Huddersfield Town Transfer Speculation

Summer signings

Vallejo, Brown, Blackman, Campbell, Sarr and Eiting all left with their contracts coming to an end.  There continues to be speculation about O’Brien leaving and less so speculation about Toffolo, Holmes and Nicholls.  I’m sure that Town would not want to sell any of them but at the end of the day every player has their price.

Looking at the free agents released by Championship clubs there could be a number that are of interest to Town:-

Alex Smithies (Cardiff).  I know there has been a recent trend of ex-players coming back to the club and that doesn’t always guarantee that they will be a success the second time around.  This one makes sense provided the salary is right.  Alex still has ties to the Town, he has experience at this level, he will not unsettle things by being second choice and is a more than capable replacement for Nicholls when needed.  Likelihood of being completed 8 out of 10.

Andre Gray (Watford).  Gray would offer a physical and quick presence in the attacking line if signed but his wage demands are probably beyond Town.  Would definitely add something extra.  Likelihood of being completed 2 out of 10.

Romaine Sawyers (WBA).  Always been highly rated but struggled to realise his full potential.  Could be a player to play in the number 10 position and offer much needed support to the front man.  I’m not too sure though that he would be a good fit at Town.  Likelihood of being completed 3 out of 10.

Looking at the free agents released by the premier league teams there aren’t many that are realistic apart from the youngsters that are a unknown contingent, however Conor may be worth a look:-

Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa).  Always rated Conor and he has experience at Premier League and Championship level.  Good striker of a free kick which whilst we have done well with set-plays this season we have lacked with taking shots direct from free kicks.  Conor would be a good addition but salary may be an issue.  I think he is more likely to pop up somewhere like West Brom.  Likelihood of being completed 4 out of 10.

Will Jaaskelainen (Crewe).  Jaaskelainen is still young at 23 and has clocked up a few lower league clubs and gained experience.  Provided he knows that he is not first choice he could be a good addition to the squad of keepers.  Available on a free and would not demand a large salary.  Could be worth a punt.  Likelihood of being completed 4 out of 10.

Kyle Hudlin (Solihill Moors).  We have been linked to Kyle for a few weeks now.  He may not be one for the first team this season but could offer us a little of something different standing at 6 feet 10 inch he would tower over others and provide a focal point of attack.  Provided players got close to him for the knock downs it would give us a different dimension.  Likelihood of signing 9 out of 10.

Jessie Debrah (Halifax).  Another one which it has been rumoured for a few weeks that we are due to sign.  The tall central defender would provide further strength in depth but in a position which he would unlikely be in the first team often.  Perhaps signed for the B team and see how he develops.  Likelihood of him signing 7 out of 10.

There are a number of players which I would like us to sign from the Championship such as Keane Lewis-Potter, but we would be no more appealing then many other destinations for players.  From League One there is Scott Twine from MK Dons.  Scott had a very good season and is very adaptable.  Players as a front man but does like to drop back into the number 10 type of role.  We do need some younger players in our attack and Scott has git some experience and comes off the back of a very strong season.  I think he would be a very good acquisition but MK Dons are unlikely to be willing to part with him cheaply.

On the loan front I am sure there will be a number of good quality youngsters about from the Premier League teams.  Young James McAtee from Manchester City is one which there have been a lot of rumours will be on his way to Town.  I am unsure how much playing he will get though so it will depend upon what the terms are of the deal.  Troy Parrott currently at Spurs would be a good shout and fill the gap left by Sinani.  I feel he would offer us more than Sinani did and after a loan to League One last season Spurs are likely to want him operating at a higher level this term.

I don’t expect there to be a lot of movement over the summer but in the coming weeks we will see.

