NICK COLGAN gets to watch Lee Clark at close quarters on a match day.
And he’s convinced the drive and determination of Town’s manager – and his coaching staff – will pay off in the form of promotion this season.
The experienced Irish keeper, who also has words of praise for fellow stopper Ian Bennett, completed his 43rd match as an unused substitute when Clark’s side won 4-0 at Exeter last Saturday.
The three-point haul hoisted Town to second in League I, and Colgan is confident the club have what it takes to claim a longed-for top-two position come the end of the season.
“Huddersfield Town are going places,” said the Clayton West-based 38-year-old, who joined from Grimsby, initially on loan, a year ago.
“I know that’s probably been said ever since Dean Hoyle became chairman and brought the gaffer in.
“But after the disappointment of last season, there’s a real determination and drive about the manager and his coaching team to make it happen this time.
“You can see the manager’s passion – even with a minute to go last week, he was shouting and organising, willing the lads on to keep that clean sheet.
“We lost a couple of good players in the summer, with Anthony Pilkington going to Norwich and Lee Peltier to Leicester.
“But we also brought good ones in, and this is a squad full of players who know they have to perform if they are to keep their place in the side.
“There’s no rest for anyone, because the manager has shown he’s willing to make changes, but the lads have bought into his approach.
“And the chairman’s announcement that he will keep the squad together through the January transfer window is another indication of the desire to succeed.”
Former Republic of Ireland player Colgan, a League I promotion winner with Barnsley in 2006, has provided valuable cover in the absence through injury of Alex Smithies.
He enjoyed his run-out, if not the result, against Bradford in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy earlier this month, when the Bantams won 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 Galpharm draw.
But the man whose only other Town appearance was in last season’s Trophy Northern final second leg against Carlisle, when Clark’s side came so close to pegging back a 4-0 deficit from Brunton Park, is the first to accept Bennett, now 40, deserves his place between the posts.
The former Peterborough, Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield United man made his 50th Town appearance at Exeter, and marked the milestone with a sixth clean sheet of the season and 18th for the club.
“Ian is outstanding in everything he does,” said Colgan, who if loans are included, has had spells at 15 different clubs (hometown Drogheda United, Chelsea, Crewe, Millwall, Brentford, Reading, Bournemouth, Hibernian, Stockport, Barnsley, Dundee United, Ipswich and Sunderland can be listed alongside Grimsby and Town).
“After so long in the game, he knows what he needs to do to prepare for games and when he’s on the pitch, he provides a calm head back there.
“He doesn’t panic, he makes saves at vital times, he commands his penalty area and he distributes the ball very well. What more can you ask?
“On top of that, he’s a manager’s dream because he never causes any problems, but just gets on with the job to the best of his ability.”
Colgan continued: “I knew when I came that I was here as back-up, and my job is to make sure I’m prepared to step in if the need arises.
“It was good to get a game against Bradford, but I was disappointed with their first goal and the final outcome.”