Huddersfield Town now have a multitude of options in defence - and new manager Chris Powell has plenty of decisions to make as a result.

The deadline-day signing of Mark Hudson from Cardiff City has boosted the Terriers' recognised central defensive options to four and the versatility of Lee Peltier and Tommy Smith, both ostensibly right-backs, offers Powell further options in the centre.

With the right-sided duo still battling respective groin injuries and Anthony Gerrard also on the treatment table due to a calf complaint, resources are still stretched for the time being, but there can be no denying Hudson's switch from south Wales has helped pose a slight selection headache.

When you assess the fact Jack Robinson happily filled in at right-back on his debut at Watford too, in the absences of both Peltier and Smith, Powell boasts a potentially very strong backline.

But after letting in 13 goals already, a relationship between the defenders needs to be struck soon to arrest some worrying performances at the back.

Here, Tom Marshall-Bailey investigates the various options Powell could look to utilise in defence and how Hudson will impact on the defence.

Balance things out

To step into a situation as hazardous as Town's opening to the season required composure for just about anyone, but for the 21-year-old Murray Wallace it could have been all too overwhelming.

It proved difficult for fellow youngster Matt Crooks when he was thrust into the limelight on opening day against Bournemouth but Wallace has embraced the challenge and, despite an unfamiliar right-sided central role, he has put in a series of brave, commanding and mature performances.

Flaws remain unironed in his game - understandably for someone so young - but aside from his age, the fact Town have had to line up with an entirely left-sided defensive pairing could be something Powell looks to alter should he see sense in having a more natural partnership.

Wallace may deem himself rather unlucky to be the fall guy after some impressive cameos but should Hudson take his place in the starting XI as expected, it would appear unlikely that stand-in skipper Joel Lynch is the man to make way.

Hudson and Lynch would also be a more balanced defensive pairing in style. Lynch is able enough to compensate for the pace his partner perhaps lacks and the new signing seems set to be the marshal of the defence, a status reinforced by his spell as captain at Cardiff.

 

All right on the night

What if Lynch was considered movable from the starting XI? While he has undoubtedly improved from a nightmarish beginning to the league campaign, his form has been mixed.

Alongside the heroic display at Reading have been some chastening memories, handed out by some of the Championship's early top marksmen in Igor Vetokele, Kenwyne Jones and Callum Wilson.

He will not be up against strikers of such calibre every week, of course not, but Powell will want to assess every possible solution to a fragile-looking defence and while ripping up the foundations may seem rash, it could result in a fresh start.

If Hudson is indeed earmarked as the leader of this new-look rearguard, is there a potential to mirror the all left-footed pairing and go for an entirely right-sided duo?

It is perhaps not a remedy for the short term given the state of the Town treatment table, but the prospective future problem of choosing between Smith and Peltier could be averted by fielding either one in the second central defensive berth beside Hudson or, indeed, Gerrard.

 

Can three be the magic number?

It is not quite the tactical innovation for which Louis van Gaal has received such unjustified acclaim, but a three-man backline is still an alternative, rather than the status quo.

And it was something Robins clearly believed in as a possibility for Town before his departure, evidenced by sending his side out in that shape for the humiliating 4-0 reverse to Bournemouth at the very start of the campaign.

Given the struggles endured that day and the difficulty in restoring a formation so synonymous with a managerial era now consigned to yesteryear, three at the back may not be the answer.

Only 3.89% of Town fans who voted for their strongest XI believe it is, anyway.

But given the increased stock of central defenders, and the desire from fans to field popular summer signings Jacob Butterfield and Conor Coady together, along with James Vaughan and Nahki Wells up front, it may just be the best way to keep the surfeit of centre-backs happy.

When you take into account the versatile nature of so many of Town's defenders, they could feasibly deploy as many as seven first-teamers centrally.

Bedding-in period

The fanfare that associates the notion of a new signing dictates that a new player must start in his first game.

You would hope a player of Hudson's experience and character holds ambitions on doing just that; making his mark on the first team as soon as possible and slotting in with a minimum of fuss.

But it is easier said than done. Coady and Butterfield's impact for instance since arriving has been noticeable, but it has been of a much more pressing need in the middle of midfield with both acting as direct replacements for predecessors Oliver Norwood and Adam Clayton.

Wallace and Lynch may have proven far from water-tight in their early-season defensive duties but equally there is a familiarity with one another already that Hudson - who himself has pledged for patience until the new year - cannot boast yet.

The former Bluebirds captain will have got to know his team-mates on the training ground but a competitive scenario represents an altogether more difficult task and by easing him slowly at first, it may produce the best results in the longer term.

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