Season 21/22 Review

Lee Nicholls

29 year old Lee Nicholls arrived on a free transfer from MK Dons and the fans did not know what to expect.  We all felt that we needed a proper first choice keeper after several seasons of players coming in and failing to impress and stamp their authority on the side.  Nicholls missed the first 2 league games of the season, a draw against Derby and defeat against Fulham due to a positive covid test.  He then made his first league start of the season in the 1-0 win over Preston which was Towns  first win of the season in our third game.  Nicholls had started against Sheffield Wednesday in the Carabao Cup match before the positive test result and was a instant hero in the penalty shoot out in that match.  Throughout the season Nicholls went on to make 43 league appearances as he established himself as first choice having arrived after 131 games for MK Dons.

Nicholls brings a command of the penalty area to the side.  He is vocal in his organising of the defence.  Handling is strong and his positioning makes even difficult saves appear routine.  His distribution is good and manages time well when we are in front.

Without Nicholls we would not have been in the play-offs.  He has been essential to the club’s success this season and we need to keep him for the forthcoming season.

Jamal Blackman

28 year old Blackman arrived in January after his Los Angeles FC contract came to an end.  Blackman originally came through the ranks at Chelsea and has been at a host of clubs since.  He played in the FA Cup matches against Barnsley & Notts Forest before playing in the last league game of the season in the 2-0 win against Bristol City.  The only game where he was really tested was against Forest when he struggled but looked comfortable in the other games.

For an experienced keeper I would say he is not first choice material at this level but is a good second choice.  His contract is up at the end of the season so it remains to be seen as to what happens.

Ryan Schofield

Ryan had a very difficult season in the 2020/21 season.  Performances were littered with errors which cost the team dearly and the defence was very unorganised.  He got his chance to start again with a fresh slate at the start of the season.  He came through the game against Derby successfully without being too exposed but made errors during the Fulham game which cost us again and you could visibly see any remaining confidence disappear.  We didn’t see Ryan again until the FA Cup win at Burnley which we won but Ryan had to come off with injury after 40 minutes.

Ryans positioning, command of the area and handling are poor.  He is good at the reaction save, but lacks the confidence and self-belief to be a successful keeper at Championship level.

Ryan has a contract to run until the end of the 2023 season.  Personally, I feel it would be best for Ryan and the club if we looked to move him on.

Pipa (Gonzalo Ávila Gordón)

24 year old Pipa arrived from Espanyol for the 20/21 season and was a regular making 37 appearances and scoring 2 goals.  This season Pipa has been hampered with injuries and managed 14 games in the league.  When fit he struggled to hold down a first team start on a regular basis.

The Spanish under 21 international struggled a little in the first team this season.  Although being right footed he likes to cut in from the right and does have a tendency to want too many touches on the ball.  His finishing has been poor too which in his first season was much better.   Heading into his final season of his 3 year contract Pipa needs to step up and show more consistency.  He is only 24 but needs to improve his ability to spot when he needs to pass the ball.  Defensively he has improved a little but if we are to push for Premier league football then he needs to improve further.

Ollie Turton

29 year old Ollie arrived on a free transfer at the start of the season having turned down a contract from his previous club Blackpool.  Initially the fans were dubious over his acquisition and some nervy early performances from Ollie did not help.  He did however settle down and was used in a variety of positions.  Carlos showed consistent faith in Ollie and the fans soon came on board due to his consistency and not overplaying but doing the basics really well.  Ollie went on to make 40 appearances in the  league during the season, many from the bench but has been very impressive.

Turton is very consistent and keeps playing the simple ball.  I would like to see a little more confidence sometimes by putting the cross into the box rather than handing the responsibility over to someone else.  He has a good right foot and has been equally as comfortable at the right side of a central defensive 3 or as a right back/right wing back.

Dubbed the ‘Ginger Cafu’ by Town fans I would like to see Turton stay at the club due to his versatility and what he does offer when in the starting line up.

