James Vaughan's injury woes offer striker conundrum
Huddersfield Town fans were granted their wish from an attacking perspective on Saturday as new manager Chris Powell went for broke from the get-go with the twin spearhead of James Vaughan and Nahki Wells.
And there were tangible signs of a partnership there early on, with the latter's superb crossfield pass locating his fellow forward's run, but Vaughan was badly let down by a poor first touch which hinted at understandable rustiness before he clattered into Middlesbrough goalkeeper Dimitrios Konstantopoulos and received a yellow card.
And then the regrettable inevitability of an injury breakdown brought an end to his cameo after just 26 minutes to illustrate both a worrying dependency on the top scorer two seasons running and - on the evidence of Jonathan Stead's display - the paucity of options beyond that.
Stead did well for his goal, it must be said, showing an ability to find himself in the right place at the right time but it failed to mask an otherwise turgid display.
Town cried out all game for a focal point at the tip of their side and yet it was not forthcoming, with Stead unable to ruffle the feathers of Daniel Ayala or Ben Gibson in the Boro defence and Wells was left isolated as a result, with Alex Smithies' clearances bouncing straight back where they came from.
The outcome of Vaughan's latest injury is as yet unknown but should it prove severe, the loan window represents an opportunity to draft in resources or, as an alternative, Powell spoke this week of the possible return to the fold of Martin Paterson, who may relish the chance to re-build his stock at the club.
Powell deserves credit, though, for his substitutes. The Vaughan situation was out of his hands but he was reactionary thereafter with the introductions of Joe Lolley and Danny Ward helping to build a head of steam and a goal which looked like it may secure a point until Leadbitter's late goal.
New boy settling in nicely
What Town have lacked all season is a defensive organiser, someone with a voice who will cajol players into the right position and keep a defensive line as rigid as possible.
In deadine-day signing Mark Hudson, it appears Town may have unearthed a potential remedy to their problems at one end of the pitch.
The irony, of course, is that Town are managing to find the net in spite of the lack of fluidity to their attacking play, while clean sheets continue to prove elusive.
But there was nothing goalkeeper Smithies could have done to prevent either of Grant Leadbitter's goals finding the net; the first a moment of magnificence and the second a moment of madness on Tommy Smith's part for conceding a needless penalty.
As a unit, Town looked stronger than they have done all season, bar a resilient rearguard display in the 2-1 win at Reading, and that was partly down to the new man's ability to dictate and also calm those around him.
It was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, with Boro missing enough chances to settle the game before the 90th minute, but the shape, balance and resolve shown was much improved.
Peltier midfield presence could get the best out of Coady
It was difficult to look beyond Hudson as man of the match as the majority of Town players failed to produce any sort of coherent play, but with the caveat of a new manager coming in having to be factored into the performance.
One contender, however, was Lee Peltier. His display owed more to his belligerent attributes than anything with his battle against Grant Leadbitter a particularly feisty one but the Town fans savoured his forceful tackling.
Powell revealed after the game that he sought an added defensive shield in his midfield setup to equal up the balance between the back four and the front two and it was a role the captain performed well.
His discipline was a worry on occasion and he could be accused of failing to pick up the effervescent running of the likes of Reach, Lee Tomlin and Kike, but his station at the base of the midfield hinted at a new role for Conor Coady.
Coady was typically purposeful with his running and passing but could not have the same influence as in previous games, although the fact he was tasked with more production in attacking areas may account for that.
It suggested this may be a tactical ploy Powell uses against teams with a lone frontman, of which there are many, and it could enable Coady to have a freer role and trade the part of sitter for that of an enforcer - maximising some of his strongest assets.
The Butterfield experiment didn't pay off
Over the opening few weeks of his Huddersfield Town career, Jacob Butterfield has worked at the heartbeat of this side, knitting together neat passing sequences and pulling the strings either from deep or further forward.
It is centrally where he has flourished and, until this point, arguably outshone the man he switched places with this summer in Adam Clayton.
Clayton himself was overshadowed by Leadbitter's brilliance but Butterfield will feel frustrated that he couldn't get the chance to come directly up against the man he is required to replace and usurp.
Out on the right, he seemed unsure of his positional requirements both defensively and offensively and it impacted on his playing style as a result.
Put plainly, Butterfield is not the man to race past a full-back and supply a cross for strikers to gobble up, a profile Harry Bunn on the other flank fits slightly more accurately, and it was noticeable that he continued to drive inside to offer support to an attack which looked devoid of the quality to break down the Boro backline.
Butterfield, a man formerly of those ranks, possessed the inside knowledge to break their guard down and it proved to be his moment of the match as he popped up in front of the defence and slipping in substitute Ward, who subsequently supplied Stead with the equaliser.
Left-back could become an intriguing battle
The early-season struggles of Paul Dixon on the left side of defence seemingly prompted a move for Jack Robinson on loan from QPR to offer the competition the Scot needed.
He was the main fall guy of the start of Chris Powell's reign as Town manager as the new man in charge opted for Robinson's youthful zest and hunger against the quicksilver winger Albert Adomah.
And while it was not easy to judge a player who was effectively making his debut for the club in that position - given he was deployed on the right side at Watford - he experienced a tough afternoon against a wideman who simply gave him no respite.
Adomah's willingness to hug the touchline and offer his side width left Robinson unsure whether to stay or go and in the end it resulted in a nervy, disjointed display which owes as much to his new surroundings as anything else.
While Smith will learn from his error late on, such is his character, it is hoped Robinson can equally take away some lessons from his afternoon against Adomah.
Dixon will not let up in his battle to get back into the side and it has the makings of an interesting contest to win Powell's attentions.