The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Dave Good­er­ham By Luke Baker

AN ‘OPEN fo­rum’ in the man­ager’s of­fice helped Hud­der­s­field Town achieve their first clean sheet of the sea­son at Mick McCarthy’s mis­fir­ing Ip­swich Town.

Chris Pow­ell held hon­est dis­cus­sions with his de­fen­sive play­ers to try and halt the er­rors that have been an un­wanted fea­ture of their sea­son.

And it paid div­i­dends with a goal­less draw at Ip­swich – even if striker James Vaughan’s late send­ing off, af­ter re­turn­ing from a two-month in­jury lay-off, put a dark cloud on a res­o­lute per­for­mance.

Vaughan was sent off af­ter throw­ing the ball in the face of Ip­swich left-back Jonas Knud­sen fol­low­ing an al­ter­ca­tion over a throw in.

De­lighted with the point, Pow­ell couldn’t hide his dis­ap­point­ment over the re­ac­tion of his re­turn­ing striker mak­ing only his sec­ond ap­pear­ance of a stut­ter­ing sea­son.

Pow­ell said: “Vaughan has let him­self down. He has worked hard to get back into the squad and he was ac­tu­ally close to start­ing.

“But with two or three min­utes to go, he has to man­age the sit­u­a­tion and not get in­volved.

“He has come in and apol­o­gised to me and the group but we are now go­ing to lose him again – and we will miss him. He will have to work hard to get back into the squad.”

Re­veal­ing the se­cret of a muchim­proved de­fen­sive dis­play, Pow­ell added: “I had all the goal­keep­ers and de­fend­ers in my of­fice to look at the goals we have con­ceded and where we could im­prove.

“To a point, there was an open fo­rum as I wanted them to take re­spon­si­bil­ity. I was pleased with the re­sponse and the clean sheet.”

In ad­di­tion to a stronger de­fen­sive dis­play, Hud­der­s­field posed the greater goal threat in a drab first half.

Ish­mael Miller was a par­tic­u­lar hand­ful and his flick teed up strike part­ner Nahki Wells who did well to lift the ball over Dean Gerken, but Christophe Berra got back to clear off the line.

Ip­swich, now win­less in five af­ter a storm­ing start to the Cham­pi­onship, im­proved af­ter the restart and Jonathan Dou­glas was un­lucky to see a header land just over the cross­bar. In the end, both sides were in­debted to their keep­ers for en­sur­ing a point apiece was taken home.

Gerken showed great re­ac­tions to push away Emyr Huws’ pow­er­ful drive through a sea of bod­ies be­fore Hud­der­s­field keeper Jed Steer was equally alert, sav­ing David McGoldrick’s ten-yard snap­shot with his legs.

Home fans are grow­ing rest­less fol­low­ing one win in eight for the Trac­tor Boys.

But McCarthy, who largely kept faith with his un­der­per­form­ing side, be­lieves a re­turn to form is close af­ter win­ning the bat­tles in the trenches.

“Ev­ery­one has a dif­fer­ent team in their head but I didn’t want any knee-jerk re­ac­tion,” said McCarthy.

“I think it was a game of two halves. We were quite good in the sec­ond half and not so good in the first half.

“Both keep­ers made great saves so I think a draw was prob­a­bly the right re­sult.

“It was good to get a clean sheet and our re­ac­tion in the sec­ond half was pos­i­tive. We were back to be­ing our com­pet­i­tive best by not al­low­ing them to play and I think we won our per­sonal bat­tles in the end.

“On a dif­fer­ent day, we would have won 1-0 but that is not quite hap­pen­ing for us at this mo­ment in time.

“When things are go­ing badly, I know I am not go­ing to be flavour of the month and nor are the play­ers. We just have to work hard to change their taste­buds.” THINGS ap­pear to be get­ting bleaker ev­ery week for Northamp­ton off the field, but chair­man David Car­doza is adamant bet­ter times are just around the cor­ner.

On Thurs­day, Northamp­ton were is­sued with a wind­ing-up pe­ti­tion by HM Rev­enue and Cus­toms in ad­di­tion to miss­ing a dead­line to re­pay a £10.25m loan from the lo­cal coun­cil.

The wind­ing-up pe­ti­tion re­lates to an out­stand­ing tax bill fol­low­ing de­lays to a prospec­tive takeover af­ter a Lon­don-based In­dian con­sor­tium pulled out of pur­chas­ing the club.

The Cobblers claim the HMRC debt is just a tem­po­rary is­sue due to the de­lays in com­plet­ing the takeover but, with plenty of other in­ter­ested par­ties, every­thing will be re­solved by the end of next week.

“Meet­ings have and are con­tin­u­ing this week and we are very close to reach­ing an agree­ment on the sale of the club to one of a num­ber of in­ter­ested par­ties and we be­lieve we will have some def­i­nite news very soon,” said Car­doza. “The po­ten­tial pur­chasers are well aware of all the is­sues, in­clud­ing the HMRC dis­cus­sions.”

The un­paid loan to Northamp­ton Coun­cil was re­ceived in 2013 to re­de­velop the east stand at Six­fields, al­though there has been no work on the project since the end of last sea­son.

It is cur­rently a skele­ton stand but Car­doza in­sists that mat­ter is also in hand.

“We are putting pro­pos­als to Northamp­ton Bor­ough Coun­cil re­gard­ing the re­pay­ment of the loan, which we hope will prove sat­is­fac­tory and that process is on­go­ing,” added Car­doza.“I fully ap­pre­ci­ate that, off the pitch, there only seems to be bad news for sup­port­ers at the mo­ment but we are work­ing to­wards, and we be­lieve we are close to, a con­clu­sion on all mat­ters that ti­dies up all of the is­sues sur­round­ing the club and al­lows it to move for­ward to a much brighter fu­ture.”


HEAD FIRST: Ip­swich’s Jonas Knud­sen clears un­der pres­sure

UP­BEAT: David Car­doza


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