A season of two halves - Interview
Thursday, 11th Mar 2021 17:10 by Clive Whittingham
Huddersfield were flying when they comprehensively beat QPR in West Yorkshire in December, but have fallen off a cliff since Christmas. We spoke to Brady Frost from the And He Takes That Chance podcast to find out why.
How has Huddersfield’s season gone?
2020 and 2021 for Huddersfield Town have almost been complete opposites in some respects. On the December 31, we were sat in 12th place just six points of the playoffs. New manager Carlos Corberán had implemented some stylish football and after predicting The Terriers to finish 21st in our pre-season predictions, I was very happy to be proven wrong.
In contrast, 2021 hasn’t been a good year for Huddersfield so far, with just the one win, albeit a great 4-1 win against Swansea. Our squad has been ravaged by injuries due to the condensed fixture schedule and Corberán’s intense training methods which means our bench is full of youngsters of which some haven’t played more than 90 minutes of Championship football in total.
Since we last played QPR, we’ve seen more stylish football, but the same frustrations of individual errors and inconsistency remaining. The new style means it will take time for the players to adapt and it’s clear the club is going to bring more young players through, so it’s going to be a season where we will have to be patient but if this loss of form continues then we’re in big trouble. I expect us to narrowly stay up which is disappointing given how consistent we were in the first half of last season.
Huddersfield league results so far…
When we last met you played us off the park, mood seemed quite good, new contract for the manager, and then it's gone rather off a cliff since Christmas - why?
As highlighted, the squad depth is just isn’t good enough in my opinion. We have had key injuries to Josh Koroma, who was our top scorer at the time, Christopher Schindler and the replacements haven’t done a good enough job but like I said, they’re either kids who have just been in the B Team and not played at this level before or just aren’t Championship level anymore.
What’s most frustrating about this season is that we’ve lost 24 points from winning positions in the league, so it feels like you’re not far off. However, when you look at the starting XI across defence, midfield and attack there are a few errors here and there, so that all culminates into a bigger problem. The main one has to be defence, we’re shipping goals and only Wycombe have conceded more in the league than us. If you combine that with how it is for us to score and then you gift goals so easily, it just grates on you.
Where is the general consensus landing on the manager and this style adjustment now then?
Currently going through this horrific run in 2021, a few people have started to question the manager and whether he’s good enough, that’s their opinion and Carlos Corberán has definitely been too stubborn at times or stuck with the same people when the squad needed a change. However, Danny Cowley barely kept the team up last year with a much better squad, although there are certain caveats to that, given when he took over we looked like doing a Sunderland.
Corberán’s style is great when it works but I don’t think he has the right personnel to deliver it, it’s clear we’re trying to copy Leeds United but Richard Keogh is not a player you’d associate with that style. In the last two games since Yaya Sanogo has come in, we’ve changed tactics and gone a bit more direct, so you’d have to credit him for changing things up so I think more fans have gravitated back towards rooting for him. I think most Huddersfield Town fans would agree that whether you think he’s the right man or not, he’s not really been backed well enough. This summer, we have a lot of the high wage earners out of contract, so it’ll be a massive transfer window that will decide things to be honest.
How's QPR legend Richard Keogh doing for you?
Poor bloke! He’s been ok. He was brought in as cover because we only had two young centre backs and several injuries in the centre of defence but we’re still shipping goals, although you could sit any defender in there and I don’t think he would have done much better. He’s only joined until the end of the season and I don’t think he’ll stay beyond that, it wasn’t an exciting signing but since Corberán has adapted his style recently, we have looked better defensively but one swallow doesn’t make a summer.
Other than that sweet prince, what other business was done in January and how did you rate it?
We signed some promising youngsters for our B Team and brought in Rolando Aarons and Duane Holmes. The recruitment policy at the moment for Huddersfield Town seems to be let’s sign former players. I think Holmes is a good signing and makes sense. The real model of the club’s recruitment to entice players seems to be that we’re the club to rebuild your career or if you’re young, this is the place to make your breakthrough and while that’s not a bad policy, it’s been executed poorly recently.
We’ve signed injury-prone players and are expecting them to stay fit when there is a condensed fixture schedule and as mentioned, Corberán is known for intense training methods, so when they break down, it seems odd that the club are surprised. We were crying out for a striker all window and on deadline day, messed up several targets. Since then, we have brought in free agent Yaya Sanogo who missed a penalty against Cardiff but had a good game before that. The recruitment team we have at the club has a bad reputation anyway after the second season in the Premier League, so I don’t think people were expecting much.
Summer Ins >>> Pipa, 22, RB, Espanyol, £630k >>> Danny Ward, 28, CF, Cardiff, Free >>> Naby Sarr, 27, CB, Charlton, Free >>> Alex Vallejo, 28, DM, Unattached, Free >>> Joel Pereira, 24, GK, Man Utd, Loan >>> Carol Eiting, 22, DM, Ajax, Loan
Summer Outs >>> Karlan Grant, 23, CF, West Brom, £14m >>> Steve Mounie 25, CF, Brest, £4.3m >>> Ramadan Sobhi, 23, LW, Pyramids FC (Egypt, not kidding), £4.3m >>> Terence Kongolo, 26, CB, Fulham, £3.9m >>> Jon Goren-Stankovic, 24, CB, Sturm Graz, Free >>> Herbert Bockhorn, 25, RB, Bochum, Free >>> Reece Brown, 24, CM, Peterborough, Loan >>> Joel Coleman, 24, GK, Fleetwood, Loan >>> Elias Kachunga, 28, CF, Sheff Wed, Free >>> Danny Simpson, 33, RB, Released >>> Collin Quaner, 29, CF, Released
Winter Ins >>> Duane Holmes, 26, RW, Derby, Undisclosed >>> Richard Keogh, 34, CB, MK Dons, Undisclosed >>> Rolando Arrons, 25, LW, Newcastle, Free >>> Danny Grant, 21, RW, Bohemians, Free >>> Jayson Leutwiler, 31, GK, Fleetwood, Free >>> Yaya Sonogo, 28, CF, Unattached, Free
Winter Outs >>> Adama Diakhaby, 24, LW, Amiens, Undisclosed >>> Florent Hadergjonaj, 26, RB, Kasimpasa (Turkey), Undsiclosed >>> Ben Hamer, 33, GK, Swansea, Undisclosed
Where is the team strong and where is it weak?
The defence as mentioned, although we got our first clean sheet in 14 games against Cardiff. We are also struggling to score, so when you combine the two it’s no wonder we’re down near the bottom of the league. On our day, we can give most teams in this league a great game but our day hasn’t been for quite some time.
How do you see the rest of the season going?
I think Huddersfield will stay up but that’s more because the league has been poor this season and there are worse teams than us. It’s disappointing that the season has panned out this way and fans have criticised the board and chairman for letting it get like this. Next season is a huge one for Huddersfield Town because if it’s more false promises and we’re stuck in another relegation battle, I think there could be serious uproar but we’ll wait and see what is in store.
The Twitter @brady0894, @takesthatchance, @loftforwords
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