Date:Monday April 9 2012
When Huddersfield appointed Simon Grayson as successor to Lee Clark, there was hope that the former Blackpool and Leeds boss could finally lift them out of League One, but so far his team have been plagued by the same old problems, as Charlie Johnson writes.
When you lose to a big rival it is inevitable that you will be disappointed, and over reactions will be par for the course.
Now personally I am a believer that defeat will hurt regardless, but the manner of the defeat will determine how long it hurts. Today we didn`t compete, didn`t create, and rarely troubled a team we needed to beat if we were to achieve our very unlikely goal of automatic promotion.
Huddersfield Town went down without a whimper today so defeat hurt far more than it would have if they had battled more or tried to play football in a creative and competitive manner.
At what point do you change tact when it becomes obvious that the opposition defenders are going to win every header? Surely, you realise before the game that a big lump to defenders who will head it away all day long is an act of pure futility.
However, this is now the hallmark of Huddersfield Town this season and it is something that Simon Grayson appears to have no interest in changing.
We appear to aim hopeful punts forward, bypassing a midfield, and as a result have become an incredibly predictable team to play against. As long as a team can pass neatly or compete well they will cause us problems.
This is a problem that needs addressing swiftly as we face up to another play off campaign, and to avoid disappointment we must adapt and change rather than allowing things to stay the same because that is safe and easy.
These problems ultimately cost Lee Clark his job, a decision that looks increasingly questionable. Now it looks questionable not because I think results under Lee Clark would have been hugely different, but because as I said at the time, a failure to gain promotion from the position we were in would forever taint the reputation of the new manager. If Simon Grayson doesn`t gain promotion this year, he will be under pressure early next season because he will be the manager who took us over in 3rd place with 16 games to go and still failed to get us up.
Now it is still common practice amongst Town fans to lay the current form at the door of Lee Clark, however this is punishing the father for the sins of the son. Clark brought in the players but Grayson has had time to change things tactically, and had a loan window to bring in a few players and has failed to truly utilise them as of yet.
I for one actually don`t think we have a bad squad, we just have a bloated squad that is hampered by a rigid system and a fear of actually trying anything different.
Now as much as Grayson is forced to play the players Clark signed, nobody is forcing him to play Antony Kay in midfield every game. Nobody is forcing him to play Lee Novak on the wing or to force the players to boot it long and look terrified anytime they receive the ball in the middle.
Now I would be happy to cut Grayson more slack if I saw the slightest indication that he was trying to change anything. I have unfortunately seen absolutely zero evidence to suggest that we will try and encourage the team to move the ball quicker, try and adapt to ask questions of our opposition or proof of reinvigorated players who were looking tired under the previous regime.
We are now comfortable in the play-offs with little to no chance of gaining automatic promotion so now is the time for Grayson to make changes to give us the best chance in the end of season lottery.
And anybody who suggests that a new manager cannot make significant changes merely has to look across to the opposite dugout where Dave Jones has made a few small changes at Wednesday and is now reaping the rewards.
In my view the manager must make some changes to attempt to turn things around. Firstly drop Kay from midfield. He looks so uncomfortable with the ball at his feet and other than clumsy tackling offers little in the middle of the park.
He must work on fitness as the players look flat as pancakes and appear to lack the fitness that pushes teams over the line. He must also bring Kallum Higginbotham back from Barnsley and put him in the team.
Before I get castigated for calling Higginbotham the solution, allow me to explain: he offers two things that we currently don`t have and desperately need, namely creativity and movement off he ball.
I have been embarrassed by how pathetically static our team is in possession and how easy it is to close us out of games because our players fail to pass and move and instead just stand rigidly making us easy to pick off and move away from and dominate. Players like Arfield, Arismendi and Higginbotham are capable of playing faster football and need to be allowed to do so.
Grayson needs to take the next games to make the changes that need making as we cannot always control results but we can control the performances, and get them right and we can compete to the end of the season and actually give us a chance in the play-offs.
I know for one that I would rather we made these changes and lost a few games before the play offs rather than keeping things the way they are and not giving us a better chance.
Our thanks to Charlie for this piece, now share your views in the comments section below, agree or disagree all opinions welcome!
You can find more of Charlie`s by following him on twitter @FootballCharlie.
Date:Monday April 9 2012
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Team News: Watford vs Huddersfield (Saturday August 30 2014)
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