident, which restricted his movement a little bit. He’s ok.” 

With two weeks until Town host AFC Bournemouth in the 2014/15 Sky Bet Championship season opener, Robins explained that transfer incomings are still possible:

“We’re looking. Once the right people are available we can press the button, but there’s no point bringing in people for the sake of it for money that is hard-earned. We know the areas we want to strengthen, but players coming in have to enhance the team and make us stronger; we’re not after squad players.”

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