Chris previews his first game in charge
Huddersfield Town Manager Chris Powell is looking forward to his first game in charge of the Terriers on Saturday when Middlesbrough visit the John Smith’s Stadium.
Chris told htafc.com that he’s ready for Saturday’s big kick-off having spent his first week with the squad at PPG Canalside:
“I’m really enjoying it here, although I know the weather isn’t normally as good as this! I’ve had to take a lot on board in a short space of time, but I know my way around now. I’ve had numerous meetings with staff and everyone has been very helpful, in all aspects of the football club. I’m excited by the challenge, that’s for sure.
“I’m really pleased with how my staff works, but I’m here to do my best to improve that even further. We need a good working environment, because ultimately that will make the players better and that’s what I want. I want Huddersfield Town to be as good as it can be.
“We’ve been working hard out on the grass and the group of players have been really good; they’ve trained well in what is a fabulous facility. I like to accentuate what the players are good at. They’re chomping at the bit to get playing again, because it’s been a long international break.
“It’s a new beginning for quite a few people and we need to get some confidence by getting our first home win. We’ve got two goes at it in the next few days, but I’d love it to be at the first attempt against Middlesbrough on Saturday.”
Powell is well aware of how difficult the Sky Bet Championship is from his time in charge at Charlton Athletic, but he explained how a team can be successful in the second tier.
“We know how tough the Championship is but if we do the right things more often than not, it will improve us as a Club. That happened at my previous club and I want it to happen here. Sometimes it takes time as you want to mould the squad so it represents you – ultimately, this is my team and it represents me as well as Huddersfield Town. I’ll be trying to do that as soon as possible.
“In the Championship, you need a team that is creative and positive as it can be. However, you also need to be organised. Players must know their roles and responsibilities on the pitch and give their all. I always tell players that I’ll drive them home after a game if they can’t walk, because I want them to come off the pitch knackered! Everyone has to play their part.”
In the short term, he’s set his new charges a defensive target to reach:
“We haven’t had a clean sheet and I’ve given them a target. It might be short-term, but it’s a target nonetheless. If that’s the starting point, we have goals in the team through the midfielders, wide players and strikers.
“You need some solid citizens out there, so that your artists – the creative players – can thrive. The solid players need to keep the opposition out of the 18 yard box and you build from there.
“I know we’ve only won one game out of five, but I’m staying positive because I know we can improve. We can get more and we’re aiming to get more.”
With several players returning from injury, Powell will have plenty of options to choose from for his first game in charge on Saturday:
“Lee Peltier and Tommy Smith have both trained – Lee more than Tommy. Hopefully they’ll both be ok.
“Martin Paterson, Joe Lolley and Anthony Gerrard are back training too – maybe it’s an effect I’ve had! They will want to impress me and that’s what I want – a problem choosing the starting XI.”
Chris also confirmed that he’s happy with Lee Peltier as Club Captain.
“I’ve got a Captain in Lee and I see no need to go anywhere near that situation. Lee is experienced, plays in a number of positions and is a good character. He knows this Club. I wouldn’t want to change that around; I’m comfortable with the situation.”
As Chairman Dean Hoyle explained last week, Powell had a major hand in keeping Sean Scannell at the Club during the transfer window. He explained why:
“I’ve looked at Sean’s career here and asked for opinions, as I haven’t seen lots of him since his days at Palace. I would say he’s been a bit of an enigma here. There’s definitely talent there and he has pace, which you need to bring your team up the pitch at times when you’re under pressure.
“It’s now down to me and him. He’s been playing recently and he’s shown flashes of what he can do, like creating a goal at Watford, but he has to do it consistently. He’s a player I want to work with to try and get his ‘A game’ to Huddersfield Town more often than not.”
After today’s training session at PPG Canalside, Powell’s thoughts will turn towards walking out at the John Smith’s Stadium to face Middlesbrough on Saturday afternoon.
“It doesn’t matter what team you play in the Championship - it will always be a tough game, especially this season. Middlesbrough have spent money and brought in some players that might mean they make changes.
“It will be a tough game against a side that could be in the top six come the end of the season, but we will be ready for it. We will go out there with exuberance and no fear. Our players will be backed by the crowd as long as we give them something, which we have to do. We want to start fast and see where that takes us.
“It will be different for me on Saturday, although I’m used to walking out at Huddersfield given the number of times I came here with Charlton! I’m excited about it. It’s a challenge - like any new job – but I want to do well.
“People may think Alex (Dyer) and I are out of our comfort zone, but that doesn’t bother me – this is my career. I’m looking forward to it and I really hope this is the start of the run we deserve as a Club.”
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