Time for Terriers to step up

Saturday 25th August 2012 15:00

Rhodes: vital late strike

Rhodes: vital late strike

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It may be only two games into the season but Huddersfield FanZoner Charlie Johnson is a concerned man.

Tough season ahead for Huddersfield?

For about an hour before the football season kicked off, I let myself believe that not only would Huddersfield Town have a great season, but also that we'd acquired such a brilliant set of players over the summer that we would waltz the league.

Our success would be so great that we would be promoted by Christmas, exceptions would be made to allow us in the Premier League early, and we would be in Europe by March.

Then it became apparent that this would not, unsurprisingly, be the case. A check of football league rules confirmed that the other bits would not be allowed anyway. The dream, so enticing, was cruelly dashed against the rocks by the cruel sirens of football.

As it transpires, the Championship is a difficult league, and all the signings and stadium name changes will not change the fact that we are a newly promoted side who will really need to up their game just to achieve a midtable finish.

Against Cardiff, we surprised many who'd seen us before, by actually completing some passes, and surprised those who hadn't seen us before by actually causing a very good side some problems. The new midfield appears to be a very exciting prospect.

Keith Southern is a yellow card waiting to happen and has probably never used moisturiser, but he has the heart and commitment that will endear him to many Huddersfield fans. Adam Clayton and Oliver Norwood in contrast have fancy haircuts and stylish beards and are both part of a new breed of midfielders who are comfortable on the ball and like to create things. These signings give us hope for the new season after going a number of seasons without a solid midfield.

commitment

It was a very good performance, not full of attacking invention or thrilling football, but a display with a lot of heart and commitment. However, for all the endeavour we were punished right the end of the game when Mark Hudson, not the one who stood on the centre circle and floated in the least dangerous corners of all time, scored a late winner.

That game displayed a number of things that you cannot necessary learn in preseason. Firstly, that we are light up front without Jordan Rhodes, that we are going to have to show commitment right up to the final whistle and that when they are presented we are going to have to take our chances, as the opportunities are a lot harder to come by in this league.

We then had an immediate chance to put what we had learnt into practice against Nottingham Forest, and in a way we actually did just about manage it.

Jordan Rhodes emphasised his importance by tucking away a last minute penalty, whilst also ensuring that our best chance was taken. In addition, the penalty was in the ninety forth minute so we also played right to the whistle. So Rhodes comes back, we play to the final whistle and we take our chances: problem solved!

Well not really. We were played off the park for large periods of the game and Forest deserved more than a draw, in the same way that we did not to deserve to lose on Friday night.

However, as much as we do need to learn from our mistakes, we cannot dwell on them, and we have a chance to win our first game against Burnley, in a game known to me only as the "Stan Ternent derby".

Burnley have plenty of good players and are well established in the league, so this will not be like stealing candy from a baby, perhaps more like trying to rob a small high street bank with reasonable security.

Anyway, the first few games will always be a learning process, and although I would like to see us register a few wins, it is still early enough for a few defeats and spirited draws to not be a significant problem.

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