LEE CLARK has a new contract and a new-look squad – but his objective remains exactly the same.
Town’s manager can point to a year-on-year improvement in his two and half seasons so far, and if he can keep that going, automatic promotion will be the certain result.
“I believe we have enjoyed an amount of success without getting to the next level,” said the 38-year-old, who has led Town to successive finishes of ninth, sixth and third since taking over in December 2008.
“We have certainly progressed the club with the backing I’ve had from Dean (Hoyle) and the board.
“When Dean offered me and the rest of the staff the chance to continue what we have started here, it was a no-brainer.
“Huddersfield Town are a fantastic club with a terrific fan base, with great plans such as the impressive work going on at Canalside. Together we are putting things into place.
“I enjoy my job immensely and I have a great relationship with everyone I work with. The coaching staff and I are very, very happy here and the one thing we want to do now is take the club further.”
Central to that blueprint is the arrival of six new recruits and the return of two familiar faces.
Fans are looking forward to seeing right-back Calum Woods (from Dunfermline), centre-back Liam Cooper (on loan from Hull) and midfielders Oscar Gobern (Southampton), Tommy Miller (Sheffield Wednesday), Donal McDermott (Manchester City) and Anton Robinson (Bournemouth) in blue and white stripes.
Meanwhile they are well aware of the talents of exciting winger Danny Ward, signed from Bolton, and Damien Johnson, back on a season-long loan from Plymouth, after both impressed for the Galpharm club last season.
“I’m really pleased with the signings and the way they have settled at the club,” continued Clark, who acted fast to fill the gap left by Anthony Pilkington’s move to Premier League Norwich after landing Woods ahead of Lee Peltier’s switch to Leicester.
“We already had a good squad, but the new signings have added different qualities and attributes to the mix.”
Reflecting on six wins in as many senior friendlies, Clark added: “I’m also pleased at the way we have progressed throughout pre-season, not only fitness wise but in terms of performances.
“We had an excellent trip up to Scotland, which helped with the bonding process, and we’ve continued to step things up
“While we didn’t do so well in the first half at Rotherham last Saturday, I thought the way the players responded to my half-time talk was excellent.
“It showed they can respond and put things right, and that’s important, because there will be times during the coming season that we aren’t on song.
“I set down a challenge when the players returned for training. I wanted them to work as hard as possible and make it hard for me to select the 11 to start against Bury.
“They’ve done that and I can tell from observing the lads that they’re up for the challenge which awaits us this season.”