Let me take you back 11 months and the arrival of David Wagner and his promise of “passion, excitement & goals” - since then we’ve become accustomed to the German’s honest and thoughtful interviews.
This is where having English as a second language can be an advantage, Wagner chooses his words carefully, and you feel this precision probably filters into his team preparation and selection.
There’s no looking through rose-tinted spectacles; he’s quick to extract the positives but at the same time quite prepared to highlight his team’s shortcomings.
However, arriving at Brighton unbeaten, there were glimpses of the promised passion but certainly there was neither excitement nor goals – and unfortunately this has become a theme away from home.
WATCH: Chris Schlinder on what Huddersfield Town have learnt from defeat at Brighton
Whilst fans have applauded Wagner’s steps to tighten up the defence, on the evidence of the Brighton match, caution had set in. Lots of ‘keep ball’ and sideways passing, not being prepared to take a chance and play the riskier killer ball.
Was this simply the curse of protecting the unbeaten record? If so, following defeat at Brighton, the team would now surely play free of it.
At that point:-
- Van la Parra – top of Town’s assist table – suspended
- Nahki Wells – Town’s top striker – had just 1 league goal
- Two successive away defeats without scoring a goal
- Five away league games averaging only 0.8 goals per match
Despite Town then sitting second in the Championship, let’s not pretend that Town were a potent attacking force causing danger to their opponents from all angles.
The performance in the second half at Reading was commendable for its effort – if you’d arrived at half time you’d have thought it was Reading that had been reduced to 10 men – but how many second half shots were there on target? Only a pea-roller from 25yds from Mark Hudson that wouldn’t have troubled my 4-year-old grandson!
And so on to Ipswich. At last an away goal albeit not from open play and not from a striker. The truth is that Ipswich are out of form, lacking confidence and overall a very average side and, had Town played with more ambition, we wouldn’t have been chewing our nails hanging on for a 1-0 victory.
David Wagner didn’t limit his promise of excitement to just home matches - there’s a loyal following on the road who want to see more, much more.
Last season Town were shipping goals, and now the team is where they are largely due to their defensive displays. The hour has cometh for some more adventure and for the strikers to step up to the mark and do their stuff… and for Wagner to fully keep his promise.
Simon Thackray is Huddersfield born and bred but has been exiled to the south of England since 1975.
A solicitor by profession, now CEO of Law South Group Ltd, Simon's first game was back on August 22 1964 against Bolton Wanderers as a 10-year-old in a game which finished 1-1.