Huddersfield Town are just over a third of the way through their Championship season at the latest international break and sit 16th with 20 points from their opening 17 games.

And in the first of a three-part series we are looking back at the Terriers' start to this season by assessing each area of the squad, starting with a case for the defence.

Here, we give our take on a new captain at the heart of the backline and how Town's displays at the back have ranged from the brilliant to the frankly not so brilliant.

We will also be placing the spotlight on the midfield and attacking departments during our mini-series, while you can weigh up potential additions to each area of the squad in our gallery of below!

Goalkeeper - Alex Smithies

Huddersfield Town's form, as a whole has been the subject of a rapid ascent under Chris Powell's management, but question marks continue to linger over Smithies personal performances.

The goalkeeper has been excellent in some matches but has been unfortunate to be overshadowed on occasions by the more fashionable, or indeed more attacking aspects of respective Town displays.

Against Nottingham Forest recently, for instance, he made several key stops which were crucial in the overall outcome - a 3-0 win - but the game could have swung completely the other way had he not been there to foil the Forest strikers.

Smithies has completed all 17 matches this season for Town, with only Joel Lynch managing as many appearances, but the goalkeeper is on his own when it comes to first-team minutes, leaving Joe Murphy consigned to a place on the bench.

Some fans have called for Murphy to be handed an opportunity to prove his worth in the starting XI and when you consider Town's early exit from the Capital One Cup, outings will be at a premium for the time being, at least until Town enter the FA Cup at the third-round stage in January.

He was at fault for Rodolph Austin's opener in the West Yorkshire derby and also failed to cover himself in glory at Ipswich Town or Fulham, but equally performances at Blackburn and Wolves must not be forgotten in a hurry.

It would be fanciful to suggest there is no room for improvement to be had here given Town's goals against column, for which the four or five defenders in front of him cannot be held directly accountable all of the time, but it would also be wrong to say Smithies has failed to play a part in helping to amass points this season.

VERDICT: 6/10

Right-back - Tommy Smith/Lee Peltier

Initially, it looked like the latter - formerly the club captain lest we forget - would nail down this position ahead of a player whose breakthrough campaign had only truly arrived last year.

Smith deserves massive credit then for not only ousting Peltier from that position but making it his own in recent weeks, despite the fact things could have gone down an entirely different route for the former Manchester City trainee.

A last-minute gaffe at home to Middlesbrough on Powell's Terriers bow left Smith with an obstacle to overcome but he has seemingly used it to his advantage since then to usurp Peltier in the pecking order.

He was given the nod for the next match - a goalless home draw with Wigan Athletic which presented Town with their first clean sheet of the season - but was then dropped to the bench for the Leeds match, with Peltier preferred but ultimately struggling in a quick return to Elland Road.

But since being restored to the side, Smith has left Peltier trailing in his wake with a series of impressive performances at full-back and it has directly impacted on Peltier's demotion from captain and first-team regular to the reserve option in that position.

The 27-year-old's versatility has made him an asset to Powell in other positions, notably central defence as part of a five-man defence and at the base of the midfield, but the loan signing of Diego Poyet may hinder his chances of getting back into the side still further.

Smith has come on leaps and bounds in his development as a player under Powell and despite being part of an uncertain rearguard, the fact he has made this position his own epitomises the safety Town have on that side of the back four.

VERDICT: 7/10

LOOK: Huddersfield Town's 2014/2015 season so far

 

Central defence - Mark Hudson/Joel Lynch/Murray Wallace/Lee Peltier

This area of the squad has possibly been the most mixed, even more so than Smithies' fluctuating form and while the virtual ever-presence of Hudson and Lynch as a central partnership has certainly benefited Town, they are yet to prove it on a sustained basis.

Clean sheets against Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers and Nottingham Forest have each been followed by games where Town have conceded at least twice and there Powell has made it vehemently clear that he wishes to arrest a worrying goals against column.

At present, Town's defence ranks as the most porous in the division alongside Fulham's and 31 goals from 17 games represents 1.8 goals per game conceded, an alarming statistic.

It must be factored in that the central defence have not been entirely at fault and Town have faced a testing run of fixtures against some of the big hitters in this league, but three clean sheets all season and 10 games in which Town have let in two or more tells its own story.

Hudson has come in and looks a steal from Cardiff City, who have had some of their own defensive difficulties at times, with his organisational abilities quickly convincing Powell that he had what it takes to lead the club's new dawn.

And Lynch has looked an improved defender for Hudson's presence alongside him, with the all-left-footed combination of himself and Murray Wallace working well for the interim but never really representing a long-term option at the heart of defence.

Peltier has come in on occasion to form one element of a back five and on both occasions Town have not been beaten, although at Ipswich Town the change in formation from five to four and the substitution of the utility man led to a two-goal comeback.

With Anthony Gerrard's future at the club still uncertain, this looks a position that could be strengthened in weeks and months to come and it may need an extra body to keep everyone on their toes.

VERDICT: 6/10

Left-back - Jack Robinson/Paul Dixon

In terms of competition between two players in any one position, this is perhaps the closest throughout the whole squad, with the Scot's recent increased involvement a sign that Robinson does not have it all his own way at left-back.

The former Liverpool man has made the most appearances out of the two but has struggled against some of the division's most quicksilver widemen who like to keep close to the touchline.

Dixon came in at Ipswich and looked more adept from an attacking perspective when it came to his ball retention when crossing the halfway line and his delivery of the ball in advanced areas.

That is something Robinson is developing with each and every game during his loan spell but the left-hand side has often looked decidedly weaker than the right-hand side of Town's defence.

Fans have been split over who to include as their first-choice left-back, with neither doing enough to firmly stake their claim for more regular first-team honours, nor are either's performances poor enough to demand a definite change in personnel here.

With two players at his disposal here, it would appear unlikely that Powell will prioritise this as an area in need of bolstering in the short term, with Robinson on loan until the end of this season, but he will also hope to find his best form for the next two thirds of the season.

Dixon must continue to work hard in his efforts to usurp his peer but also his positional rival and this can only bode well to fix one area of the squad in need of some improvement.

VERDICT: 5/10

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