Chris discusses Saturday’s trip to the City Ground
Huddersfield Town Manager Chris Powell wants his side to continue its recent good run of form when it goes into the final five Championship games – starting at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
Over the Easter period all three of Town’s strikers got on the score sheet as the Terriers picked up four points over two games. Chris believes the goals will work wonders for their confidence:
“It’s huge for them. Every striker knows they are judged on goals and for all three of them to score and play the way they did was very pleasing. For the three of them, the Easter period was very good.
“Nahki (Wells) and James (Vaughan) can play together; they showed that on Monday.
“Ishmael is a different type of striker. He wants to carry the ball and he wants to be positive on the left or cutting inside on the right.”
Powell was also full of praise for his defenders:
“My Captain (Mark Hudson) and Joel Lynch have been outstanding; the bedrock of the side. They have been ably flanked by Tommy Smith and Reece James. We’ve looked better as we have pressed from the front and retained the ball well. It allowed us to build and get good passages of play, like we saw on Monday.”
Before the win over Ipswich on Easter Monday, Town went seven games without a win and Chris was full of praise for the part his Captain played in getting the team’s form back on track.
“Mark (Hudson) is a proper captain. He doesn’t shirk any responsibilities and he tells the team exactly how it is. I’ve got a senior player in him who knows exactly what’s needed in any situation.
“He’s captained teams to promotion and been at clubs when it’s not been so good at times. That’s when you need to rally round each other whether that’s away from the staff, in the dressing room or on the coach.
“We went out for a meal the other week and took them go-karting and it was great. We hadn’t had time to do that, so we had a nice Italian lunch and took them go-karting. Things like that can help the togetherness of the group when things aren’t going so well and actually you find out a lot about the players.
“Mark has been terrific. He’s 33, he’s a big man and for him to recover in under 48 hours to play again in the sun, lead the team and be dominant against Ipswich was great.
“I thought he and Joel (Lynch) had some real no-nonsense defending to do on Saturday against (Atdhe) Nuhiu and on Monday against Daryl Murphy and they were very dominant.
“They didn’t panic when the pressure was on, especially when Ipswich scored just after half-time; I thought we managed that situation on and off the pitch well. We killed their spirit a bit with the substitutions and by slowing it down and we did it very well, which is testament to the group.”
Oscar Gobern was brought back into Town’s starting line-up for the game against Ipswich on Easter Monday. It was his first start since Town’s 3-1 win over Watford on 10 January.
Chris continued: “Oscar’s in my plans right now, that’s for sure.
“Oscar has done very well for me. He came in against Watford and again on Monday after some cameo appearances at Middlesbrough and Birmingham and looked good.
“He adds balance. He’s got a good left foot, a good stature, he’s not afraid of a tackle and he can pass the ball. He’s got good pedigree from Southampton and I understand it hasn’t gone great for him here, but that was before I came.
“We looked at him and I allowed him to go out on loan to get some games. He came back here and he’s got on with it. Moving forward, his future is something we will discuss. While he’s here, he’s up for selection and you have to do the best when you’re selected. Oscar has certainly done that.”
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Town’s attentions now turn to the game away at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
Chris said of this weekend’s opposition: “Since Dougie Freedman has gone in, they have done alright. At one point they were talking about trying to break into that top six, which is highly unlikely now, but I’m sure he will be looking at next year and to finish on a high.
“They lost to Wolves and were 2-0 up against Brentford and looking to see that out, but as we know teams can score late in this league. Forest will be looking to get back to winning ways and do their best in the remaining five games.
“They’ve got some good players like Michail Antonio, who I know from his non-league days, and we saw Des Walker’s son score on Monday, who is a good young player. We will see what team they put out, but they’ve got some good players and I’m sure they will be looking to bounce back following their Easter period.”
Ahead of the trip to the City Ground, Powell’s options are boosted by the potential return of both Jonathan Hogg (hamstring) and Ishmael Miller (back).
Chris explained: “Jonathan Hogg has trained for the first time today with the group. He’s done a lot of work with the fitness coaches and he looked fine, so that’s pleasing.
“Ishmael has trained today too. He made such an impact against Sheffield Wednesday and really set us up for the game on Monday, but he took a knee in the back in the game and Ipswich came 24 hours too early for him. He trained today and there’s no worries, so that’s good.”
Powell is also positive about the progress Harry Bunn is making from his hamstring injury:
“Harry is on his way back now. He’s doing some football work, but not with the group yet; he’s going to need a good week’s training, so I wouldn’t envisage him being available until the Derby game.”
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