Chris discusses the Club’s closed season plans
With the 2014/15 Sky Bet Championship season now over, Huddersfield Town Manager Chris Powell has already turned his attention to the following campaign – and gave his thoughts to htafc.com on what is needed for the Club to take the next step forward.
The First Team squad is now away until the start of 2015/16 pre-season training in July, but Powell explained that rest is an important part of the preparations for the new campaign:
“The players have their off-season programmes. They need to rest; that’s massive for the players, especially the ones like Sean Scannell, who has played in 45 games. It’s more games than he’s ever played, so he needs to rest and recuperate.
“Conor Coady made 44 starts and Jacob Butterfield started 45 games; more than he had started cumulatively in the two and a half years since his knee injury in late 2011. Others, like Harry Bunn and Tommy Smith, played in their first full seasons at senior level.
“It’s important that they go away and switch off as much as they can, because when they come back in for the testing and training on 1 July they will have a little shock!” he joked.
“They’ve got to work hard. I want to see that desire in them from day one. We’ve got most of our games arranged; most of the pre-season planning is done and we will be ready to hit the ground running.
“We will build it up in the right way and in the right manner. We will have games locally and our overseas training camp is more or less organised, so it’s all there and it’s all about making sure the squad is right.
“Preseason is about fitness and also importantly establishing core messages and objectives for the season. Any new players need to settle down and become part of the group, which will know what we want them to do.
“In pre-season you tend to do things you don’t try in the season, like try new systems. I’ve got an idea on what I’d like to do, which I have had most of this season. Now it’s more about getting the players in that will improve us.”
Town’s Manager knows getting the summer recruitment right is a vitally important factor in the Club’s continued progression, as he explained:
“The utopia is to have them all done by 30 June, but I know that doesn’t happen. We’d like to get them lined up, but often out of contract players want to leave their options open for as long as possible. We all – fans included – need to be patient and get the right players; not the first available ones!
“If I can, I will, because we can work with them from the first day of training. We need to get to know their personalities, what they’re like on and off the pitch and teach them our objectives for next season. The sooner you have them with you, the better.
“We need players to give us more experience and leadership. We’ve got it in Mark Hudson, but the rest of them are quite young; mostly under 25. We need a bit more of experience and extra Championship knowhow in the squad.”
Chris has already discussed recruitment plans with Town’s Board of Directors, spearheaded by Chairman Dean Hoyle.
“I’m in constant dialogue with Dean; he is very good for me,” Powell continued.
“Dean has always said he wants us to overachieve. We discussed that before I joined and ever since I’ve been here and it won’t change. He is very realistic and understands the Championship and its demands.
“I’m learning about the history of our club and how long we have been in League 1 and League 2, so being in the Championship is important. Continuing to improve is now the priority. I know many years back we were Champions three times in a row and that’s part of our history – we’re proud of it and its on our shirts – but in modern times it’s our fourth season back in the Championship next year, so that’s quite big for us.”
After achieving the Club’s highest finishing league position for 15 years during 2014/15, Chris says all the off season work is with an aim to continuing that progression next term.
“We do have a good group of players. In the last few seasons in the Championship we have finished on similar points and positions. Our objective is to be much better than that. I don’t want us to stand still. If you stand still you’re not going to progress anywhere and that’s when your rivals will surpass you. I don’t want that to happen to us.
“I’d like us to have a push next year. I’m not saying were going to be top six, but I think we owe it to ourselves to do the best we can and make progress up the League.
“Progress doesn’t always have to come through having the most money, as we can all see in this year’s table once again! It comes through smart recruitment, through things on the training field and from a further year’s experience for the group of players I’ve got. They know what to expect and feel that they can get better now.
“Everyone has a positive role to play; I do, my players do, the media does - but none more important than our fans. I know they want the best for us. We will be looking to find more consistency and compete even more strongly in what is a really tough league.
“I’ve grown into my job and the area. It’s a good football club. I’m working at a good level, I’ve got some wonderful players that I feel will get better and I can’t wait for 1 July and then 8 August to come.”
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