After last season’s heart stopping final day, where at one point Huddersfield Town were going down with 57 points, this season is by far a more enjoyable experience!
Manager Mark Robins is showing himself to be a very adept manager, making some quality signings while also making good tactical decisions and substitutions to affect games. The recent 1-0 win against FA Cup holders Wigan Athletic showed his acumen as a manager. With his side being overrun, he took off Nakhi Wells and brought on Danny Ward, thus changing his attack from two strikers to one, and bringing the wingers into the game. Five minutes from time, a stunning strike from Adam Clayton sealed the points, and cemented Town’s place in midtable.
As for his transfer dealings, Robins has made some exciting signings, most notably that of Bradford City starlet Wells. The 23-year-old has been a key part of The Bantams’ revival in recent seasons, playing a pivotal part in their sensational League Cup run and playoff Promotion last season. He has cost Town an “undisclosed club record fee” (our previous record is £1.2m) and has made a decent start to life in the Blue & White, scoring in his first two appearances and showing signs of his potential.
Also joining in the winter window is Joe Lolley, the forward widely regarded as the hottest prospect in non league football. Signed from Kidderminster for £250,000 plus add-ons, he is definitely one for the future. He turned down Peterborough United to move to West Yorkshire, and when you consider Posh’s track record with non league players, Town fans should be very excited about this young man.
Of course, the biggest success story for Robins has been the permanent signing of James Vaughan. Previous manager Simon Grayson initially signed the former Everton man on loan for last season, and Robins made the deal permanent last summer. Vaughan has been fantastic in Town’s attack, scoring fourteen goals last season – his best ever return both in terms of goals and appearances – and has hit a dozen so far this campaign. He is now refinding his form and fitness after a spell out injured. His return for the run in could be crucial for the club’s outside hopes of a playoff push.
It is often described as the “difficult second season” but so far for Town, it is looking to be a season of midtable safety and after four heart attack inducing seasons, I for one couldn’t be happier! We are currently ten points off the top six, and thirteen clear of the drop, so in terms of season-on-season progress, it is fantastic.
In chairman Dean Hoyle – a lifelong Town fan and season ticket holder – we have the best possible leader for our club, and the entire hierarchy at the club points to slow and steady progress. We are unlikely to overspend like we have under previous regimes, instead trying to pick up young talented players, and eventually bring through our own academy products.
It is a very good time to be a fan of Huddersfield Town, and I am excited for what the future holds.
Written by James Bartaby, We Are Going Up’s Huddersfield Town blogger
James tweets at @jamesb5374