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Moore apparently on the brink as Huddersfield head for QPR - Interview
Thursday, 25th Jan 2024 14:51 by Clive Whittingham

Huddersfield are already onto manager number two of the season, but our regular Terriers correspondent Brady Frost says the American owner's latest video diary has given the impression it's win or pack your bags for Darren Moore at Loftus Road this Sunday.

How's the season gone for Huddersfield?

Refreshingly familiar. We have a new owner, manager and players but the same old relegation-struggling team that should be in the bottom three yet they’re not because once again, there are somehow three teams worse than them. A team devoid of attacking quality until the recent January signings and that means they play bad football, look a bit flat and it’s hard to get behind.

However, the frustrating thing is they also weirdly don’t feel a million miles off, they’ve drawn the most games in the league (12), and done so without playing a recognised striker since early December until last weekend against Blackburn, so if they could have converted some of those draws into a win or two, they could be 16th in the table. Annoying.

Huddersfield in the league so far…
Plymouth 3-1 Huddersfield Whittaker 6, Mumba 73, Hardie 76 – Helik 45
Huddersfield 0-1 Leicester Mavididi 73
Boro 1-1 Huddersfield Hackney 61 – Fry og 47
Huddersfield 0-4 Norwich Sargent 11, Barnes pen 17, Rowe 48, Idah 84
West Brom 1-2 Huddersfield Swift 52 – Burgzorg 33, Rudoni 90
Huddersfield 2-0 Rotherham Koroma 18, Thomas 70
Huddersfield 2-2 Stoke Pearson 31, Rudoni 68 – Johnson 33, Wilmot 62
Coventry 1-1 Huddersfield Ayari 27 – Helik 90
Huddersfield 1-1 Ipswich Burgzorg 61 – Williams 87
Birmingham 4-1 Huddersfield Dembele 3, 64, Miyoshi 23, James 90 – Helik 90
Sheff Wed 0-0 Huddersfield
Huddersfield 2-1 QPR Harratt 8, Rudoni 8 – Clarke-Salter 42
Huddersfield 0-4 Cardiff Pearson og 2, Goutas 12, Meite 43, Ng 55
Leeds 4-1 Huddersfield James 20, 34, Summerville 35, 41 – Helik 71
Huddersfield 0-0 Watford
Hull 1-0 Huddersfield Delap 90
Huddersfield 1-1 Southampton Jackson 87 – A Armstrong 45
Sunderland 1-2 Huddersfield O’Nien 40 – Helik 28, Burgzorg 67
Swansea 1-1 Huddersfield Patino 90 – Cabango og 3
Huddersfield 1-1 Bristol City Burgzorg 24 – Conway 46
Huddersfield 1-3 Preston Ward 54 – Browne 3, Keane 39, Whiteman 66
Millwall 1-1 Huddersfield Norton-Cuffy 57 – Burgzorg pen 90
Norwich 2-0 Huddersfield McCallum 47, Sainz 73
Huddersfield 3-0 Blackburn Headley 28, Thomas 55, Burgzorg 68
Huddersfield 1-2 Boro Helik 60 – Coburn 54, Howson 84
Leicester 4-1 Huddersfield Cannon 40, 61, Pereira 47, Mavididi 77 – Helik 63
Huddersfield 1-1 Plymouth Koroma 38 – Whittaker 12
Blackburn 1-1 Huddersfield Wharton 7 – Helik 23

Darren Moore replaced Neil Warnock a month or so in - what did you make of the appointment and how's he done?

He’s had to deal with a lot of injuries that hit our first team quite badly and I think there are a lot of excuses you make for why it’s not been great, but it’s not been great. By all accounts and alluded to by our new American owner Kevin Nagle, if Darren Moore loses to QPR then he’s sacked.

If I’m honest, I feel for Darren Moore, he’s been given a bad hand and had to follow Neil Warnock who was loved by the fanbase after pulling off a miracle to keep us up last season, so in some ways it feels like he was on a hiding to nothing. Almost like he needed to be the guy after the guy. He’s also a complete contrast to Warnock, he doesn’t entertain you in press conferences or clap the fans, which annoys some but if I’m honest, no one cares about that stuff if you’re winning.

One win in... a long time. How are you playing? What sort of team can we expect at ours?

With our January additions, we look a bit better on the ball. Darren Moore is wedded to a 3-5-2 so having been doom and gloom as always, we can be quite solid defensively at times but a bit toothless in attack. If the previous game is anything to go by, where we had some of these new signings, we should have won against Blackburn based on the chances. For the game this weekend, it’s all about who scores first, if we do, we could win the game but if you score first, we’ll draw - which does nobody any favours.

Watching your American owner's video diary, he doesn't seem overly happy with the formation or the cautious nature of the team and seemed to suggest it's do or get the sack this weekend - what do you make of him and his comments?

Kevin Nagle has put his money where his mouth is and invested in the team, which it sorely needed. It seems like his heart is in the right place and the video diaries when he’s talking about the club’s infrastructure changes are quite refreshingly honest. Also, he’s financing the club so he can make those comments.

