Although Friday's heavy defeat at Bristol City could be chalked down to 'a bad day at the office' for many Huddersfield Town players, it could prove more significant for Mark Hudson.

With illness to central defensive pair Michael Hefele and Jon Gorenc Stankovic ahead of the game, the captain was called upon to partner record-signing Christopher Schindler for the first time since a 5-0 thrashing at Fulham back in October.

That day David Wagner's men once again under-performed but it is hard to get away from the fact the common denominator in both of Huddersfield Town's worst defeats of the season is the inclusion of Hudson.

Video thumbnail, WATCH: Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner makes no excuses for Bristol City defeat
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WATCH: Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner makes no excuses for Bristol City defeat

At Craven Cottage, the 34-year-old was obliterated by the speed and trickery of Sone Aluko.

At Ashton Gate it was Tammy Abraham whose power and pace did the damage with Hudson left looking particularly embarrassed for Bristol City's opening goal.

Supporters will point to the start of the season when Hudson's partnership with Schindler appeared to blossom as Town led the charge at the top of the SkyBet Championship.

But there were ominous signs even from the opening game of the season.

The three consecutive yellow card bookings in the first three league encounters for late and clumsy challenges due to Hudson being off the pace would have set alarm bells ringing.

Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner speaks with captain Mark Hudson at Bristol City.
Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner speaks with captain Mark Hudson at Bristol City.

Sam Saunders (Brentford), Dwight Gayle (Newcastle United) and Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) were all too much for Hudson to deal with as the defender went on to pick up another three cautions before the Fulham debacle 10 games later.

There were clear warning signs ahead of the Fulham defeat at the previous away outing at Preston North End when the skipper was not only booked but woefully inept at preventing the host’s third goal from Jordan Hugill.

The fact is Huddersfield Town's impressive winning start to the season was in spite of the captain's defensive frailties with the Schindler/Hudson partnership seeing a higher goals conceded ratio than that of the Schindler/Hefele combination.

If Huddersfield Town are serious in continuing their upward trajectory there can be no room for sentiment or oversensitivity to criticism.

There is no disputing Mark Hudson is a nice guy and a model professional but the fact remains circumstances and age have caught up with him.

When the 34-year-old signed a new three-year contract which included a transition into coaching at the end of the last campaign, Huddersfield Town were an entirely different club.

Video thumbnail, See what Huddersfield Town's Christopher Schindler makes of Mark Hudson criticism
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WATCH: Christopher Schindler on Mark Hudson criticism

Town had just signed off the season in 19th place after a largely uninspiring and inept campaign in which David Wagner was still finding his feet in British football.

But after a summer overhaul, coupled with the continually consistent good performances and results, Hudson's Huddersfield Town playing career should consigned to the past and not one for the future.

Unfortunately the club captain has become a victim of Huddersfield Town's rapid rise. Another indication of where the club is at as well as the player would be to ask, just how many other SkyBet Championship sides would he walk into?

And to casually retort 'he is a good figure to have around the dressing room' thereby reducing him to just making up the numbers or appearing to undertake some sort of ornamental squad function is insulting to both Mark Hudson himself and what he has achieved during a successful club career.

Video thumbnail, WATCH: Huddersfield Town fans make long trip down to Bristol City to witness horror show
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WATCH: Town fans make long trip down to Bristol to witness horror show

The second counter-argument is he brings exemplary leadership qualities to the team, but this season has proven there are no shortage of leaders to step up and fill the mantle as club captain.

Christopher Schindler, speaking so eloquently and intelligently after the Bristol City defeat, has to be one such contender while Tommy Smith's rapid rise as the league's best full-back is another.

Furthermore, with the coaching career an option on the table, there is still the scope to have the player in the dressing room but in a more positive and constructive manner than the current status quo.

With only weeks left of the season and with both Michael Hefele and Jon Gorenc Stankovic not expected to be out long-term, the Bristol City game could spell the end of Mark Hudson's playing career at the club before the official announcement comes at the end of the season.

And that is regardless of whatever league the club find themselves in next campaign.