Chris wants side to replicate second-half against Brighton at Fulham
- Chris Powell previews Fulham vs Huddersfield Town
- Manager confirms Alex Smithies' departure 'almost done'
- Chris praises Jacob Butterfield
Huddersfield Town Manager Chris met the press at PPG Canalside on Thursday afternoon ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship game at Fulham.
At the top of the agenda was an update on goalkeeper Alex Smithies, with the Manager confirming that his transfer away from the Club is expected to be finished soon.
“It’s almost done now. There has been a bit of a hold-up on the other club’s medical side as I believe their consultant wasn’t available until today (Thursday). It should be signed and sealed shortly.
“It’s a great story when a local lad comes through at their club and Alex will leave a mark on this club for what he did at the 2012 Play-Off Final, when the Huddersfield lad scored the penalty that got the team promoted to the Championship.
“Since I’ve been here, he has been excellent; he’s a top professional. However, this is the life of a footballer. On behalf of the Club I wish him well, but now we move on.”
Alex’s absence from recent squads has handed a chance to Joe Murphy; one the Manager believes he has taken so far:
“I’ve always been comfortable with our goalkeeping situation. I know Joe played a couple of games last year, but unusually for him he also had a couple of knocks. He’s always wanted a chance, but he’s also accepted that Alex had the shirt.
“This summer a few people will have wondered what would happen with Joe, but he’s been great and now he has his chance to be in the team.
“It’s up to Joe to take his chance now. He’s shown he is ready for it in the two home games, when he’s been very solid and competent. He looks like a Championship goalkeeper, which I’ve always known he is.”
Chris also gave an update on the speculation surrounding midfielder Jacob Butterfield, saying his midweek performance and goal demonstrated his commitment to the cause.
“He has been fine, because he’s a top professional and a top player,” Chris continued.
“He’d been through the mill at his previous couple of clubs, but he’s been excellent here and deserved to win our ‘Player of the Year’. He’s such an influential person in the way we play.
“You could see the speculation hasn’t affected him from how he played on Tuesday night, especially in the second half when the team got going; he was pivotal to it. He will continue to be a professional and get on with his work.
“There have been three bids turned down, because he is highly valued here. People may argue that everyone has a price, but in any case what has been offered is nowhere near his value. We move on.”
Town’s second half performance against Brighton & Hove Albion on Tuesday night was arguably their best of the embryonic 2015/16 season and the Manager wants his side to build on that momentum this weekend.
“The first half against Brighton wasn’t good at all, but we stayed in the game through a good Joe Murphy save and a couple of good blocks. We warmed to the tasks and over the balance, I thought there was only one team that was going to get all three points.
“We’ve been positive at home in terms of our play, creating crosses and shots; our stats are very good in that respect. Of course, you need to be clinical and we haven’t got the first win that we want.
“Over the balance of the first two home games I feel we deserved more; we got two points, but maybe we should have got two more. That hasn’t happened, but we’ll keep soldiering away and look to get our first win.”
Town’s game on Saturday is at Fulham’s Craven Cottage and the Manager watched this weekend’s opponents in action at Hull City on Wednesday night:
“I went over to Hull yesterday to watch Fulham, whilst Alex (Dyer) went to watch our next opponents QPR at Wolves.
“Hull deserved to lead in the first half but, as we did against Brighton, Fulham came on strong in the second half. They got a good equaliser, but Hull kept going.
“They’ve made a lot of changes to the squad they had last year. They’ve spent some money on (Tom) Cairney and brought in some frees, whilst they’re also meant to want (Lewis) Dunk. They will want to get back to the Premier League after being relegated the season before last.
“We can take some real heart from our second half performance on Tuesday and look to replicate that on Saturday. We want to build on what we’ve done so far. We know we have good players and we can create chances.”
Finally, Chris confirmed that the jury is still out on whether or not Sean Scannell (hamstring) will be available for the trip to London.
“He hasn’t trained with the rest of the squad, but he’s been outside today doing work with our fitness guys. We need to see how he reacts to the work; we’ll find out tomorrow morning (Friday).
“We are a better team and squad with Sean in it, but this is just our fourth game and I don’t want to risk him. I’d rather he be available for more of the up and coming games.”
Fulham tickets will be on sale at Huddersfield Town until 4pm on Friday. There will be tickets available at Fulham on Saturday, but prices will increase by £5 on the day (excluding tickets for fans aged 16 and under). Click HERE for full ticket info!