Town boss looks ahead to Saturday’s game
- Chris Powell previews HTAFC vs Derby County
- Mustapha Carayol & Kyle Dempsey could return
- Manager hails the role of Ishmael Miller
Huddersfield Town Manager Chris Powell hopes to have a couple of players returning from injury and illness when his side takes on Derby County at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday.
“Muzzy (Mustapha Carayol) is back and has been training today. He had a family bereavement and you have to make sure his family came first. I understand how important football is but we had to make sure he was okay,” Chris explained.
“Kyle (Dempsey) has been in too, but we’ve kept him away from everyone. We just hope he’ll be alright. Hopefully his illness will pass and we will see if he’s available on Saturday.”
“Otherwise, Jonathan Hogg is starting to do some light work outside but everyone else is okay. We’ve got bumps and bruises but they tend to hurt less on the back of a positive result. We’ll be ready for Saturday.”
The Terriers have gained seven points from the last three home fixtures, but Powell is keen for his players not to be overconfident going into the weekend.
“We know what the Championship is about; we all know how quickly it can turn. It’s a league that tests you in more ways than one.
“A quarter of the season gone and we’re on a run of one defeat in six. That’s a good place to be in and we want to continue that, but we know our next three games are Derby, Burnley and Reading; they’re three sides that are up there. We welcome the challenge though - we’re ready!
“Three game weeks are quite pivotal in this league. You always want to get a minimum of five points, but if you get seven that’s great and nine, fantastic.
On weekend opponents Derby County, Chris continued:
“Having played there, I know the club well; it’s a fantastic football club and they’re well backed. Last year they were involved in an outstanding game at our place where it was 4-4.
“They’ve been tantalizingly close to promotion, but now they’ve gone in a different direction with Paul Clement.
“They’ve invested heavily, because they feel this is the year to do it - I’m sure with one eye on the new TV deal. They are under pressure to make it, but they do have players to withstand that pressure because they’ve been through it.
“They do have a squad that’s very good at this level. You look at Chris Martin, then if he doesn’t play they’ve got Darren Bent, [Tom] Ince and [Johnny] Russell at the front. They’ve got good experience in Richard Keogh and Jason Shackell, with Scott Carson in goal; they’ve got good balance."
Nahki Wells and Ishmael Miller (above) have rekindled their strike partnership during the last two games and the Manager explained he likes what he has seen from his strikers in that time; in particular the role Miller is performing for his team.
“That partnership is okay.
“When I speak to opposition managers after each game, out of any of our players they’re most worried about Ishmael. He’s done brilliantly for us.
“You can’t dismiss what he did for us against Charlton, Bolton, Nottingham Forest and Ipswich. He got into positions where maybe he should’ve put the ball away.
“He takes such a buffeting and gives people like Nahki, Sean (Scannell) and Harry (Bunn) more chance to get in dangerous areas.
“Of course he wants to score and I understand that. The goals aren’t coming but we’re getting chances and I have complete faith in him.
“We want him to score and he’s paid to score, but actually he’s performing a superb role for us and the team realises what an important role it is. We’re desperate for him to score and it will come.”
Another striker who made an impression in midweek is Under-21 top scorer Flo Bojaj, who grabbed an assist for Jamie Paterson’s late strike. He was one of four Development Squad players among the substitutes against the Dons.
Chris continued: “It’s not as if those lads haven’t been around with us and trained with us. Flo and Will Boyle came to Ipswich, so they know what it’s like in the dressing room; they know the preparation and it won’t faze them.
“If you have them sitting on the bench, listening to me before the game and at half-time, it helps them when they do get on the pitch. They’ve all been on the bench before and they’ve all been on the pitch now.
“Eventually we will try and get them a start. Phil Billing got 45 minutes at Charlton and that was great for him and for the Academy boys knowing I’ll put trust in them and bring them off the bench if I can.
“I start them if it happens that way, they know over the course of the season they’re going to be called upon. I trust them, they’re coached well, they’re prepared well by Frank [Bunn] and they come into the real thing with us. That can only help their confidence of the other boys that they make a difference with us.
“I want to take my time with them; I don’t want anyone rushing them and us going overboard. They’re going to have dips; that’s the life of a young professional. They’re good enough, and hopefully we’ll see more of them.”
Click HERE for full ticket details on Saturday's game at home to Derby!