ROBBIE SIMPSON reckons Town have what it takes to slow Swindon’s surge up League I – and he’d love to be involved from the start at the Galpharm tomorrow (3.00).
Spearheaded by former Bradford striker Billy Paynter, the Robins come to Huddersfield on a run of six wins in nine unbeaten league games which has helped them climb to fifth.
Lee Clark’s men are two places and five points behind – and determined to close the gap by beating Danny Wilson’s team.
“It’s a big game – a six-pointer if you like – and all the lads are up for it,” said Simpson, who made his first start since the 1-0 defeat at Colchester on October 3 and only his fifth for the club in Tuesday’s 0-0 draw at Brighton.
“Swindon are on a real roll at present, but we’re unbeaten in six in the league ourselves, and we’re still unbeaten at home, which is a record we want to preserve.
“Our ambition for the season has always been winning promotion by whatever means we can do it. The play-offs are a minimum – and as the table stands, if we win our game in hand, we’d be back in the top six.
“That has to drive us on, and beating Swindon would be a massive plus for us, not just because it would be three points nearer our target, but because it would close the gap on a side above us.”
Clark’s team selection at Brighton, where Simpson began at the expense of 17-goal top scorer Jordan Rhodes and wideman Gary Roberts was also left on the bench, raised a few eyebrows, but for the 24-year-old former Coventry striker, it was a big boost.
“I’ve been waiting a while since recovering from injury, and it was great to be back in the starting line-up,” he explained.
“We played a different system to normal with me up top and Anthony Pilkington and Nathan Eccleston either side, and it’s a shame the conditions were difficult.
“It was a very cold night, and the pitch was pretty bumpy.
“And perhaps, given their familiarity with the surface, they played it better than we did.
“Our plan was to pass and move, and while we did it in phases, we couldn’t find any consistency, which was frustrating.
“It can be hard work playing as the lone central striker, because you are often battling against two centre-backs, aiming to pressurise them and trying to second-guess what’s going to happen so that you’re in the right place at the right time for any chances which arise.
“But I really enjoyed the game, and while I don’t think I was spectacular by any means, I think I did a solid job.”
Simpson also did his fair share of work defensively, and added: “We’ve been talking about the need to tighten up, and that’s two clean sheets in as many away games and only one conceded in four matches.
“People tend to look at the back four, but defending starts at the front just as attacking can start at the back, and everyone in the side wants to do their bit.
“If you can keep a clean sheet, then you only need nick a goal to win the game, and having done that at Yeovil, we could have done it at Brighton.
“Pilks came very close near the end when he hit the bar from a really well struck free-kick, and I also had a chance after getting in behind their defence in the second half.
“Initially I was going to head it, but the centre-back knocked me off balance so I ended up shooting and unfortunately it went just over.”
Simpson, who has made 11 further appearances as a substitute and scored once, in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win at Rotherham in September, added: “I suppose Brighton had their chances as well.
“We certainly wanted all three points, but given the pattern of the game, I think we can be satisfied with one, and if we can use it as a platform to beat Swindon, that result will seem all the better.”