Chris previews Saturday’s game at Bolton
Chris Powell is happy with the progress Huddersfield Town has made over the last two months going into Saturday’s game at Bolton Wanderers.
“We’re in a very good position in 14th; we were in 21st when I come in so its progress and it won’t happen overnight or in a matter of weeks, that’s for sure.
“You’ve got to understand the Championship is a very tough league. On the back of such an outstanding performance against Forest, we only had a couple of days before we played the leading team in the division in Derby. We gave a good account of ourselves but we didn’t get what we wanted and that was the case at Fulham in particular. Then we’ve had a big Yorkshire derby against Wednesday. So they come thick and fast.”
Huddersfield Town face a Bolton side in resurgent form since Neil Lennon took over and Chris explained what he expects from Saturday’s game:
“From my own experience I know it’s normally the case that players want to impress and one or two players who may not have played before get a chance (when a new manager comes in). It has happened there for Bolton. They drew their last game away at Blackpool so you know they are in decent form, but they are below us so we have to keep it that way.
“We have to perform and we have to get results. I would like to get another result on the road. I think that’s important because our home form has been good - it has been strong since my very first game against Middlesbrough, as we haven’t lost at home. That’s important for our mind-set knowing that we can get results at the John Smith’s.
“We just need to marry that with some points on the road, whether it’s a good away win or just a point. It’s always good to take something when you’re on your travels.”
Joe Murphy made his first league appearance for Town last Saturday and Chris explained Alex Smithies’ recovery will lead to competition for places:
“Alex is feeling better and he’s done a bit of training, so will hopefully he comes into contention - but I’m very pleased for Joe. He’s been patient. Joe’s played in a couple of games in the Capital One Cup so it was pleasing for him to get his first league start, get his first clean sheet and make a crucial save at the end which preserved the point for us.
“When I came in I knew I had two very capable goalkeepers that have got good experience and a number of league games behind them. I’m very happy with that level of competition in the squad because that can only enhance the team and hopefully get you the results you’re after.”
Another man in line for a possible recall is top scorer Nahki Wells, as Chris explained:
“Nahki is our top goal-scorer, but of course sometimes I will start him and sometimes I won’t - that’s just decisions I have to make as a manager. We’ve played 4-4-2 but that has led to us being quite open so I have to balance it.
“I know and I trust Nahki because he is a player who will give his all and also get himself in those positions to score. I felt that, coming on with half an hour to go last weekend, he could make the difference. On another day he would’ve done because he had a number of chances and it was kind of himself against Westwood, but sometimes you should credit the goalkeeper as the ‘keepers are there to save them and that’s what happened.”
Powell also explained how James Vaughan is coming back from injury, supplementing his squad’s depth:
“He’s in training now and I had a really good chat with him. We had 20 minutes together just about him and about how we approach it to get the most out of him. We are gradually building up his fitness and his confidence. He’s getting there, which is really good because he’s looked strong, put in some really hard work and I want that to continue. Hopefully in the second half of the season we will have a firing James Vaughan ready to come back into the 18.
“I’m quietly happy with the squad I have. I have good blend of experience and youth and also players that have played league games. If you looked at our game last week, we had a number of experienced players on the bench who wanted to be starting, but that means I can look at them to make a difference.
“As a manager, you want your group to be strong as possible as it makes your football club stronger and gives you a better chance of winning games. We’re slowly getting there, but I will always continue the search for players who will make us a better team.”
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