Town’s boss pleased with victory and clean sheet
- Chris Powell reviews win over MK Dons
- Manager happy with discipline of HTAFC players
- Chris comments on debutant Flo Bojaj
Town Manager Chris Powell was a happy man after seeing his team execute the game plan in tonight’s 2-0 Sky Bet Championship game at home to MK Dons.
“It was very good by the end of it. We had a quick turnaround, as you get in the Championship, but we’ve come out of it having built on Saturday and with just one defeat in the last six with three wins and a couple of draws. The players should be proud of the fact we’re on quite a decent run,” Chris told htafc.com.
“I think tonight was testament to the players’ concentration and organisation, as we were playing against a possession-based side. They don’t always hurt you and as long as you don’t break your shape when you don’t have the ball, they find it hard to get through. It was a different game to the one on Saturday.
“Jed Steer barely had a shot to save, although he took some crosses and marshaled his back four well. We’ve got two clean sheets now, which has been a long time coming and is something we needed. That will give the players confidence, both defensively and in an attacking sense.
“The team as a whole worked really well and I suppose our game plan to press from the front and force them into mistakes culminated in our first goal.”
Chris was quick to praise fit-again skipper Mark Hudson for his role in the second successive clean sheet, as well as Man of the Match Dean Whitehead.
“Huddy has come in and led from the front. He is our leader as Captain and he polices the team alongside Dean Whitehead, as we have seen again tonight. Mark would make a difference to any team.”
Although happy with the outcome, he did admit he told his team to speed things up in possession during the interval:
“We talked about upping the tempo a little bit at half time, especially when we had the ball. We also needed to make one or two more passes, as we rushed it a little bit in the first half. I knew transitions would be key tonight and when we got the ball, what we did with it was important. It broke down too often in the final third, but we got better at that in the second half and managed to put them under pressure and fashion more chances.
“I’m pleased for Nahki, because it was a tough night for him. Things weren’t going his way, but he stuck at it and got his reward.
“We changed the shape a little bit and brought on Jamie Paterson. He’s been patient, but he combined with the other substitute Flo Bojaj, who was on his debut, and we get a 2-0 win.
“I felt the players, to a man, showed a good attitude and good aptitude throughout the 90 minutes. They should be applauded for that.
“If we get the final ball right, we could put some teams out of sight. We are creating and getting in the areas we want to.”
Powell handed a professional debut to Academy graduate Flo Bojaj in added time and the striker laid on the assist for Jamie Paterson’s second goal.
Chris continued: “I watch the Under-21s play and train and I speak to Frankie Bunn all the time. It’s important for a club like ours to bring some players through if we can, but they have to impress when they get the chance. Phil Billing has done it and now Flo has done it.
“He’s been scoring goals and has deserved a chance. He’s been in and around it. He’s a clever player, he can finish and bring other players into the game, as we saw tonight. That will be really good for his confidence and for everyone at the Academy.
“Hopefully our fans can see we are trying to introduce these lads, but not rush them. I don’t want anyone getting carried away, because we need them to develop at their own pace. They will have dips because that is the life of a young player, but if you can drip feed information and experience it works.”
On Paterson, who netted his first goal in Town colours, he added:
“I’m really pleased for Jamie too. It’s been hard to get him involved at times, but he’s shown tonight and before that he has a bit of quality. I think he’ll do alright for us.”
Now Powell and co must prepare for Saturday’s game at home to promotion favourites Derby County:
“We’ve got four points from the last two games and now we want seven from three. We’ll dig deep into the energy reserves on Saturday when we entertain Derby.”