Chris talks injuries, transfers & the Lions
Huddersfield Town Manager Chris Powell previewed Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship game at Millwall with the press today.
The Town boss started by giving an update on the injuries at the Club, with Tommy Smith’s health at the top of the agenda:
“Tommy is in very good spirits; he feels great. He actually discharged himself late last Saturday night, which was quite remarkable. He looks like he would be able to play on Saturday, but he cannot – we rightly have to follow the protocol when it comes to concussions. Touch wood, he’ll be back in full training next Monday.
“I have to say that the Yorkshire Air Ambulance was absolutely first class, as was the medical team that was on standby at the ground. Credit to my medical team and doctors too; everyone came to the fore and did exactly what was needed.
“Nahki Wells has trained, so he should be available this weekend; that will be great for me. Alex (Smithies) is fine too; he was back in training on Monday and it’s just unfortunate he couldn’t shake the illness off for the game.
“Joel Lynch has had a scan and he’ll be missing for two to three weeks, whereas Jonathan Hogg’s recovery has been slow; we thought he might be ready for Leeds, but it looks like he’ll miss out on Millwall as well.”
One player who can be called upon this weekend is new striker Ishmael Miller, who was acquired on the final day of the transfer window from Blackpool.
Chris continued: “Ishmael has played all his career in the Premier League and Championship, but his loan spell at a struggling Yeovil team last year showed to me that he had the hunger and desire to play – he made a really good impact there.
“I saw him when Blackpool played Fulham; I was there to watch Fulham just before we played them this season. Before they went down to 10 men, Ishmael was the outstanding player on the park.
“I feel there is a talented footballer there. If we put him out on the pitch and give him the platform to really show what he’s got, I think he could be a very good asset for us. He’s big, physical, has pace, know-how and he can beat a player; all the qualities you need at this level.”
A number of players left Huddersfield Town during January, but Chris explained that very few had an impact on his team during his first five months in charge:
“What people have to remember that of the 11 players who left, a number haven’t affected the First Team so far; the likes of Ben Holmes, Daniel Carr, Matt Crooks, Jordan Sinnott – straight away that cuts it down.
“Of the rest, they were all players I had a good look at - Danny Ward, Adam Hammill, Martin Paterson – and not many of them were affecting the group either. The only ones in and around it were Lee Peltier and Paul Dixon.
“Paul’s departure was for family reasons. He wanted to go back to Scotland as he’s about to become a father again. I have no problems with that; we could have kept Paul here, but I’m quietly happy with that decision.”
One man who stayed despite speculation is young winger Joe Lolley – a player Chris wants to unleash soon:
“His elevation through the leagues has been so quick; it’s quite remarkable that he only played 16 times for Kidderminster.
“He’s a natural talent and I know he will have an effect for us over time. I haven’t started him yet, but he’s certainly in my thinking and he wasn’t going anywhere in the window. I want to give him a chance, which I have to show now. I can’t promise when that will be, but he’s definitely part of our plans.”
The loan window reopens next week and Chris made no secret of his desire to increase depth in one specific position to add to his January incomings:
“I know I need a left back to cover Jack Robinson and that’s an area we’ll definitely look at with the loan window coming up.
“Meanwhile David Edgar and Ishmael Miller are both proven at Championship level and that gives us a bit more know-how.
“As people like Jon Hogg and Joel Lynch return, it gives us a very good core. Rather than being lighter, we are tighter – I like that. That should inspire the boys we have. Hopefully one or two out of the Academy will come to the fore too.”
After last weekend’s disappointing derby day defeat to Leeds United, Chris has the belief that his players will bounce back at Millwall on Saturday:
“In the immediate aftermath of last Saturday the players were down, as well as being a little bit in shock over Tommy Smith, but we’ve had to quickly move on from last weekend as we have an important game against Millwall on Saturday. I said my piece to them and now we have to focus on the next game.
“We have a resilient bunch here. We’ve had some highs and lows already this season and I have no doubts that my squad and players will come back again.
“We’ve had a good week and we’re training at St. George’s Park on Friday on our way down to London. That will be a nice lift for the players, as I’m sure some of them haven’t been there before.”
On this weekend’s opponents Millwall, Chris added:
“I watched them against Reading ahead of a big morale-boosting win at Nottingham Forest last week.
“We have to go there, keep calm and get on with what we’re there to do. I’m sure my players can handle that.
“These three game weeks are always important in terms of your league standing, so it’s a big week for every team. We have to come out of the other side with a good points return, starting on Saturday.”