Defender on the Brighton draw and the new Manager’s impact
Town defender Tommy Smith believes Manager Chris Powell’s influence is showing out on the pitch after the team extended its unbeaten run to five games with a 1-1 draw against Brighton on Tuesday night.
The draw against the Seagulls means the Terriers have taken 11 points from the last possible 15, but Town’s right back believes it could have been more:
“It’s ok, but we felt like we should have got three points,” the 22 year-old said of the Brighton draw.
“We felt their goal was a bit unfortunate from our standpoint as there might have been a handball in the box. A few of our lads were claiming for it straight away and it certainly looked like it came off the lad’s hand from where I was, although I don’t think he knew much about it.
“We’ll take the point though, because we remain unbeaten in the last five games. We’re doing most things well; we’re defending well as a unit, keeping a couple of clean sheets against Wigan and Blackburn, and we’re scoring goals.
“The team has pulled together and the results are going our way. We’ve drawn a couple, but we’re unbeaten in five. If we can keep doing that, I think we’ll push on and do well.”
Smith now tops Town’s assists charts after grabbing his third last night, sliding a low ball across goal for midfielder Jacob Butterfield to turn home.
He continued: “It feels great laying the balls off for the other lads to score; that’s part of my job. First and foremost I’m a defender and I need to defend, but secondly I need to get forward and join in the attacks.
“I’m delighted to be playing and contributing to the goals – long may it continue. For me, it’s as good as a goal – it’s as close as I get to scoring one! To be laying on the balls for my mates to score is just as good a feeling. I’m delighted to be a part of the team’s success.”
That assist came after more good work from the in-form Sean Scannell down the right, who has been a menace to every defence he has faced since Powell’s arrival at the Club in early September.
“‘Scanz’ and I have been linking up really well and that was the case again tonight – that’s where the goal came from. The Manager has been telling us in training that this game is all about partnerships and working as units; for a full back, the unit is the centre halves and the winger. We’re building relationships and I certainly feel like I’m building one with Sean in every game we play.
“Sean has been brilliant since the new Manager came in; it’s like he’s been given a new lease of life. He’s running at defenders and he’s almost unplayable at times. He has been involved heavily in the majority of goals we’ve scored recently.”
Tommy was also full of praise for Harry Bunn, who he’s known dating back to their days together in the Manchester City Academy.
“I’m not surprised one bit,” Tommy said of Harry’s form. “I’ve known what Harry is about for a long time and he’s just had to wait for his opportunity to play. The Manager has given him that and he’s doing brilliantly.”
Smith has featured heavily in the team under Chris Powell’s management and was full of praise when asked about the impact he has had on the team:
“The Manager has put his stamp on the group. He’s got his ideas across, along with those of the other staff, and I think we’ve taken them on board. There’s a real togetherness in the group now; the camaraderie is great and we’re playing well as a result. He’s been great for the Club.
“He was a top class full back and he’s had some great tips for me. He’s put his ideas across to me and that’s certainly helped, so I think he will develop my game a lot more.”
Next up for Smith and co is Saturday’s long trip to Ipswich Town - a game that he is already relishing!
“Footballers want the games to keep coming week in, week out; we all love playing and racking up the points!
“Every game is a different challenge in the Championship and Ipswich on Saturday will certainly be that. We’ll go into the game with a load of confidence after the last few games we’ve played and we’ll look to take the game to them. We’ll see where that takes us.”