Chris reviews Yorkshire derby defeat to Leeds
Huddersfield Town Manager Chris Powell knows his side paid the price for a moment of poor defending in today’s 2-1 defeat to Leeds United.
Before giving his thoughts on the game, Chris gave an update on the status of defender Tommy Smith. Tommy was treated on the pitch for around 10 minutes for an incident in Leeds’ winning goal and was subsequently airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary after the final whistle.
“The Yorkshire Air Ambulance has landed on the pitch. They stabilised Tommy, but he was in and out of consciousness for at least 10 minutes.
“He’s in good hands. They’re taking him to Leeds General Infirmary and hopefully he will be back fighting-fit soon.
“I can’t confirm exactly what happened. We’re trying to establish exactly how he took the knock – whether it was Billy Sharp or our goalkeeper. It definitely wasn’t the post. We’re not 100% sure as the replay is quite inconclusive.
“In the end it doesn’t matter now; we’re just worried about his welfare. I’m a bit in shock seeing it all. I made sure I saw him and his family. Hopefully everything will be ok.”
Sadly Tommy wasn’t the only injured Town player today, albeit his rightly took precedence. Chris explained about other knocks to his players – including Alex Smithies’ absence from the line-up.
“Nahki (Wells) got a blow on his foot early on and it swelled up; he couldn’t move. He’s had an X-ray and I believe he’s ok, which is positive as he’s been very lively recently.
“Joel (Lynch) pulled up with a problem too. He’s been a good player for me since I walked through the door and hopefully it won’t be a bad one. We had to take him off though; he wouldn’t have lasted.
“Alex Smithies was taken ill on Thursday just before training and he’s progressively got worse; we knew last night that he wasn’t going to make it.”
Smithies’ absence meant a first start in two months for Joe Murphy after his own foot problem; the only change to a side that handed loan recruit David Edgar his home debut.
“Joe Murphy has been working his way back and all credit to him, because he’s still not 100%. In a game like this you need experience and although Lloyd (Allinson) is going to be a good ‘keeper, I had to make a decision and put in someone who has been through this type of occasion before.
“Like everyone else, David Edgar had to get himself going at the start but then he made a few tackles and passes and did. We needed him today because we knew Rudy Austin would break from midfield and would be competitive. He was steady and he’ll be a good acquisition for us.”
As for the game, Chris felt defeat was a bit harsh – but knows his players only have themselves to blame.
“I don’t think we deserved to lose the game on the balance of play, but that’s what happened.
“We didn’t start well; we didn’t play our normal game for the first 15 minutes and paid the price. However, we overcame that and finished the first half as the stronger side, deservedly getting the equaliser. The goal from Sam Byram woke us from our slumber and got the crowd going; we started to pass and do what we can do.
“After that the game was full of fire; we saw a few yellow cards, which is par for the course in a game like this. We tried to push on and we had more incidents in the final third than Leeds; they cleared a corner off the line in the second-half. At that point you think it isn’t going to be your day, but Joe Murphy still didn’t have a save to make in the second period and it looked like a draw.
“We just didn’t defend that final cross. It was a good ball in by the lad, but we didn’t defend it and you’ve got to do everything you can to stop those crosses. It was the 90th minute and we had to see the game out, take a point and move on with the run. We didn’t and we paid the price.”
Despite the disappointment of a derby day defeat, Chris was keen to stress that the team’s recent good form should not be dismissed:
“It wasn’t to be today, so now we have to get ready for Millwall. We’ve been progressing and pushing forward recently and we see the three game block of Wigan, Leeds and Millwall as a barometer as they’re all sides around us. We didn’t pass the test today, but we’ll go again.
“I’m trying to slowly build a squad and the confidence of the younger players and we’re on our way to doing that. When you get a setback, you’ve got to manage and galvanise the players.
“I know our fans will be disappointed today, but I know we can be a good, effective Championship side.”
Powell finished by giving an update on the January transfer window, with the deadline for permanent moves being 11pm on Monday:
“We’ve always known we need a striker, but it hasn’t been easy to get any of them over the line. We’ll see where we go over the next 48 hours and we can have some positive news. If not, the loan windows opens soon after.
“I’m not going to overreact; we have to plan and we can’t bring in players we can’t afford. I’m not going to do that.”