Huddersfield v Forest: Powell’s changes of formation paying off

Chris Powell only informs his Huddersfield Town team about their formation on the day of a game (Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire).
Chris Powell only informs his Huddersfield Town team about their formation on the day of a game (Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire).
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WHEN Nottingham Forest visited the John Smith’s Stadium in August, it took a bizarre own goal from James Vaughan to break the deadlock and even the most one-eyed Huddersfield Town fan was entitled to claim that the better side lost.

Stuart Pearce’s men won 2-0 that night to move into the Capital One Cup third round in what proved to be Mark Lillis’s penultimate game in temporary charge.

Chris Powell arrived a little over a week later and, after a slow start, the Town manager has overseen a remarkable upturn in form.

Six games unbeaten and scoring goals at a healthy rate, the Huddersfield side that takes on Forest in league action is likely to be a very different beast to the one beaten earlier in the season, according to midfielder Jonathan Hogg.

“I am not worried about anyone or any team,” said the 25-year-old. “The way we are playing, teams should be worrying about us.

“Lately, we have gone in to games with no fear and that is a massive thing for us because we have got a lot of confidence players. When they are confident, they play well.

“There is a lot of belief in the dressing room before games. Everyone is up for it. It is certainly a good atmosphere to be amongst at the minute.”

Town have moved from the relegation zone to 17th place on the back of their half-dozen game unbeaten run, which has been achieved by manager Powell constantly tweaking his formation.

Last week, for instance, the Town chief opted for a 3-5-2 set-up to counter Ipswich’s three-man attack and the tactic paid off as a late double from Nahki Wells was enough to secure a point.

In the two previous games, Powell had gone for 4-3-3 on home soil as Blackpool were beaten and Brighton & Hove Albion claimed a point.

Hogg added: “It is challenging because sometimes he doesn’t tell the team until the day (what the formation will be). He keeps you on your toes.

“He is not scared to change formation and we have got a good squad here that can do that. It is not just the 18 that are in the match-day squad, we have got 22 or 24 decent players.

“So, he is not scared to use them.”

Hull City wideman Tom Ince is likely to make his Nottingham debut today after moving on loan to the City Ground during the week.

The England Under-21 international is, though, unlikely to be match-sharp with his last league start for the Tigers coming in August.