Harry Toffolo

Now 26, Toff arrived in the January transfer window during the 19/20 season, signed by the Cowley brothers who worked with him at Lincoln.  Until Lincoln Toff had struggled to breakthrough into a first team, but since working with the Cowleys he has been a first team regular.  He made 42 league appearances during the season meaning he has now played 92 times for the club with 9 goals, 6 of them coming during this season.  Toff has been a key part in the way that we play and with his contract coming to an end now Town need to act and if need be activate the 1 year extension although hopefully we can agree a longer new contract.

Toff operates as a left back/left wing back.  He gets forward regularly and could be mistaken for a left winger at times.  He is very affective in an attacking role and when asked to play more defensively you don’t get the best out of him but he is very capable and does what he needs to do for the team.  He is left footed but did score a cracking goal on his right foot against Coventry.  He has a good connection on the pitch with O’Brien and weighs in with goals and assists.  Very unlucky to have not won numerous penalties over the last games of the season, despite the genuine foul he does go down a little theatrically, similar to how Tom Cowan did back in the 90s which appears to influence the referees to not call the foul.

Hopefully Town can come to an agreement with Toffolo which will keep him at the squad for next season and beyond as he will be key to any success.

Josh Ruffels

Ruffels signed at the start of the season on a free from Oxford where he had been a regular starter for 8 years.  The 28 year old left back made 8 appearances over the season usually from the bench.  His first team opportunities were at a minimum due to the form of Toffolo.  He has looked steady as a left back however with such few minutes on the pitch it is hard to determine his long term ability for the team.  Certainly he is worth holding onto and should remain a squad player for the following season.

Matty Pearson

The 28 year old local lad from Keighley returned to Yorkshire after 3 years with Luton where he made 128 league appearances.  Matty made 37 league appearances with 3 goals during the season.  He was a regular on the right side of a back three.  Solid in the air and with decent distribution.  Matty picked up an injury towards the end of the season which meant he missed the last couple of months.  He is strong in the air, good in the tackle but perhaps not the quickest of centre backs.  Built a good understanding with Tom Lees.  Matty being on a 3 year contract should be here for the next couple of years and re-establish himself in the starting line-up next season.

Tom Lees

Tom left relegated Sheffield Wednesday for Town at the start of the season making 41 appearances with 3 goals.  He missed the first few games as it took a while to gain full match fitness.  There was some initial scepticism regarding Lees but he soon answered critics with his good consistent performances.  The 31 year old has been one of many stand out performers during the season.  His experience and reading of the game has been essential and will be again for any success in the coming season.  Lees is strong in the air and his distribution is consistently good.  He has operated n all 3 positions across the back line of 3 centre backs during the season but I believe he is more comfortable in the centre.  We need another good solid season from the towering centre back.

Naby Sarr

One minute Naby can be the hero and the next the villain.  Naby signed from Charlton in September 2020.  He had made 95 appearances with 6 goals for Charlton where he had been a first team regular.  In his first season at Town Naby had been a regular starter making 41 appearances with 4 goals, however after the arrival of others in the close season he dropped down the pecking order for the following season making 20 league appearances with 3 goals.  Naby is capable of popping up with a goal and is a handful in the air, being a big physical presence in both boxes.  He is capable of good cross field balls but can be very slow with his distribution and can dwell too long in possession, therefore he can create problems for his own defence.  It has to be said though that Naby has an instinct to defend and blocks shots well and on many times has cleared balls from off his own line.

Personally, I would be comfortable with Naby moving on in the close season although if he was to stay as a back up player that would be fine as well.  I do feel that Edmonds-Green should now be ahead of Naby.

Levi Colwill

Levi arrived on loan from Chelsea for the season and established himself in the side usually on the left side of 3 central defenders making 28 appearances with 2 goals in the league.  The 19 year old has been consistently good all season and does like to drive forward on occasions.  He is quick which has been key for the side as that is a downside of the other central defenders.  Levi was very unfortunate with the own goal in the play off final as he could not do anything with the deflection.  Hopefully Chelsea will allow him to return next season although I do feel that he will go to a higher profile club for a further loan.