However, I don’t think his comments about the team or the tactics are good or helpful. It’s not his remit and, in my opinion, it undermines the manager. Nagle is lucky as well that Moore is the manager too, because he’s used to shenanigans from chairmen having dealt with Dejphon Chansiri during his time at Sheffield Wednesday. I don’t think many managers would take kindly to that and Neil Warnock didn’t when Kevin Nagle tweeted ‘unacceptable’ when we lost 4-0 to Norwich.

Football is about entertainment but if Moore does get sacked at the weekend, are there managers out there who would jump at the chance to work with an owner who’s going to tweet about the team when it’s a bad result or criticise your tactics in a video less than an hour after full-time? It feels like it’s pandering to fans for me, but he’s the owner so to a degree what he says goes.

Busier than most in January - what do you make of the new signings, what still needs doing?

We’ve signed two strikers which the team sorely needed in Rhys Healey and Bojan Radulović. Healey joined from Watford and he’s made 230 senior appearances and had 115 goal contributions in that time across spells in the French leagues and League One, League Two and the Championship so for a team like Town, I can’t see how they’d do much better. Radulović has joined from HJK Helsinki and the question is whether he can transition from the Finnish league to English football but 25 goals from 41 games is decent and he’s scored a few in the Europa Conference League so promising.

Radinio Balker, who we signed from FC Groningen, could make his debut in this game and the defender from the stats was one of the quickest players in the entire Eredivisie and looks comfortable on the ball, which Town need as our defence is slooooowww. Elsewhere, Alex Matos has joined from Chelsea on loan and looks promising, he loves a tackle and goes flying in, so watch out for that.

In terms of what we need, I’d argue a creative player who can play that final ball, a midfielder or a creative winger. We struggle to create chances which is only going to be more frustrating if we’ve got two strikers who have shown they can score elsewhere.

Summer Ins >>> Ben Wiles, 24, CM, Rotherham, Undisclosed >>> Chris Maxwell, 32, GK, Blackpool, Free >>> Tom Edwards, 24, RB, Stoke, Free >>> Delano Burgzorg, 24, LW, Mainz

Summer Outs >>> Etienne Camara, 20, DM, Udinese, £1.8m >>> Ryan Schofield, 23, GK, Pompey, Free >>> Matty Daly, 22, AM, Harrogate, Free >>> Romoney Crichlaw, 24, CB, Peterborough, Free >>> Danny Grant, 23, RW, Bohemians, Free >>> Duane Holmes, 28, AM, Preston, Undisclosed >>> Will Boyle, 27, CB, Wrexham, Undisclosed >>> Nicholas Bilokapic, 20, GK, Peterborough, Undisclosed >>> Tyreece Simpson, 21, CF, Northampton, Loan >>> Tomas Vaclik, 34, GK, New England Rev, Free >>> Florian Kamberi, 28, CF, Released >>> Rolando Aarons, 27, LW, Released >>> Scott High, 22, CM, Ross County, Loan >>> Jordan Rhodes, 33, CF, Blackpool, Loan >>> Connor Mahoney, 26, RW, Gillingham, Loan >>> Kieran Phillips, 23, CF, Shrewsbury, Loan >>> Tyreece Simpson, 21, CF, Northampton, Loan >>> Aaron Rowe, 21, RB, Crewe, Loan >>> Brodie Spencer, 19, RB, Motherwell, Loan

Winter Ins >>> Rhys Healey, 29, CF, Watford, £2m >>> Bojan Radulovic, 24, CF, Helsinki, £1m >>> Radinio Balker, 25, CB, Groningen, £1m >>> Alex Matos, 19, AM, Chelsea, Loan

Winter Outs >>> Rarmani Edmonds-Green, 25, CB, Charlton, Undisclosed >>> Josh Austerfeld, 22, CM, Crewe, Loan

Stand out players in the team?

Michał Helik has been crucial to us as he loves defending but this season, he loves scoring too and has eight goals. He’s been fantastic and linked with Leicester City. Sorba Thomas is one the few players you can point to and say he’s improved under Darren Moore. He’s playing for the manager and works so hard and is still great at set pieces and crosses into the box. Brodie Spencer has come back from Motherwell and he’s only played three games since but has looked pretty fantastic too.

Weak links?

We’re slow in defence as mentioned so if you’ve got the pace to get in behind, that’s a concern. We’re also trying to be more of a possession-based team but we can give the ball away in dangerous areas as a result. Finally, before these two strikers came in, we were struggling to score goals so although they’re in the door, it’s hard to see that changing overnight.

Will you stay up or not?

No idea to be honest, I think it has as much to do with QPR and Sheffield Wednesday and whether they can string another good run together. Huddersfield play Wednesday after this and to be honest, they need to win this game and that one. If they beat both, then yes I think we can probably plod along after that as we’d only need a point per game to hit the famous 50-point mark. If not, then it’s hard to see where the points come from, not only that but we’ve handed Wednesday and QPR a massive boost too. These really are season-defining games, let’s see what happens.

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

The Twitter @brady0894, @takesthatchance, @loftforwords

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TacticalR added 22:59 - Jan 27
Thanks to Brady.

At the moment it looks like it's either us or Huddersfield who will end up in the third relegation spot at the end of the season. Huddersfield are in as bad form as us, with the same goal-scoring problem as us. We'll see tomorrow whether their new strikers have solved their problem.

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