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Club News


7 September 2014

Club’s summer movements in focus

The need for more leadership and Championship experience was at the top of the list after the conclusion of the 2013/14 season, with starters rather than development players on the target list. The Club’s summer recruits have met those objectives. 
“We just need leaders on the pitch,” Chairman Dean Hoyle told the Huddersfield Examiner during the summer.
“I don’t believe there is a need for wholesale changes. The key is to get the right people in the right positions. Everyone at the Club understands the need to strengthen the playing side and that will be done… we will take our time to make sure the deals are right for the Club.”
Back in July 2014, Town’s Chief Executive Nigel Clibbens also added:
“Dean, Ross and Mark (Robins) have talked long and hard about the need for us to get more experience and more nous into the squad, because we have a young squad with not many Championship games among them.
“It’s really important the people coming into the club settle quickly and make a big impact. We are looking for the right people at the right prices and they have to be the right fit for us. It’s all about value for the club and the right players with the character and ability we want.”
At the end of last season, Manager Mark Robins added:
“We need some real quality Championship experience to go along with what we already have in the building.”
The need to add Championship experience was borne from the departure of several of the Club’s more experienced campaigners at the end of last season, with outfielders 33 year-old Keith Southern (178 Championship appearances), Peter Clarke at 32 years old (111 Champ apps) and 42 year-old ‘keeper Ian Bennett (270 Champ apps) all outgoing.
Added to that, Adam Clayton (132 Cham apps) and Oliver Norwood (98 Champ apps) both entered the final years of their contracts and, with no prospect of extensions realistic, have subsequently been sold; Clayton to Middlesbrough in a seven figure cash deal plus Jacob Butterfield and Norwood to Reading, again for significant cash.
The Club has recruited players with experience of this division down the spine of the team through its seven signings (five permanent and two Standard Loans):
Mark Hudson (Cardiff City; two year contract)
Centre back
32 years old
305 Championship appearances
Joe Murphy (Coventry City; two year contract + one year Club option)
33 years old
205 Championship appearances
Radoslaw Majewski (Nottingham Forest; Standard Loan - full season)
Attacking midfielder
27 years old
144 Championship appearances
Jacob Butterfield (Middlesbrough; four year contract)
Central midfielder
24 years old
137 Championship appearances
Lee Peltier (Leeds United; three year contract)
Centre back, right back or defensive midfielder
27 years old
120 Championship appearances
Jack Robinson (Queens Park Rangers; Standard Loan – full season)
Left back
21 years old
45 Championship appearances
Conor Coady (Liverpool; three year contract + one year Club option)
Central midfielder
21 years old 
956 Championship appearances; 751 for outfielders in new players with an average age of 26 years
At the same time 10 players left Town, with Clayton and Norwood leaving for cash sales and eight at the expiry of their contracts: 
Ian Bennett (contract expired; moved to be Academy Goalkeeping Coach)
42 years old
270 Championship appearances
Keith Southern (contract expired; joined Fleetwood Town in League 1)
Central midfielder
33 years old
178 Championship appearances
Adam Clayton (in final year of contract; sold to Middlesbrough in August in seven figure undisclosed deal)
Central midfielder
25 years old
132 Championship appearances
Peter Clarke (contract expired; joined Blackpool in Championship)
Centre back
32 years old
111 Championship appearances
Oliver Norwood (in final year of contract; sold to Reading for significant cash deal)
Central midfielder
23 years old
98 Championship appearances
Calum Woods (contract expired; joined Preston North End in League 1)
Right back or left back
27 years old
46 Championship appearances
Chris Atkinson (contract expired; joined Crewe Alexandra in League 1)
Central midfielder
22 years old
7 Championship appearances
Anton Robinson (contract expired)
Central midfielder
28 years old
2 Championship appearances (no starts in 2013/14)
Cristian Lopez (contract expired; joined Segunda Division B side Burgos CF in Spain)
25 years old
2 Championship appearances
Paul Mullin (contract expired; joined Morecambe in League 2)
19 years old
846 Championship appearances; 576 outfield
Average age: 27.6 years old
These 10 players made just 122 Championship starts in 2013/14 and a further 17 appearances off the bench, with 14 goals. 

In terms of positions Town's deals have effectively replaced Woods with Peltier, Coady for Norwood, Butterfield for Clayton and Hudson for Clarke. 

These moves contributed to a drop in the average age of the squad but crucially an overall increase of outfield Championship experience worth 175 games – all leaving cash in the bank from sales and buys of around £1.4 million. 
Subsequently, the arrival of other players such as Jack Robinson and Radoslaw Majewski has also allowed Jake Carroll (Patrick Thistle) and Duane Holmes (Bury) go out on loan to gain vital First Team experience.
Today, Town Chairman Hoyle commented:
“Overall I'm pleased with the way things have worked out in the end. It’s clear the squad is stronger than the one we ended last season with and better balanced. 
“It has been a difficult transfer window for obvious reasons. We’ve probably brought in one or two more players that we thought we would at the start of the summer; that has come about due to the departures of Oliver Norwood and Adam Clayton.
“The players we have brought in fit the criteria that we set out at the end of last season.
“The spine of the team has been strengthened with players who have come into the team and made an immediate impact. We have had to be patient and work hard to get deals done.
“The players have increased the amount of Championship experience we have in our squad and we have brought in some real leaders and resilient characters like Mark Hudson who has captained his previous three clubs and Lee Peltier his last club, with Conor Coady skippering several different age levels for England and Liverpool. 
“Players who could have moved for free at the season end have been replaced with new motivated and younger players on long term deals with cash left over to contribute to the Club and for future reinvestment. That's crucial.
“Things were made difficult towards the end of the transfer window due to the departure of Mark Robins, but it is testament to the all involved and our excellent recruitment structure that we have still been able to complete the deals for Butterfield, Robinson and Hudson – and sell Clayton and Norwood. Chris Powell now has the opportunity to work with them and get the best out of them.
“That said, with the loan window set to open next week and Chris now in place, there is still the opportunity to do more business if necessary.” 

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