Huddersfield Town v Charlton Athletic: Case of deja vu for Coady as he aims to make impression at Town

Conor Coady
Conor Coady
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IT may have only been a fortnight since Huddersfield Town strode out at the John Smith’s Stadium, but Conor Coady speaks for many in saying it has felt like an eternity.

In the time since Town took the field against Bournemouth in their Championship opener, a whole chapter, not just a few pages, in their seasonal story have already been inked, with manager Mark Robins and two key players, in Adam Clayton and Ollie Norwood, having left.

Another in Jacob Butterfield has come in, while for the third time Academy supremo Mark Lillis has been entrusted with caretaker-manager duties while Town search for their fourth permanent manager since February, 2012.

It has also been tumultuous on the pitch, with a wretched 4-0 home loss to the Cherries followed by a helter-skelter Capital One Cup victory at Chesterfield and a defeat at promotion favourites Cardiff City.

But after fighting considerable fires on the pitch, Town doused a few flames by way of a relieving midweek victory at Reading, which applied considerable balm after a fraught start to 2014-15.

Despite having only just embarked on his second season in the Football League, it is fair to say that Coady has experienced plenty at the tender age of 21.

At Sheffield United last season, just as with Town now, the Scouser saw the man who helped sell the club to him leave the building at an early juncture.

In 2013-14, then Blades chief David Weir became the fourth seasonal departee after Greg Abbott, Paolo di Canio and Nigel Clough. This time around, Robins was in a class of his own.

It is perhaps a good job that rangy midfielder Coady, who joined Town for Liverpool for around £375,000 on the eve of the season, has broad shoulders.

On an eventful first few weeks of the season, Coady – speaking ahead of today’s home game with Charlton Athletic – told The Yorkshire Post: “It seems like it has been ages since the first game of the season and we need to put a few wrongs right.

“It has been similar to what happened last year, just a bit earlier.

“But, at the end of the day, I learned from that experience last season.

“It is bizarre, but when these things happen you have to learn from them and, hopefully, we can all do that.

“It is about sticking together and whoever does come in will be inheriting a very good team who want to move forward.

“It is very sad (for Robins), but it is part and parcel of the game and it’s up to us as players to carry on playing football.”

In times of adversity, you close ranks and that is exactly what Town’s chastened players did in the much-needed victory at Reading in midweek.

It is a toss-up for whom victory in Berkshire felt the sweetest on Tuesday night.

Possibly chairman Dean Hoyle and his club staff after an opening fortnight to the season which few would have envisaged and one which could be bracketed under the term ‘challenging’.

Perhaps the Town hard-core who travelled to Reading, probably more in blind hope than expectation. Or what about young match-winner Harry Bunn?

Coady believes the backslaps are best shared, while being mindful they must do it all again against Charlton today or render Tuesday’s events a distant memory.

He added: “Tuesday was massive for us. We went in with a bit of a game plan and Steve Eyre, Lills and Thommo (Steve Thompson) have been fantastic in terms of telling us our roles and we needed that win to breed a bit of confidence.

“Every player in the team deserved a lot of credit. You saw young Harry Bunn come in and do fantastic and we don’t want to dwell on that win now, but take it forward.

“We knew what people were thinking beforehand. But it was up to us as a club and a team, staff and players, to stick together. That was always what we were coming to do as we’re a close bunch. And the lads here are really good players and we knew something would come about for us.”

On the wanted list of a number of clubs, Coady says he had no hesitation whatsoever in heading across the M62 from Liverpool to Huddersfield and nothing that has happened since, despite a start to his Town career that he would hardly have envisaged, has changed his view.

A more personable lad you could not wish to meet; the Liverpudlian has made himself instantly at home at Town, whose down-to-earth ‘one club’ family feel is akin to what he experienced at both the Blades and Liverpool.

It helps that there are a fair few Scousers and Merseyside-based players to have the craic with on a daily basis at Town’s Canalside training base in the likes of Anthony Gerrard and Adam Hammill.

It is an environment where players mix with punters and the atmosphere is refreshingly removed from the ‘them and us’ scenarios at many rival clubs.

Now for a few more positive results. On his move, Coady said: “It wasn’t one where I had to do loads of research as I knew a bit about the club anyway. I know a lot of players here who have done very well and knew what the club is about.

“As soon as I heard Huddersfield were interested, I really wanted to come here. I know a few of the lads and knew how good a club it was.

“The first day I was here and spoke to everyone, they were all fantastic.

“It’s a club filled with very good people who want to move the club forward and I want to help this club as much as I possibly can.

“All the clubs I have been at have been proper family clubs.”

On travelling arrangements from Liverpool, he added: “At the minute, there’s me and Tommy Smith driving in, in the morning. I think Nakhi (Wells) is joining us and Gez (Anthony Gerrard), when he’s fit, is going to jump in. There will be few of us and a bit of banter as well.”