Jonathan Hogg

Hoggy, better known as the General made 31 appearances with 2 goals during the season.  He is the longest serving member of the team and the sole survivor of the premier league stint.  Captain who after a dip in form mid-season came back stronger than ever.  As the season developed, he tended to drop back to play in the middle of a back 3 but is usually the holding midfielder.  His passing can be wayward on occasion, but his reading of the game is first class and we are a lot better with him than without him.  Having weighed in with 2 goals this season this has been the best goalscoring season Hoggy has had for us at the age of 33.

Still under contract Hoggy needs to stay and be used in the central defensive role going forward as his presence there provides us with better shape. 

Jon Russell

Big Jon Russell was signed for the B team from Chelsea but impressed quickly at that level that he was promoted to the first team and has not looked back since.  For a 21 year old he plays with a great maturity.  He dictates the pace of the game and is comfortable putting his foot on the ball and slowing things down.  Being the size he is and the quick skills he does possess opponents end up backing off and giving him space.  Jon still needs to develop but has come along really well this season and has to be considered a first team regular.  He has the ability to really command games and I look forward to seeing how he develops having played 19 times with 2 goals this season.

Lewis O’Brien

Yet another quality season for Lewis.  He just keep on getting better.  As the season progressed, he was targeted by the opposition who resorted to hacking him down every time that he got on the ball and due to the standard of refereeing there was never any protection.  Lewis has been more consistent this season clocking up 43 games and 3 goals.  He is still only 23 and has a big career still ahead of him, hopefully this will be with us but he is the most likely player to be targeted by Premier league teams and we may have to prepare for the new season without him.  Lewis is quick in the tackle but is equally as good on the ball running through the centre or off to the left.  He is very left footed and I would like to see him be able to use his right foot more than just to stand with.

Carel Eiting

Eiting returned to the club in January after being released by Genk, but struggled to get many minutes and failed to impress when he did get on the pitch.  He likes to play in an advanced central midfield role and to have time on the ball which he is not often afforded.  Carel is only on contract to the end of the season and I don’t expect it will be renewed.  He made 5 appearances this season with 1 assist.

Alex Vallejo

Vallejo has shown promise during his time with us but has failed to hold down a regular starting position largely due to injury but also due to the form of other individuals.  30 year old Alex managed just 5 appearances this season and with his contract coming to an end it is likely that it will not be renewed, however I would be quite happy if he did stay provided his injury worries are behind him.  He is a good passer of the ball who reads the game well but does not close down aggressively and tends to sit in midfield.

Tino Anjorin

Tino arrived on loan from Chelsea and struggled with injury, so his impact was limited to 7 games with 1 goal.  He is quick and likes to run at the opposition defence.  Against Coventry in his 20 minutes he tore them apart at will, but that was the only time we saw that from Tino.  I expect Chelsea will want a guarantee that he will play regularly next season if going out on loan so we may not see him return.

Rolando Aarons

Aarons is another one that has struggled consistently with injury having appeared on just the 1 occasion this season.  He needs to step up big time next season or be allowed to leave be it on loan or permanently.

Aaron Rowe

21 year old Aaron has only made 1 appearance this season due to injury and the form of others.  For his development he needs to go out on loan next season and get some first team experience.

Scott High

Scott started to make the grade at the end of last season and impressed enough to replace Hoggy when injured this term, but he struggled with the holding midfield role as time passed.  I’m not sure that we have found Scott’s best position just yet and he does need to improve considerably with his strength.  21 year old Scott made 22 appearances with 1 assist this season.  I feel he would benefit greatly through a loan to a league one side where he could get regular first team football. 

Sorba Thomas

What a season the 23 year old has had.  After arriving from Borehamwood in January of the previous season he appeared very raw and whilst full of running he looked to be a long way short of the player he has become.  I doubted that he was good enough for the first team but with 43 games, 3 goals and 12 assists, let alone the chances he created he has been one of the stand out performers of the season.  Hopefully we hang on to him and he can be a key player for us again this season.  He is particularly lethal from corners, but does need to improve with his delivery in open play.

