HIS season began in front of 596 fans and a hedge at Brechin – now Kallum Higginbotham is hoping to end it at Wembley.
It’s been quite a campaign for the 22-year-old former Falkirk frontman, who made a bright return from his loan spell at Barnsley as Town drew 1-1 with Walsall last weekend.
Falkirk’s 2-1 win at Brechin, whose Glebe Park ground has a hedge all the way up one touchline side, kicked off a Scottish League Cup run which took the Bairns all the way to the semi-finals.
Then Town boss Lee Clark took in the Hampden showdown with Celtic – and within days snapped up both Higginbotham and his teammate Murray Wallace.
While teenage centre-back Wallace will join up with Town this summer after being loaned back to Falkirk, one-time Rochdale player Higginbotham headed South straight away after signing a two-and-a-half year deal.
But just a fortnight, and one appearance, after joining, Clark and Town parted company, and after one outing as a substitute under Simon Grayson, the Salford-born star was loaned out.
“When the gaffer first arrived, Jordan Rhodes, Lee Novak and Alan Lee were all playing well,” explained Higginbotham, who linked up with Keith Hill, his former Rochdale boss, at Barnsley.
“I had only just been signed and my chances were likely to be limited, so when the loan option came up, the gaffer and I agreed it would be worth me getting some games.”
Higginbotham made two starts and three appearances from the bench in the Championship for Barnsley before being recalled nine days ago.
“I’d just arrived for training when Keith Hill pulled me in and said Simon Grayson had been on the phone saying Huddersfield wanted me back,” he added.
“It was good to hear because it meant the manager must have seen something good in my games for Barnsley.
“The intention always was that I would come back and push for a place here at Huddersfield, and to get a start down at Walsall was great.
“I was happy with my first-half performance, not quite so pleased with the second half, when we didn’t do as well as a team.
“I thought we were all over them up to half-time, and could have been two or three rather than one up.
“But we didn’t come out of the blocks in the second half and let them get back into it, which was disappointing.
“From my point of view, it was a starting point, and I’d love to get another chance against Yeovil today and then push on to be involved for inclusion in the play-offs.
“It’s a really exciting time to be coming back, with two huge games against MK Dons coming up, and we all know what’s at stake.
“I’ve just had a taste of the Championship with Barnsley, and it would be great for Huddersfield to get up there next season.
“We have a fantastic opportunity to do that, and having played at Wembley for Rochdale (in the 2008 League II play-offs against Stockport) it would be fantastic to go back with Town.”
Dale were beaten 3-2 by a Stockport side including future Town ace Anthony Pilkington in that final showdown.
Higginbotham, signed from Oldham in 2007, helped them win automatic promotion in 2010 – then joined Falkirk, who were rebuilding after relegation from the Scottish Premier League.
A partnership with Moroccan striker Farid El Alagui bore fruit North of the border and Higginbotham won the man-of-the-match award in that semi against Celtic.
While he hasn’t been a prolific scorer so far in his career (seven for Rochdale and eight for Falkirk), Higginbotham has caught the eye playing in behind the main frontman.
“The role I played at Walsall last Saturday – moving about and trying to get into spaces and stretch their defence – is the one I flourished in at Falkirk,” added the man who had two loan spells at Accrington Stanley during his Rochdale days.
“But to be honest, I’d play anywhere if it meant getting in the side!”