· Karlan Grant scores from the penalty spot for the second successive game to give Town the lead away to QPR.
· Grant Hall heads past Kamil Grabara 7 minutes from time to grab the hosts a deserved equaliser.
· Huddersfield Town head coach Jan Siewert is, “incredibly proud of the lads because it’s a deserved point.”
· QPR manager Mark Warburton said, “We felt we dropped two points.”
I want to start this blog by acknowledging how disappointing the past week or so has been for Huddersfield Town fans. After the loss to Derby and the last-minute departure of Aaron Mooy there has been a distinct air of negativity hovering over the fans.
Many supporters – myself included in this blog – have opted for the glass half empty approach rather than looking for the positives. To address this I’ve decided to view Saturday’s draw away to QPR as a good result, here’s why.
A day of firsts
When was the last time you remember Town playing poorly and picking up a result? You probably have to go back to the last time we were in the Championship, as every mistake was ruthlessly punished in the Premier League.
Turn the clock back 10 months and Town fans were constantly bemoaning the club’s bad luck. Despite good performances and encouraging displays we always seemed to lose, either because of a piece of brilliance from an opposition player, or more often than not a defensive misstep.
Make no mistakes about Huddersfield’s performance on Saturday, it was poor, very poor. Yet the players still emerged from the game with something to show for their efforts, something which has not been the case for years.
Of course it’s a signal of what we already knew, that the Championship is a clear drop down in quality compared to the Premier League. But for the players it is a sign that they are good enough to compete at this level – a confidence boost they were in desperate need of.
On the evidence of this game, Jan Siewert’s side know that they can stay in tight games even when things are not going their way. Even when their manager appears to be losing the tactical battle, which did happen on Saturday.
Sure, not losing is hardly going to excite anyone or get the fans off Jan Siewert’s back, but it hints towards a small sliver of progress. One that the team will be keen to continue when they host Fulham in their next Championship game.
Now that we’ve hit our positivity quota for the week, let’s turn our attentions to a few things that stood out from the weekend and caused us concern.
Steve to the rescue
If you’re a long-time reader of TerrierBlog you’ll be shocked at what I’m about to write, but bear with me… We need Steve Mounie back in the team and we absolutely must not sell him to a European club (as has been rumoured.)
Why? Because Karlan Grant isn’t quite ready to lead the line on his own just yet and combine his eye for goal with the dirty side of the game. Despite scoring twice in two games, Grant has been somewhat of a peripheral figure for Town in those matches.
As part of his role as the lone striker, he has been asked to not only score goals but to harry defenders, move into channels and protect the ball. On his performances so far, those extra roles seem to have inhibited his goal threat from open play.
If Steve Mounie returns to the team, he can take some of the weight off of Grant’s shoulders and create space for the exciting forward to exploit. Although if rumours are to be believed, it will be Frazier Campbell rather than Steve Mounie tasked with that job.
As neither a fan of Hull City nor a former West End player I admit to not knowing an awful lot about Campbell. However I doubt he possesses the physical presence of Mounie or the ability to occupying the centre-backs as well as the Beninese striker.
On Saturday Town winger Rajiv Van La Parra took to Instagram to tell fans that he was not injured and that he had been omitted from Jan Siewert’s squad. His post was subsequently liked by a number of senior Town players.
I don’t want to get into conjecture and make more of this post than is necessary, but I am worried at VLP’s side-lining. The Dutch winger has often split opinions at Town, but here at TerrierBlog we have always admired his style of play, effort and dedication.
In our promotion season and the subsequent survival campaign he was a vital cog in a well-oiled machine. Many complained about his lack of end product, but his game was about so much more than that.
As a skill full player he provided Town with a terrific outlet when their backs were up against the wall. With the drop of a shoulder and a quick burst of pace VLP could take Town from defence to attack in seconds.
Off the ball he was even more impressive. I have genuinely yet to see another player put in the effort of VLP in a Town shirt. I’m not talking about the playing to the gallery effort of players like Bacuna and Zanka who hurtle into challenges and sprint 10 yards after a ball they know is going out of play.
I’m talking about the actual effort and running that helps you to win games. How often would VLP sprint 60 or 70 yards down the flank to dispossess an overlapping winger? How many times would he chase a full-back in-field to recover the ball?
As an amateur full-back, VLP would be my dream winger. I could give him the ball under pressure and be confident that he wouldn’t lose it. On top of that I’d never have to worry that he’d leave his full-back free or shirk his defensive duties.
Yes his end product has never been great, but his value to the team in general is massive and Jan Siewert is missing a trick by not including him. Had Raj have played on Saturday Town may not have found themselves penned into their own-half for much of the second period.
Perhaps he will feature at home to Lincoln in the cup, hopefully if he does he can show Siewert exactly what he’s been missing.
That rather succinctly brings us to the end of today’s blog with our next instalment being an opinion piece about the threat of an upset against Lincoln on Tuesday night.
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