Duane Holmes

The 27 year old arrived back at his first club from Derby the previous season and has been a regular in the side this season with 37 appearances and 5 goals.  Duane has had a good season and managed to influence many matches.  He is the type of player who can go missing at times and has struggled for consistency. I like his positivity as he always looks to get the ball and drive forward but his first touch can let himself down and he does like to make too many touches when he should play in a teammate much quicker.   Duane has had a very good season and he does give us a good balance to the attack but I feel that we have seen the best of him.  I’m happy for him to stay again this season but he does need to release the ball much quicker as he can get out muscled when he wants too many touches.

Danny Grant

Danny signed for us the previous season and immediately was injured he has never yet been able to get into the matchday squad.  He needs to go out on loan next season.

Jordan Rhodes

Jordan Rhodes arrived back at the club for the second time.  Having been a goalscoring machine the last time it was hoped that he could work his magic again, even after he had had a difficult seasons at Sheffield Wednesday, Norwich and Middlesborough, the fans were very pessimistic.  The 32 year old did not start too many games, but did manage to clock up 25 appearances and 3 goals.  Most of the appearances were from the bench but he weighed in with a couple of MOM performances late in the season and really showed that he still has what it takes.  Jordan offers us something a little different with his physicality and poacher instinct.  I believe he will be a part of things for the new season.

Josh Koroma

23 year old Koroma struggled for form this season but still managed 4 goals from 33 appearances.  Josh had been our most promising attacking player in the previous season prior to getting injured but has not yet been able to re-establish that form. He appears to be lacking in confidence but hopefully the club will extend his contract for a further season as I feel he can still offer the club something. Koroma does like to attack down the left side of the pitch ad cut back inside on his right foot, but he needs to believe in himself again.

Fraizer Campbell

34 year old Fraizer made 21 appearances for us during the season but most of them came early in the campaign.  Fraizer struggled for form being a little short of his usual pace and his touch was not as good as it used to be.  You can’t fault his commitment always harrying the opposition and playing with a real passion, but Championship level is too much for him now and being out of contract at the end of the season it is time for him to move on although he may be missed within the changing room.   

Danny Ward

31 year old Wardy missed large chunks of last season due to injury and many of the fans were pessimistic that he would produce this time.  He answered the critics though with 14 goals in 40 games.  He was always working hard closing down the opposition and dropping into holes to pick up the ball and help the team build attacks.  Danny will not be the most prolific striker as he does not possess loads of pace and tends to help build attacks rather than leading the line but he helps keep things intact and helps the side stay in games.  He picked up an injury towards the end of the season and did not quite re-establish his form.  He does need more support in the attacking areas than he has been getting.

Danel Sinani

Sinani has had a productive season with 6 goals from 43 games.  He was subbed many times during the campaign, but you could not fault his believe and passion.  The 25 year old worked well for the team keeping us compact but as a striker or attacking midfielder you need more form him.  He rarely created too much other than from set-plays.  Personally, I feel he is not good enough for where we are wanting to get to but with an option to sign being part of the loan agreement from Norwich I think we may end up signing him.

Overall

What a season.  Expectations were that we would be relegated but with a 3rd place finish and a narrow play off defeat we achieved so much.  The main thing now is that we build on what was achieved this season, to do this we need to keep the bulk of the squad together and make just a couple of additions.  If we start the season the way we finished and with a side knowing what is expected of them from the off then we can go a long way.  The past season started with a draw at the beleaguered Derby and then a thumping 5-1 home defeat to Fulham, but that was the lowest point of the season.  Gradually the team evolved and bought into the style of play Carlos wanted us playing.  We had to keep ourselves in matches and if we could snatch a lead, we played to try and see it out.  If we didn’t find the breakthrough then in the second half we would open up and go for it more.  The tactics worked, but Carlos was able to tweak things and brought in new players such as Russell from the B team that helped to give us more depth.  Even after the rare back to back defeat to Millwall and Bournemouth we went again and found our form.  Many thought we would fall away but we just got stronger, in the end we ran out of matches in order to achieve automatic promotion but went into the play offs with confidence, unfortunately we were unlucky in the end but are ready to go again next season.

