LEE NOVAK says hard work – on the training ground and on the pitch – will be the catalyst to restoring Huddersfield Town’s Championship challenge.
The striker and his teammates are desperate to tackle Bristol City at the John Smith’s Stadium tomorrow after two straight away defeats.
Losing 3-1 at Peterborough and 4-0 at Millwall has chipped away at the feelgood factor created by Town’s exciting 2-1 win over Wolves in their last home game.
And Novak, one of a number of Town men to spurn decent chances at the New Den last Saturday, admitted: “It’s crucial we bounce back quickly.”
With Bristol arriving tomorrow and Blackburn, complete with ex-Town ace Jordan Rhodes and new boss Henning Berg, on Tuesday, it’s a busy spell.
And the Geordie ace continued: “We’ve had two really disappointing results, but we’ll learn from our mistakes and we’ve prepared well this week.
“We’re still ninth in the table and overall, it’s been a decent start, but we certainly don’t want to get into the habit of losing games.”
The 24-year-old believes that against Millwall, Town were the better side for much of the contest but committed too many basic errors.
“We didn’t play badly in the first hour and until their second goal went in, I thought we were on top, but we didn’t take our chances and the last half hour killed us,” he explained.
“To lose any game is disappointing but to suffer two defeats on the bounce and concede seven goals in the process is just not good enough – and could have been avoided.
“The goals Millwall scored could have been stopped, and we said that in the dressing room straight after the game.
“If we’re not on form, Bristol City will be ready to punish us just like Millwall were, and it’s crucial we don’t let ourselves down again.
“We’ve worked really hard to get ready, and we have to make sure we keep up that workrate during the game.”
Novak will be chasing a third goal of the campaign tomorrow, when Town will be without right-back Jack Hunt, who starts a two-match suspension.
Manager Simon Grayson is hoping on-loan Norwich striker James Vaughan returns from the thigh injury which kept him out at Millwall.
Left-back Paul Dixon and centre-back Anthony Gerrard are expected to be available after knee and hip problems respectively.
It’s Town’s first meeting with Bristol City since the 2006-07 League I campaign.
Town were 2-1 home winners through Luke Beckett and Pawel Abbott, while Gary Taylor-Fletcher netted in a 1-1 draw at Ashton Gate.
City were promoted as runners-up to Scunthorpe that season, and made the Championship play-offs the following campaign.
In 24 league games between the pair in Huddersfield, Town have won 14 and City seven, the last of those by a 2-1 margin in 2002-03, when Town were relegated from League I.
Lancashire’s Graham Salisbury is tomorrow’s referee.