Huddersfield Town press conference - Caretaker Manager Mark Lillis and Peter Clarke
KEEN cook Mark Lillis is combining ingredients gained from throughout his varied football career to come up with a winning recipe ahead of tonight’s tasty home clash with Crystal Palace.
Huddersfield Town’s caretaker manager (and academy chief) celebrated the encouraging 1-1 FA Cup fourth-round draw against Leicester by preparing a Sunday roast for all the family.
Now he’s drawing on tips gained from Graham Taylor, Mick Buxton and Sammy McIlroy, among others, as he tries to cook up a plan which will bring a first three-point haul in 13 Championship games and ease fears of being drawn into a relegation battle.
And the 53-year-old former Town player, who looks like being in the dug-out for Saturday’s trip to another of his old clubs Derby, has called on fans to put speculation over the club’s next boss on the back burner and focus on the next two matches.
“The chairman is busy with the search for a new manager, but he has indicated it could take a week or so, and he has told me I could well be in charge at Derby,” said Lillis.
“I had a spell as a player there under Arthur Cox, and as a coach when John Gregory was manager, and they are two great people to have worked with.
“I go back to the seventies as a Town player, when Tom Johnston signed me and then Mick Buxton came along and really got the club back on its feet.
“Then I’ve been lucky enough to play under Billy McNeill at Manchester City and Graham Taylor at Aston Villa and work alongside Sammy McIroy (for Macclesfield, Stockport, Morecambe a and Northern Ireland) and Brian Laws (at Scunthorpe).
“I’ve picked up bits and pieces from all of them and now I’m trying to combine everything, just like when I sprinkled garlic, rosemary and salt on that leg of lamb on Sunday.”
While that lunch was digesting, Lillis was watching DVDs of Palace to make sure he and his players are up to speed on a side Town held to a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park last month.