DERBY County’s defeat to Leeds United could have repercussions for Huddersfield Town.
The Rams have already had five bids for midfield play-maker Jacob Butterfield rejected with the latest understood to be worth up to £3.5m and could up the ante with a final offer ahead of tomorrow’s 6pm transfer window closure.
Striker James Vaughan, such a threat but so injury prone, is also on his way out of the John Smith’s Stadium, having been told he can find a new club during the final 12 months of his contract. He is believed to have had talks with Wigan Athletic.
That is the club Town have brought Emyr Huws in from on a season-long loan and, though he is three weeks away from fully overcoming ankle trouble, his signing could be seen as insurance for Butterfield’s possible departure.
The former Barnsley and Middlesbrough player, involved in a swap deal with Adam Clayton 12 months ago, showed his value to Town, collecting the man-of-the-match award for a second successive game.
Without his skills, Town would lose the one central midfield player capable of unlocking opposition defences – not that he is in a hurry to leave.
Like chairman Dean Hoyle, Butterfield believes the window should have been closed once the season had kicked off.
The 25-year-old says: “I will be happy when six o’clock comes around on Tuesday so it can all be put to bed but it is weird that the window is still open.
“It does not benefit clubs or players. It is strange that it goes on five games into the season but you have to deal with the speculation and just focus on your football, which is what I am trying to do.
“It has been quite stressful dealing with everything off the pitch while still playing. That’s why I think it would be better for everyone if it was all done before the season starts.
“No doubt, it will all start again in January!”
Bradford-born Butterfield was applauded every time he went out to take a corner or a free-kick and he continued: “The fans have been great to me since I came here and I am well aware of that so I am thankful for their support and I enjoy playing here.
“It’s not for me to decide, really. I just know that the club have said publicly and to myself that it would take a really big bid for me to be sold.
“Until a big offer comes in from someone I will be here. It’s out of my hands really. It is distracting certainly. I have just tried to focus on doing what I can do on the pitch for Huddersfield. I have put in a few decent performances and I am showing to everyone that while I am a Huddersfield Town player I will be fully committed to the club and the team.
“I have a contract here for another three years and I will concentrate on that. As a footballer it’s out of your hands when clubs put in a bid and try to sign you.
“Until the club say they have accepted a bid then there is nothing I can do. I will keep my head down, put in as good a performance as I can and, hopefully, win some games for Huddersfield.”
Butterfield, who admitted “it is a bit of a relief to get out on the pitch and play some football” with all the speculation flying around, knows that Town did not come up far short against a team recently relegated from the Premier League.
“If anything we should have won but they punished us for a sloppy bit of defending. A few of their players said afterwards that they had robbed us so I think it was clear for everyone that we were the better team but did not take the chances.”
Town were undone in the 84th minute when the ball was pumped forward from halfway. In a rare break, however, Jason Davidson could only head it out sideways and Tjaronn Chery raced in beyond the far post to convert the ensuing cross despite right-back Tommy Smith’s sliding attempt to clear.
Town had certainly matched the Londoners without creating a clear-cut opportunity against a robust back four protected by two sitting midfield players.
Butterfield’s 22-yard shot had been the only one to test Rob Green, keeping out recent £1.5m signing from Town Alex Smithies, in the first half.
The closest they came after the break was when Martin Cranie, on the break for injured captain and central defender mark Hudson, had a goalbound header following a corner cleared by Charlie Austin.
Sean Scannell, on his way back from injury, had torn into the visitors before being rested and new Middlesbrough loan signing winger Mustapha Carayol also produced a bright cameo, though the little and large strike partnership in Nahki Wells and Ishmael Miller rarely threatened.
At the other end, QPR had almost gone ahead early but Chery inadvertently diverted a low shot from Austin over the bar.
The £15m-rated striker being eyed by Premier League clubs also slid in and was inches away from converting a low cross but was generally well contained and it was QPR’s No 7, Matt Phillips, who produced the best save of the game from Joe Murphy, diving to his right, as the visitors broke.
Huddersfield Town: Murphy, Smith, Hudson (Cranie 46), Lynch, Davidson; Scannell (Lolley 72)l, Butterfield, Whitehead, Hogg; Miller, Wells (Carayol 80). Unused substitutes: Allinson, Lolley, Dempsey, Bojaj.
Queens Park Rangers: Green, Perch, Onuoha, Hall, Konchesky; Doughty, Faurlin; Phillips, Luongo, Chery; Austin. Unused substitutes: Smithies, Emmanuel-Thomas, Hoilett, Blackwood, Furlong, Comley, Kpekawa.
Referee: K Wright (Cambs).