Huddersfield Town manager Chris Powell was posed the question about who he will field in the centre of defence alongside captain Mark Hudson following the 5-0 defeat at Norwich City.

After seeing his side fall to their heaviest defeat of the season and experiencing his worst result as a manager, Powell indicated Anthony Gerrard - an unused substitute at Carrow Road - will have to be prepared for a return to first-team action against Birmingham City next weekend.

Murray Wallace's 17th-minute sending off was not only a crucial turning point in the match, it also disrupted the make-up of Town's backline and they never recovered as a result, with the Canaries running riot in the second half.

Wallace will now miss this weekend's clash with a resurgent Birmingham outfit through suspension and with Joel Lynch currently considered unlikely to play a part on Saturday, options are thin on the ground.

So, with Town's central defensive personnel continuing to dwindle, who can Powell turn to as a partner for Hudson?

Here are five possibilities.

Tommy Smith

If Powell has concerns about upsetting the team dynamic by drafting in too many fringe players in the squad, then the natural choice would be to turn to a current first-teamer.

Smith was probably the best of a bad bunch on Saturday and while he has proven his suitability as a marauding right-back with three league assists already this term, he certainly has the ability to function as a central defender too.

While not offering the same aerial presence as the likes of Lynch or Wallace, Smith is a strong, committed defender who has all the attributes to fill in centrally.

His education as a young defender has primarily been on the right-hand side of a backline but given his good positional sense and strong tackling, he can certainly fit the bill there.

Town require additional bodies in defence in the January transfer window and Smith should not be a long-term fix in the position, but he offers the advantage of being fully up to speed in terms of match fitness and a familiarity with his defensive peers.

Lee Peltier

If Smith was considered for selection in central defence, then Peltier could feasibly come in at right-back as his replacement but should Smith remain on the right, Peltier could be one of the more obvious choices to come in from the bench.

He has had first-team experience under Powell with seven outings and, although he has not featured since the 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest at the start of November, he possesses the versatility required amid something of a selection crisis.

Peltier would not solve all of Town's defensive problems but has the know-how in central defence and, maybe crucially, is more advanced in his condition than the likes of Gerrard.

While the former Cardiff City man must sufficiently prove his fitness to force his way back into the reckoning, Peltier can at least boast having played under Powell and would be the most adaptable member of the backline should the manager be forced into a reshuffle.

It could be the opportunity he needs to stake a claim for more regular involvement.

Lee Peltier in 2014/2015

9

Appearances

13

Goals conceded

3

Clean sheets

League only

 

Anthony Gerrard

The wildcard option of the five but perhaps not in that he is the most recognised of all the centre-backs currently at Powell's disposal.

He offers the most aerially out of the candidates for the position and he will be out to prove a point after being overlooked during Town's disappointing weekend defeat.

With Nahki Wells taken off in a defensive move, Powell opted for Paul Dixon on the left flank and shifted Robinson across to the centre, despite the fact Gerrard was deemed fit enough for the bench.

With Wallace out, he appears the most natural replacement and his no-nonsense style may be just what is required as Town bid to recover from their Carrow Road thumping.

If he makes it into the starting XI on Saturday, it will be an opportunity for Gerrard to recover his stalling career at Town and he must realise it.

Jack Robinson

Like Smith, Robinson offers the guarantee of being first-team ready and also provides Powell with a good opportunity to facilitate his 3-5-2 formation, which he reverted to in the second half at Norwich.

Although that formation coincided with five unanswered Norwich goals in the second half, it would at least allow the manager to keep the existing core of his side intact.

There is an argument to be had that fielding a 3-5-2 at home to Birmingham in what is now a must-win game ahead of Christmas could impact on the attacking department of the side.

Equally, Robinson suffered more as a result of being positioned centrally but the old adage of what doesn't kill you makes you stronger seems apt, particularly given the lack of resources immediately available to the boss.

And Powell has already suggested on many occasions that getting Town's poor goal difference down remains one of his chief objectives, something which could be achieved with a more defensive setup.

Conor Coady

If Gerrard is the wildcard for the second central defensive berth, then Coady ought to be a non-starter given his regular central midfield station.

But while it may look a bizarre move on paper, his brief cameo there during the 5-0 loss was evidence that he could be the unlikely solution to the Terriers' mounting problems in defence.

He looked assured alongside Hudson and made a number of noticeable interceptions and blocks to steady the ship for Town leading into the break after Wallace's dismissal.

And it was intriguing that he actually began to struggle more, as well as the rest of his team-mates, once he had been pushed back into midfield to accommodate Dixon's arrival as a left-wing-back.

Town are hardly blessed with a plethora of midfielders to call upon after Diego Poyet returned to West Ham United but he may be required to try and provide the same composure and strength he initially displayed at Norwich.

poll loading

Who should Chris Powell pick in central defence for Huddersfield Town against Birmingham City?