Town’s Manager previews Saturday’s game at Blackburn
Huddersfield Town Manager Chris Powell is keen to guard against complacency going into Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship game at Blackburn Rovers.
The Terriers go into the game following back-to-back wins over Millwall and Wolves and Powell says his team needs to maintain its work rate and application to get another result at Ewood Park this weekend.
“The week is not over yet, but of course the wins have given confidence to the players, staff and the football club in general. I’m sure our fans have been happy going in to work, especially after last Saturday and Wednesday night,” Powell admitted.
“Of course I’m realistic enough to know as quickly as it has changed in our favour, it can go the other way. We just have to be on our guard and make sure the levels of performance are as high as they can be. You want to focus on the job in hand and not revel in what you’ve done – that’s what I’ve said after every game. On one hand it’s a shame we can’t have the whole week to be in this mood, but saying that we enhanced it again on Wednesday and we’ll be looking to do that on Saturday.
“Our diligence out of possession at Wolves was exactly what we are looking for. The big thing I said to the team was patience. We knew that Wolves, who hadn’t lost at home throughout the calendar year, were going to have a lot of the ball - but they can have all the ball in places they can’t hurt you.
“Our analyst, Chris Markham, looked at how effective they have been and we felt there’d be times where we could break with a bit of pace and we knew we had players that could take us up the pitch. Young Harry Bunn and Sean Scannell did that to a tee.
“The whole spirit of the team was captivated by the way that we celebrated the third goal. The players here want to do well and I’m getting to know them. The first three results were not what we want but of course you learn a lot from adversity. You learn a lot more when they’re performing as they did on Saturday and Wednesday.
“We’re always batting against complacency. I know it’s a cliché, but you’re only as good as your last game. People wouldn’t have expected that result but I have belief in the group that I’ve got and they need to push each other on as well as individually.”
Despite collecting six points from the last two games, Chris is still looking for an improvement in one key area:
“I want us to have clean sheets. We’ve just had one clean sheet this season. It guarantees you points and in the position we’re in it’s a target for the group to go for – I want more and let’s hope we can get a few more.”
Powell is waiting on the fitness of Club Captain Lee Peltier, who missed the trip to the Midlands through injury.
“Lee has been carrying a knock for a number of weeks, so we’ll have to wait and see if he can play this Saturday. It’s opened the door for someone else, but of course he’s a good player and hopefully he’ll be fit. We’ve got the international break after Saturday, which will hopefully clear up one or two knocks.
“James Vaughan won’t be ready. We’re carrying one or two knocks but we’re fine apart from that.
“We’ll have to dig deep as there are a lot of players aching with pains and strains but we’ll be ready for Blackburn. I’ll have to look at the players in training, look them in the eyes and tell them to strive to be better than we were in the last game, which will be a big call - but it’s what I’ve got to do as manager. “
A lot of recent focus has been on the impact of loan signing Grant Holt and although Powell is delighted with his new recruit, he’s keen to stress that the recent upturn in form has been a team effort.
“We’ve just got Grant on loan so we can’t think too far ahead. He’s made an impact as well as all the other players. It’s great that he’s come in and fitted in with the group and the ethos of what we’re trying to do and we’ll see where it takes us and takes him.
“I don’t want the perception to be that we’ve just won games because of Grant - we’ve won games as a team and a club. That comes from all 18 players that are on duty – that’s why I made sure everyone celebrated at the end of the Wolves game along with the staff. Grant has shown a willingness to fit in and make us a side that can win games in the Championship.”
Blackburn Rovers, managed by Gary Bowyer, come into the game on the back of a midweek defeat at Rotherham United – a game Town’s boss attended to get a first-hand look at Saturday’s opposition.
“I watched Blackburn against Rotherham; I went to the game. They had a hard time on quite a lively evening. Rotherham played well and Blackburn lost one or two through injury, but they’ve got a decent squad and I think there’ll be a response from Tuesday - there was in the second half. It will be a tough game for us as they have some very creative players, who if you give half a yard they’ll put the ball in the box.
“Of course every Huddersfield fan will know we’ve got an old foe playing up front for them who we’ll have to watch.
“Jordan’s goal record speaks for itself here at Huddersfield and at Blackburn. If you want a goal scorer, you would go for him. He’s a wonderful player for any manager; you want goals in your team and you’ve got that with him. Even on Tuesday night he had the best chance of the game out of absolutely nothing. He’s well revered here and rightly so, but let’s hope he has a blank on Saturday.”
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