Huddersfield Town’s FA Cup journey this year has ended in much the same way that it always does. There was to be no upset on the South coast as a resurgent Southampton ran out comfortable 2-0 winners over a ramshackle looking Town team.
In this article our chief writer John looks at the main talking points from Saturday’s game, discusses the state of the Danny Cowley’s squad and also looks toward potential transfer rumours…
To lose any game is frustrating, but there is perhaps a sense of acceptance amongst Huddersfield fans, that we never do well in the cups. Personally I adore the FA Cup and dream of the possibility of Town making it at least past the fifth-round.
As a wide-eyed child I always looked to the tournament as a source of excitement, as the potential vehicle for my local team to get the national coverage that I believed it deserved.
Barring a late Chris Brandon winner against Birmingham City, there hasn’t really been that much for Town fans to cheer in the competition. Yes there was Gary Taylor-Fletcher's strike and the Alan Lee header, but cup runs have been in short supply in this particular area of West Yorkshire.
(Grainy BBC highlight's of Town's 2-1 win over Premier League Birmingham City in 2008.)
Bearing that in mind – and of course, our latest performance in the league – I didn’t expect anything from this cup tie against Southampton. True to form, Town held up their end of the bargain just fine by losing, quite respectably, 2-0 to Premier League opposition.
With the current state of our squad, the differences in standing between the two sides and the recent form of Southampton, defeat was to be expected. The ever elusive cup run will have to wait for yet another year as the club focuses on something much, much more important.
Improving The Squad
At 2pm every Saturday I log onto my Twitter account and search out the @htafc handle to find out the starting eleven. Working out the formation usually takes a few moments as I try to make sense of the account’s unfathomable decision to order the players numerically rather than by position or in some semblance of a formation.
This Saturday however I felt like giving the club’s account a break as it was near impossible to work out who was playing where. Such is the sparsity of our current playing squad that we barely have one player for each position, let alone the ideal two.
After staring at the names on the team sheet and taking in the amount of shirt numbers well over twenty it dawned on me how good a job the Cowley brothers are actually doing at Town.
When the duo arrived from Lincoln we were marooned in the relegation zone with just a solitary point to our name. Since then we have accrued a further 27 points and find ourselves 5 points clear of the drop.
That improvement has come about despite half of our squad being unavailable through either injury or over-inflated egos.
Realising that put things into perspective for me somewhat, of course it is disappointing to exit the cup in the same week as suffering a hammering at home to Stoke but, all things considered though, it is a miracle that we are where we are with such a small and technically limited squad.
The current miracle can’t last forever though, which brings me on to my final point…
The Transfer Window
Former Town gaffer Lee Clark once claimed that we Huddersfield Town fans ‘love a transfer’. Whilst that may have been a rather obvious way to publically excuse his cheque-book style of management, there was more than an element of truth in the comment. We do love a transfer.
At the time of writing there has been no official news of any incomings at the John Smith’s Stadium, despite hopes that at least one new signing would have been announced prior to the Southampton game.
This has led to the revival of the ‘Potless Phil’ rumours which we rebuked HERE back in September.
Whilst those rumours are quite clearly false and unfair on our chairman, you can kind of understand the frustration of fans.
We are currently mired in a relegation battle with only a dozen or so first-team players to choose from. Couple this with the club’s catastrophic transfer policy of recent years and it’s very easy to work yourself up into a state of high anxiety.
Despite this we have been assured by both Cowley and those within the club that we are working very hard indeed to bring in new players. Premier League loans have been mentioned once again, although there seems to be no concrete rumours about who exactly we might be signing.
Rhian Brewster, Leon Clarke and Matej Vydra have all been linked with loan moves to Town in recent weeks.
(Young Liverpool forward Rhian Brewster has been linked with a loan move to Town, although several other Championship clubs are intersted in the player.)
In terms of permanent signings anyone who has ever played under the Cowley’s before seems to have been linked to Town, along with a list of other relatively unheard of lower league players.
The rumours thus far are hardly likely to send the club store’s shirt printing team into overdrive, but at this point, we don’t need any big-name signings.
We are in a relegation battle and all we need is numbers to help and potentially augment the current playing squad. If you’re holding out hope for a marquee signing, prepare to be disappointed.
The club will be looking more toward the market that Elvis Manu and Karim Matmour came from to help us over the line in the second half of the season, rather than the expensive world of Ligue 1 flops.
If we do manage to stave of relegation, the true rebuilding job will get underway in the summer when the Cowley’s take charge of their first pre-season at the club.
Make sure to check back with TerrierBlog over the coming days as we will be the first to let you know if we hear of any movement on transfer incomings. Until then, enjoy a working week without having to worry about Huddersfield Town.
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