NO NEED TO PANIC DEPITE ISSUES – CARDOZA
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
STAR MAN ISHMAEL MILLER Huddersfield