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Now for the big finish? - Interview
Wednesday, 13th Apr 2022 15:00 by Clive Whittingham

If you reckon you saw Huddersfield’s assault on the promotion race coming this season then I’m calling bullshit – Brady Frost from the And He Takes That Chance Podcast is here to explain how it’s happened and whether the Terriers will see it through

Huddersfield one of the big surprises for me, given how you finished last season and the summer recruitment I thought you'd struggle so... How would you assess your season?

It’s been fantastic. We were abysmal last season, particularly in the second half but even the most optimistic Town fans weren’t expecting the season we’ve had so far. We’ve had just two defeats in 21 league games, we’re currently third in the table and we’ve got players who are giving it their all for the club, what more could you want?

Have you been surprised by how well it's gone?

Absolutely. I predicted a sixteenth place finish and I was being positive. Manager Carlos Corberan seems to have learnt so much from the previous season, brought in more players to play to his methods and it’s just clicked. Would I be disappointed if we missed out on the playoffs now? Definitely. But this has been a great season and one of the happiest I’ve had supporting Huddersfield Town in many years.

Terriers’ league results thus far…
Derby 1-1 Huddersfield Davies 39 – Sarr 45
Huddersfield 1-5 Fulham Pearson 41 – Mitrovic 9, Onomah 37, Carvalho 42, Cavaleiro 78, 90
Huddersfield 1-0 Preston Berg og 74
Sheff Utd 1-2 Huddersfield Sharp 90 – Koroma 75, Colwill 90
Huddersfield 4-0 Reading O’Brien 39, Pearson 51, Thomas 66, Ward 68
Stoke 2-1 Huddersfield Brown 50, Pearson og 63 – Toffolo 47
Blackpool 0-3 Huddersfield Koroma 48, Pearson 54, Hogg 62
Huddersfield 0-2 Forest Grabban 22, Nicholls og 48
Swansea 1-0 Huddersfield Piroe 17
Huddersfield 3-2 Blackburn Vallejo 36, Ward 60, 84 – Brereton 57, pen 65
Luton 0-0 Huddersfield
Huddersfield 2-0 Hull Lees 9, Holmes 73
Huddersfield 0-0 Birmingham
Bournemouth 3-0 Huddersfield Solanke pen 10, 21, Kelly 64
Huddersfield 1-0 Millwall Hogg 82
Peterborough 1-1 Huddersfield Harris 84 - Ward 74
Cardiff 2-1 Huddersfield Moore 74, 90 – Sinani 12
Huddersfield 1-0 West Brom Sinani 6
QPR 1-0 Huddersfield Amos 82
Huddersfield 1-2 Middlesbrough Daniels og 90 – Watmore 16, 23
Barnsley 1-1 Huddersfield Morris 45 – O’Brien 33
Huddersfield 1-1 Coventry Ward 18 – Godden 90
Bristol City 2-3 Huddersfield Weimann 2, 90 – Holmes 41, Sinani 46, Ward 55
Huddersfield 3-2 Blackpool Ward 3, Thomas 80, 84 – Yates 1, Madine 18
Forest 0-1 Huddersfield Holmes 30
Blackburn 0-0 Huddersfield
Huddersfield 1-1 Swansea Sinani 15 – Downes 78
Reading 3-4 Huddersfield Joao 5, Puscas 22, Morrison 45 – Sinani 9, Ward 15, 25, 53
Huddersfield 1-1 Stoke Koroma 27 – Brown 78
Huddersfield 2-0 Derby Holmes 74, Rhodes 79
Preston 0-0 Huddersfield
Huddersfield 0-0 Sheff Utd
Fulham 1-2 Huddersfield Reid 82 – Ward 31, Holmes pen 43
Huddersfield 2-1 Cardiff Koroma 88, 90 – Doyle 61
Birmingham 0-2 Huddersfield Colwill 27, O’Brien 44
Huddersfield 3-0 Peterborough Sinani 3, Lees 7, 72
West Brom 2-2 Huddersfield Grant pen 84, Carroll 85 – Ward 24, 74
Millwall 2-0 Huddersfield Afobe 27, 57
Huddersfield 0-3 Bournemouth Anthony 19, Lerma 31, Solanke 46
Hull 0-1 Huddersfield Toffolo 79
Huddersfield 2-0 Luton Russell 59, Sarr 89

What have been the keys to the success?

The signings. We’ve spent nothing in transfer fees on the players we’ve brought in and they’ve been shrewd additions. Lee Nicholls has been a revelation in goal and I’d be amazed if he’s not in the team of the season. Eyebrows will raise when I say this but it’s been as transformative to Huddersfield’s defence as Alisson was to Liverpool. I’m not comparing the players, but the effect it has on the team has been similar in terms of what it’s brought to presence. Tom Lees, Matty Pearson and Levi Colwill were new additions that have brought stability to the back which as a result is putting less pressure on our attacking players to score two or three goals to win matches. For our attacking threat, we are a nuisance at set-pieces thanks to Sorba Thomas’ deliveries into the box.

The squad as a whole has improved and we have much more depth when injuries crop up that it doesn’t affect the quality of starting XI, which hampered the team a lot last season. You also have to give credit to the manager, so far he seems to have learned from his mistakes last season and is more used to the unpredictable nature of the Championship and the players have had more time to work on his philosophy and style of play.

Little bit of a wobble last few games (prior to Luton), how's the mood coming into our game?

