HUDDERSFIELD Town are through to the fifth round of the FA Cup for the first time in five years – and could have Mark Robins at their helm when they tackle Premier League Wigan Athletic at the John Smith’s Stadium on Sunday.
As the club were given permission to open talks with the Coventry City manager, caretaker boss Mark Lillis masterminded a second win in five games under his command in this fourth round replay.
Sean Scannell secured success with a superb solo effort with 15 minutes remaining, giving Town’s 392 travelling fans a reason to smile all the way back up the M1.
Town arrived at the ground where they were beaten 6-1 in the Championship on New Year’s Day and made six changes in the wake of Saturday’s hard fought goalless draw with league leaders Cardiff City.
Goalkeeper Ian Bennett made his first start of the season after Alex Smithies pulled out of the game due to a family bereavement.
Joel Lynch was left out due to feeling some reaction to a recent hamstring injury and Murray Wallace came in at centre back to play alongside Anthony Gerrard, who took the captain’s armband.
Other new inclusions were Paul Dixon, Chris Atkinson, Jordan Sinnott and Alan Lee for Jack Hunt, Oliver Norwood, Neil Danns and James Vaughan.
Click on link below to view a gallery of match action pictures from Town's winRelated content
Town, possibly playing their last game under the caretaker management of Lillis, lined 4-1-2-2-1 formation.
The tie got off to an action packed start with two goals inside of six minutes.
Busy Town drew first blood through midfielder Adam Clayton, who fired home direct from a free kick after Wes Morgan fouled Lee 25 yards out.
But Leicester responded promptly when David Nugent’s shot was deflected for a corner which was swung over by Anthony Knockaert for defender Michael Keane to poke the ball beyond Bennett’s dive after Town failed to deal with Ritchie De Laet’s header.
Town reacted to this setback positively, with youngsters Atkinson and Sinnott working well together to stretch the home defence, but the Foxes again came close in the 18th minute when another Knockaert corner was cleared only for Paul Gallagher whose rising drive went just over the bar.
Bennett had to react smartly to punch clear from a Marko Futacs effort, while Gallagher put another shot wide.
Lillis’ players were competing well and working hard to keep a solid shape.
The formation employed, with Lee as a lone frontman, meant Town had to make the most of the few chances that came their way and Scannell gave the visiting fans hope when he won a corner in the 34th minutes only for Sinnott’s curling delivery to be headed clear.
Another break by Scannell gave Scott Arfield the chance to shoot from distance but his effort went over and then Dixon lashed in a low effort from 25 yards which Kasper Schmeichel did well to smother.
The second half was more open than the first, though clear cut chances were rare with two Town corners proving fruitless before home left back Paul Konchesky hooked an angled shot over the bar.
Knockaert then flashed in a low drive, but Bennett was equal to the Frenchman’s attempt and went on to pull off a great save from Nugent.
Town counter-attacked in the 68th minute and Scannell broke down the left to set up Arfield for a shot which was well save by Schmeichel.
Town’s persistence paid off in the 75th minute when they regained the lead through Scannell’s sweet solo effort, with the former Crystal Palace man breaking down the left and beating Konchesky and Matty James before poking his shot through Schmeichel's legs, though former Halifax Town player Jamie Vardy came within inches of a stoppage time leveller with a header just wide.