HUDDERSFIELD TOWN paid for a woeful first-half display as they crashed out of the Capital One Cup at Deepdale last night.
League I Preston were pumped up for battle and caught Town cold, deservedly leading at the break with goals from Jack King on 32 and Nicky Wroe after 41.
And while Town improved after a change of formation in the second half, they had to wait until four minutes from time for their best effort on goal, when Lee Novak’s rasping drive was deflected inches wide.
With Jordan Rhodes, Sean Scannell, Murray Wallace, Oliver Norwood and Joel Lynch all absent on international duty, manager Simon Grayson fielded four of his new signings in the starting line-up.
Ex-Cardiff defender Anthony Gerrard joined skipper and ex-Everton teammate Peter Clarke in the centre of a defence including Paul Dixon (from Dundee United) at left-back for his debut.
Adam Clayton and Keith Southern made their first senior appearances for the club in a midfield including Oscar Gobern, while Jimmy Spencer got the nod ahead of Alan Lee after impressive performances last week against Chesterfield and Barcelona B.
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Lee Novak led the attack in a 4-3-3 formation against a completely new-look Preston line-up led by new captain John Mousinho and playing 4-4-2.
Only goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann survived from last season, while all manager Graham Westley’s outfield 10 were new to the Preston shirt.
You wouldn’t have guessed it from the way they started, however, and Alex Smithies was called on to make a tremendous block from Mousinho in the first 50 seconds, before standing tall to force Jack King wide with the follow-up.
Mousinho was involved again before a cross from Scott Laird forced Clarke to concede a corner, then Town looked stretched again as Preston – playing direct, and with a high tempo – watched a Lee Holmes effort deflected wide.
Town got some respite when Spencer’s flick to Novak brought a blocked shot and Gobern’s follow-up curled high and wide from 20 yards.