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Club News


7 November 2015

Academy Manager reviews the derby loss

- Mark Lillis reviews defeat to Leeds United
- Academy Manager disappointed with result
- Mark reviews impact of Town's young players

Mark Lillis was disappointed to oversee today’s 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Leeds United, but believes there was plenty for the new watching Head Coach David Wagner to like about his new side.

Town’s Academy Manager was in charge for the game, but some positives from the game were overshadowed by a poor end to the first half that saw Town trail by two at the interval.

“I’m very disappointed for the fans. I feel like I’ve let them down, even though I wasn’t out there playing. The fans were unbelievable at the start,” Mark told

“I picked the team, with my coaches. We wanted to try and get width and get around the back of Leeds. We wanted to be positive, play forward and press the ball.  

“We didn’t manage the game when those eight minutes went up. After conceding the first goal, we tried to go at them again and gave the ball away. Their third goal was fantastic. You have to be able to manage the game in the Championship, because it is a ruthless division. Leeds did that well in the second half, killing any momentum we got. 

“At half time, I told the players they had to be brave. That’s not blocking shots on the line; that’s about wanting the ball to try and create chances. 

“We did that and their ‘keeper made a couple of decent saves. We had one early in the second half where Nahki took his eye off it and the chance went begging; if we’d scored that, it would have changed the game at 2-1. 

“We didn’t give up and kept going right until the end. At the end Duane Holmes played a great ball and Dempsey broke through, but instead of shooting he rolled it on the wrong side of Vaughany. 

“I thought Joe Lolley was a positive today, but I think he has to learn to shoot more when he comes inside on his left foot. He came over after 70 minutes cramping up and I had to take him off. 

“Unfortunately Philip (Billing) got an injury and the poor lad is devastated. I thought he was growing into the game. This was the game for him, as he has the type of mentality to drive on. He has a boot on his foot and he’ll be in for assessment tomorrow. Football is cruel sometimes.

“We had a lot of young lads out there who will learn from that; playing in a massive local derby with a fantastic atmosphere. They only learn by getting that experience and you can’t judge them until they play in a game. There were positives to take out of it.” 

One of the four changes Mark made to the team saw Joe Murphy replace loanee Jed Steer in goal; a decision Mark explained post-match:

“Joe is our First Team ‘keeper and Jed’s loan is up on 11 November, so I thought this was a chance for Joe to play. We don’t know if Jed will stay or not at this stage. I had a good chat with him before the game and my gut feel was to bring Joe back.” 

On the young players who featured for the Terriers today, Mark continued:

“I think Philip is ready and we saw Duane come on and make a bit of an impact, setting up opportunities with his vision.

“Dempsey has loads of energy and the decision-making will come by working with them every day. You can’t just throw young lads in and say ‘he has ready’; you have to work in training, behind the scenes. 

“We need to work on Joe Lolley’s fitness, but he’s another one to look at.” 

Now Mark will hand the First Team reigns over to Wagner; a man he is looking forward to working alongside at PPG Canalside.

“Now the players and staff meet the new Head Coach on Monday and I’m sure he’s seen there’s a lot there to work with. It’s the international break, so he has two weeks to work with them; that’s a big help, because you need to get on the grass and do the work.

“He’s had experience of working with young players, so it’ll be good for me to share his knowledge and find out how he works. He’ll bring new things to the table and that’s great; together we will move forward. 

“Our offices are around 20 yards apart and we’ll be all be in it together. I’ve not spoken to David yet, but I’m sure he has left with some positives. It’ll be a good game to analyse the bits that were good and those that weren’t. 

“The fans will be excited about seeing the new Head Coach in action and my advice is to get behind him.”

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