Upon his deadline day arrival from Cardiff City, Mark Hudson was instantly hailed as the man to herald a new defensive dawn at Huddersfield Town.

He was earmarked as a character so sorely absent from the current make-up of the Town side with Anthony Gerrard still out through a calf injury and the summer exits of seasoned veterans such as Peter Clarke and Keith Southern tearing away further experience within the Town ranks.

And on the evidence of his first couple of games in the blue and white stripes, the Terriers may finally have someone on their hands who can lead from the back and make them a tough nut to crack in the Championship.

Town will have to be just that to have any chance of retaining their status at this level because of the increased competitive nature in this division, epitomised by the way Wolves and Brentford have acclimatised to a step up a league seamlessly.

Likewise, high-flying Charlton Athletic's early-season form and the contrasting fortunes of former Premier League clubs such as Birmingham City, Blackpool and Bolton Wanderers should leave no-one under a pretence that there is an 'easy' game in this league.

There have been some chastening lessons already for Town this term, but it seems as if new manager Chris Powell's primary objective is to ensure he plugs the alarming leakage of goals that had occurred before he took the reins.

Mutters of discontent turned into audible groans at times during the 0-0 draw with Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night, with the worry amongst fans seeming to be whether improved rearguard action was sacrificing on the attacking qualities of the side, but the performance illustrated how a valuable point, if not points, can be gained simply by keeping the back door shut.

Further proof to support that argument lies within the league table itself.

Town have scored the same amount of goals this season as Wolves - who occupy fourth spot and thus, a play-off berth - but their two respective league positions are 18 apart due to the goals conceded column, which shows 15 against in Town's favour to Wolves' impressive tally of three.

It was something Hudson alluded to directly after the midweek stalemate and he was a key component behind a defensive plan which restricted Wigan to few opportunities.

Indeed, one of their most promising situations in the second period - an Emyr Huws shot turned aside by Alex Smithies - was the direct result of a stunning intervention from the new central defender on one of Wigan's own deadline-day signings in Andy Delort, who cut a frustrated figure throughout after failing to better his marker.

Mark Hudson tweets after Wigan Athletic stalemate

The raucous atmosphere set to be served up by both sets of supporters at Ellland Road on Saturday will not fluster Hudson, it should actually invoke the battle-hardened qualities that have enabled him to be taken so quickly to Town fans' hearts.

He will relish the opportunity of marshaling the backline against the Terriers' West Yorkshire neighbours and the statistics certainly indicate that his presence has already put into practice an improvement in Town's defensive displays.

The most noticeable aspect of Town's resurgence at the back falls in their tackling statistics and interestingly enough, there has been a surge just within Powell's opening two games as manager at the John Smith's Stadium.

Their total of 14 against Middlesbrough last weekend was their joint-lowest so far this season, alongside the 4-2 defeat to Watford, and it paled in comparison to their best rearguard display of the season prior to Wigan, when they made 23 challenges in the 2-1 win over Reading.

Against the Latics they managed 24, the first time at home this season they have managed more than 20 and it helped yield a much-needed clean sheet in the process.

The irony attached to that particular statistic is that the closest they came to 20 prior to the meeting with Uwe Rosler's side was the opening-day evisceration by Bournemouth, which saw Town concede four without reply and led to former boss Mark Robins leaving the club.

Huddersfield Town tackling statistics 2014/2015

All stats from Opta

 

The defeat to the Cherries was also their highest tackling success percentage (83.3%) until the Wigan game, where they actually matched the total and, bizarrely, their highest percentage of tackles won so far this term was at Watford, but a staggering 92.9% successful attempts to steal the ball were not enough to prevent another four goals from hitting the back of the net.

Even more amazingly was their 2-1 win at Reading featured a paltry 69.6% by comparison, their lowest total in that field so far this season but one that proves the ability to retrieve possession is not the be-all and end-all of defending.

If you assess Town's performance against Reading and the only other time they let in less than two before the Wigan bore-draw against Charlton Athletic, two key trends begin to emerge.

Firstly, the clearances made are higher in both games than any of the other three in the pre-Powell stage of the season under Robins and then interim manager Mark Lillis.

Against the Royals, Town cleared the ball on 43 occasions and their second-highest score here came against the Addicks as they registered a further 26, a pattern which has been a feature of the defensive stats under Powell.

The 2-1 defeat to Middlesbrough saw 41 clearances in total and that was backed up by 24 against Wigan the other night, so maybe a balancing act needs to be struck.

 

On the face of it, the loss to Boro came about through an individual piece of brilliance from Grant Leadbitter and a horrendous late error from Tommy Smith.

But, then again, Boro are probably the best Town have faced this season in the league given several caveats attached to their other games.

Bournemouth was a unique scenario, while Cardiff were ruthless. Town were full merit for a win at the Madejski Stadium and should have had two back-to-back victories but for a last-minute Charlton equaliser having dictated the play against the south London outfit.

The trip to Watford resulted in another four-goal concession, but not without giving the Hornets an almighty scare first by twice levelling before failing to make their numerical advantage count after a momentary lapse of concentration from a corner and a breakaway goal late on.

And surprisingly enough, the Teessiders were the most profligate team to score more than once against Town - judging by the 17 chances they had being converted into just two goals.

That works out at a goal per 8.5 shots on average, with Bournemouth proving the most clinical of Town's opponents with a goal every three shots, while Cardiff (5.3) and Watford (3.75) were also ice-cool in front of goal.

The 17 shots Boro had is the highest amount afforded to an opponent so far this term by Town but the fact 10 of those came from outside the area suggests Town are not allowing as much space in behind.

It's a notion supported by the fact just a fifth of Watford's 15 shots in the previous game were from outside the box while Charlton (five out of 13), Reading (nine from 16), Cardiff City (five from 16) and Bournemouth (six out of 12) seem to have been granted more space inside the area.

 

Hudson appears to have fitted the defensive blueprint put in place by Powell perfectly.

Against Wigan, Hudson completed seven clearances, a defensive quality which was paramount to the win at Reading, as was Town's success in duels and aerially.

The sole win so far this season was established from a solid defensive platform which completed 48.8% of duels and 51.2% of duels to stifle a Reading team which looked dependent on Pavel Pogrebnyak's hold-up play, but Lynch and Murray Wallace kept him at bay.

Those totals have dipped as a collective since Powell took charge, with their performance against Wigan the better of the two in this respect with 47.4% and 39% respectively, but Hudson has been the star here.

His duel and aerial duel success rates against Boro came in at 100% for both, while the clash with the Latics saw him notch a 77.8% duel success rate and another flawless display in the air.

It's early days yet and we are unable to read too much into any defensive refinement due to the manager and new centre-back familiarising themselves with new surroundings but while the attack remains a work in progress, the gaping hole at the back is slowly but surely being plugged.