Carlos Corboran

39 year old Carlos has proved all his critics and the majority of fans wrong.  Many expected he would be one of the first managerial casualties of the season and after the 5-1 home loss at the start of the season this appeared even more likely.  Over the course of the season he has proved that he is a tactical master working out how to get the most out of the players at his disposal.  There have been some similarities to the Wagner era with the togetherness that he had the players working with.  They operated as a team rather than a bunch of individuals and had a believe in themselves that we haven’t seen for many years.  A lot of people questioned the recruitment at the start of the season but bringing in players that were experienced at championship and league one level and approaching their prime worked.  These players had a great mentality that fitted in well with what Town were building.  We need to do the same again in the coming season, but no overhaul is needed just the addition of a few key personnel.  Hopefully Carlos will stay to carry on what he has started at Town.

Since writing the above Town have announced that Toffolo and Koroma have had their contracts extended for a further year but Sarr, Campbell, Eiting, Vallejo and Blackman have been released and Town are not taking up the option to sign Sinani.

Town 2-2 QPR

A bit disappointing to only get a point when most sides around us dropped points but in fairness this was a fair result. Town led twice through an early Hogg header which Barbet diverted into his own net and then when Toffolo thundered a header in from Turtons quality cross. QPR equalised through a close finish from Amos and a well struck close range volley from Chair. Town did not help themselves as they allowed Ilyas Chair as much room as he wanted all game and he was Rangers only dangerman. With the benefit of hindsight Town should have put Russell on him for 30 minutes and he would have disappeared from the game. In addition operating with Thomas up top to get in behind Rangers did not work as he was too often off-side or the pass was over hit. We could and should have been much better but we’ll take the point.

Nicholls 7, Turton 6, Lees 7, Colwill 7, Toffolo 7, Hogg 7 (MOM), Russell 6, Sinani 4, O’Brien 7, Thomas 6, Ward 5. Carlos 5 (got some of the tactics for this one wrong in my opinion)

Huddersfield 2-0 Luton

This was a big game with both sides having a great season although it is fair to say that Luton had stumbled in their last couple of matches. The visitors did look good and kept the ball well without really creating anything much throughout the whole game. It did take Town 60 minutes to find the breakthrough with an audacious effort from Russell just outside the area lifted over the keeper and in the far corner. The game then opened up and Town could easily of added more before substitute Sarr got on the end of a Thomas corner to head home. A thoroughly deserved 2-0 win despite a very suspect referee who awarded Luton a very dubious penalty.

Nicholls 7, Lees 8, Hogg 8, Colwill 7, Pipa 5, Toffolo 7, Russell 7, O’Brien 8 (MOM), Sinani 5, Ward 5, Thomas 7

Town 0-3 Bournemouth

A big game for us when we needed the senior players to show up, but sadly we failed to compete beyond the opening 15 minutes. Bournemouth found space easy in the game with Solanke dictating play. We played deep to prevent space in behind but then Bournemouth dominated the space in front of our defence. They played through our back line well with good movement and quick passing. On the ball though we really struggled and it was all a little slow. For the first goal Pearson was turned far too easily and a good ball then resulted with a tap in, for the second a defensive mix up which Lees missed the chance to clear resulted in a open goal. At the start of the second half a good sweeping move resulted in the impressive Solanke making it 3.

Rating

Nicholls 6, Toffolo 5, Turton 5, Pearson 5, Lees 5, Thomas 5, Russell 5, O’Brien 5, Holmes 4, Sinani 4, Ward 6 (MOM).

