Terrier on the Terraces: Defence is the key

One feature of Town’s performances this season up to now has been a relatively solid defence.

Up to a month ago, only QPR and their mega-millions back line had conceded fewer than Town.

Although in recent weeks the defence has sprung a leak or two, there were signs of encouragement, which the side can build on.

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After last season, seeing a solid base has been a breath of fresh air.

Town conceded 73 goals in the league last season, with only relegated Peterborough and Bristol City conceding more.

Several times the team limped away from heavy defeats, going down 6-1 on two occasions in a matter of weeks against Leicester and Nottingham Forest.

There have been no such capitulations thus far this campaign.

There have still been worrying signs, however.

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Recent weeks have shown up a deficiency on set-pieces, and individual errors have been creeping back into players’ performances.

One such individual error cost Town a point at Wigan Athletic.

It’s clear, after a summer of investment in other areas of the team, that Town still require improvement at the back.

The first to be replaced should, in my view, be Peter Clarke. The club captain has been a fine servant to the club, and he’s the sort of man you want in the dressing room for his influence alone.

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But he’s a limited Championship defender, and he’s already the wrong side of 30. He’s also prone to individual errors which cost points.

His leadership and experience would prove difficult to replace, however. And there will always be a place for those in football.

Ask a Barcelona fan why Carles Puyol is in their squad despite his technical limitations when compared to his team-mates, and they will tell you he’s their lionhearted leader.

And for this reason, Clarke should always have a place at Huddersfield Town, even if it’s not at the heart of the Terriers’ defence.