I think the wobble has been potentially blown out of proportion than it may prove to be. We were well beaten by Millwall away and we won’t be the first or last team to have that happen to them. The home defeat to Bournemouth was disappointing as we were soundly beaten but sometimes you’ve got to hold your hands up and admit you were outclassed on the day and the giants in the league will beat you. They have a record-signing £25m midfielder playing while our most expensive midfielder in the team was Jonathan Hogg, who cost us 400k, nine years ago - it’s amazing we’re even competing with them at the top of the table when you consider the difference in financial resources. The home win against Luton Town earlier this was huge and regardless of what happens for the rest of the season, it proved we can bounce back and deserve to be where are in the playoff places.

Will you see this through to promotion?

Now, this is the difficult one, who knows what will happen with the playoffs but you’d say there are six teams and four spots available at the time of writing. Nottingham Forest is the one that scares me out of all the teams but last time we went up, we were dreading playing Fulham and then Reading knocked them out in the other semi-final. I have no idea if I’m honest, I’d say I’m not as confident about actual promotion, let’s just enjoy the last few games and see what happens.

Presumably the manager's stock is high among supporters? Fears he could be poached somewhere else if you don't go up?

I’ve been asked this a few times and never say never but it’s hard to see at the moment. Two reasons, we’re a small club which means Carlos Corberan can put more of his authority on things, whether that’s the style of play going from the first team to the B Team, to the younger age groups and he’s been involved in the players’ diets, all these meticulous details that he wouldn’t be guaranteed somewhere else. Also, as much as this season has been amazing, it’s only been one season where’s he has shown his capabilities and his previous season (for many reasons arguably outside of his control) was a poor season so you could argue it’s still too early for another team to judge.

Stock questions… What business did you do in January? What did you need to do?

Three signings came in, Jamal Blackman, a backup keeper - enough said. Carel Eiting, who was a loanee last season and has signed a six-month deal and Tino Anjorin, another much-hyped youngster on loan from Chelsea. There was a lot of excitement about these two and they’ve not really made an impact yet with the team. There are still a few games to go so hopefully they feature more as you’d argue there are on paper, two of the more technical players in the squad but I think it’s a testament to the Starting XI that they’ve kept their places.

Summer Ins: >>> Josh Ruffels, 27, LB, Oxford, Free >>> Lee Nicholls, 28, GK, MK Dons, Free >>>Matty Pearson, 27, CB, Luton, Free >>> Tom Lees, 30, CB, Sheff Wed, Free >>> Jordan Rhodes, 31, CF, Sheff Wed, Free >>> Ollie Turton, 28, RB, Blackpool, Free >>> Levi Colwill, 18, CB, Chelsea, Loan >>> Danel Sinani, 24, AM, Norwich, Loan >>> Mipo Odubeko, 18, CF, West Ham, Loan

Summer Outs: >>> Juninho Bacuna, 24, CM, Rangers, £2m >>> Jaden Brown, 22, LB, Sheff Wed, Free >>> Christopher Schindler, 31, CB, Nuremburg, Free >>> Jayson Leutwiler, 32, GK, Oldham, Free >>> Alex Pritchard, 28, AM, Sunderland, Free >>> Richard Keogh, 34, CB, Blackpool, Free >>> Isaac Mbenza, 25, CF, Qatar SC, Free >>> Yaya Sanogo, 28, CF, Released >>> Richard Stearman, 33, CB, Derby, Free >>> Christopher Schindler, 31, CB, Nuremberg, Free >>> Jaden Brown, 22, LB< Sheff Wed, Free >>> Tommy Elphick, 33, CB, Released >>> Oumar Niasse, 31, CF, Released >>> Demeaco Duhaney, 22, RB, Released >>> Rarmani Edmonds-Green, 22, CB, Rotherham, Loan

Winter Ins >>> Carel Eiting, 23, DM, Genk, Free >>> Jamal Blackman, 28, GK, LAFC, Free >>> Tino Anjorin, 20, AM, Chelsea, Loan

Winter Outs >>> Romoney Crichlow, 22, CB, Plymouth, Loan >>> Reece Brown, 25, CM, Peterborough, Loan >>> Matty Daly, 20, AM, Bradford, Loan >>> Kieran Phillips, 21, CF, Exeter, Loan >>> Nicholas Bilokapic, 19, GK, Hartlepool, Loan

Stand out players/player of the season candidates?

Lee Nicholls for the reasons mentioned previously. Tom Lees has been amazing given he arrived with a poor reputation from Sheffield Wednesday. Lewis O’Brien who looks like a Premier League player when you see the numbers he’s putting up. Sorba Thomas is probably the story of the season when I don’t know if you’d heard this, but he was playing non-league in January 2021.

Weak links in the side?

Danny Ward has been a fantastic striker this season but we can look blunt in attack when he’s not playing. I think the midfield has been an issue at times when playing certain sides but it’s hard to pick out many weaknesses at the moment. The only thing I would add is although the squad depth in this team is much better this year, it’s still not at the levels of the other teams in playoff contention like Sheffield United, Forest etc which could make a difference in games but we’ll wait and see.

Links >>> Official website >>> Ground Guide >>> Down at the Mac – Forum >>> And he Takes That Chance – Podcast

The Twitter @brady0894, @takesthatchance, @loftforwords

Pictures – Action Images

Action Images

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TacticalR added 13:46 - Apr 18
Thanks to Brady.

It looks like Corberán was a good find and has shown the benefit of not looking for the same old managers in the usual places.

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