Millwall 2-0 Town

We came into the game wanting to put right the wrong against West Brom but we were not good enough and faded after ex-Town man Afobe scored his first for the night on 27 minutes after a misplaced pass by Hogg. In the second half a lucky ricochet fell to Afobe for him to seal the win. We rarely got into our stride and threaten enough at the right end of the pitch.

Ratings

Nicholls 7, Pearson 5, Lees 6, Colwill 6, Toffolo 6, Thomas 6, Hogg 4, O’Brien 6 (MOM), Holmes 5, Russell 6, Ward 6

West Brom 2-2 Town

Ordinarily this would have been a good point but considering our recent form and the fact that we were 10 minutes away from a good 3 points it was disappointing.

Town were on top throughout the game and were comfortably 2-0 in front and could have been further ahead. Ward had scored both goals, the first one by charging down Sam Johnstones clearance and the second when the keeper parried O’Briens shot into his path. On 84 minutes then Thomas cleared a corner from just inside the area but Alex Mowatt dived and the ref gave a penalty. Replays showed that Thomas was no where near making contact but unfortunately the ref had been conned and to rub salt into the wound Grant converted the spot kick. Having said that Town should have kept there heads but from the resulting kick off Hogg presented Wets Brom with the ball and they crossed for Carroll to score his first for the club.

Nicholls 7, Turton 7, Toffolo 7, Lees 7, Pearson 7, Hogg 5, Russell 7, Sinani 6, O’bRien 8 (MOM), Thomas 8, Ward 7.

Forest 2- 1 Town

We picked up where we had finished off the previous game by Tom Lees scoring his third goal in 2 games with a header from a corner on the 13th minute and Town did create further chances which with better composure would have seen in us in a strong position. The game was very even though with Forest having most of the posession and backed by a vociferous home crowd which swayed the ref a little. The result could have gone eitehr way and in the end Forest saw it through coming from behind with goals from Surridge and Yates in the first half. Town were under strength and it did show at times. Ruffels making a mistake for the winner and a lack of strength in the midfield.

Blackman 5, Sarr 5, Lees 6, Pearson 6, Russels 4, Hogg 5, Eiting 5, Pipa 5, Thomas 6 (MOM), Sinani 4, Holmes 5.

Town 3-0 Peterborough

It was good to get a win of Peterborough partly to avenge the play off final defeat of 10/11 by the same score line. It was the most comfortable match for many a year that we had scoring twice on the first 7 minutes made the game a non-contest. Sinani finish with a well placed shot of 2 previous efforts by Town had been blocked and then Tom Lees finishing with a header. We continued to dominate the game and perhaps should have won by a much bigger margin than 3 when Lees weighed in with his second on the 72nd minute.

Rating – Nicholls 7, Pearson 7, Lees 8 (MOM), Turton 7, Toffolo 7, Sinani 6, Russell 8, O’Brien 8, Thomas 7, Ward 7, Holmes 6.

Town 2-1 Cardiff

Town dominated the game from the start and although Cardiff tried bullying Town, kicking players off the ball consistently and picking up 7 yellow cards Town still controlled the game. A year ago we would have succumbed to the tactics but not this time. Despite all the dominance we failed to really create great openings until teh second half and then against the run of play Cardiff strung a couple of passes together and scored. The Welsh outfit had relied upon the long punt and see what would happen. They were lucky to keep 11 players on the pitch and subbed Hugill before he got sent off as he had got away woith 2 clear elbows in the first half but not the one in the second. Town rallied after conceding and drove forward equalising through Koroma on 88 minutes and Russell scoring the winner on the 96th minute. Cardiff had been time wasting since the first minute of the game and there had been a long injury to Lees which accounted for the 9 minutes added time.

Nicholls 8, Turton 8, Pearson 7, Lees 7, Thomas 9 (MOM), Russell 8, O’Brien 8, Ruffels 6, Sinani 5, Ward 7, Holmes 7.

Carlos 7