A YEAR ago, Conor Coady was part of a Sheffield United team that had just booked an FA Cup semi-final appearance at Wembley.
By St Patrick’s Day, the Blades had also won 10 league and Cup games in a row to transform a season that had started horrendously to such an extent that the talk was of gatecrashing the League One play-offs.
This time around, Coady’s run-in is going to be a much more low-key affair with Huddersfield Town looking set for mid-table respectability.
Barring a spectacular collapse, the Terriers will not be going down. Nor are they in danger of making the play-off chasing pack sweat.
However, if Coady is disappointed at going from the excitement of a Wembley appearance and a promotion push to mid-table consolidation then he is not showing it.
“I am loving every single minute here,” the 22-year-old summer arrival from Liverpool told The Yorkshire Post ahead of tonight’s Championship encounter with fifth-placed Norwich City, who are seeking an 11th away triumph.
“When I joined last summer, I always knew I was coming to a great club. This was a massive, massive move for me and I am really enjoying it.
“The gaffer is great, so are the lads and I really have a good feel for the club. That is why when I say there is no difference to me to last year, I mean it.
“I still feel the same excitement I had at this time of last season. When I came to Huddersfield, I knew it was the right move for me.
“Things are turning out pretty much like I expected and I am learning every week. I just want to finish this season strongly and help us collect a few wins.”
Coady spent a full season at Bramall Lane on loan from Liverpool and made a big impression. He made 50 appearances, a tally that included all eight of the run to Wembley in the Cup, and Nigel Clough was understandably keen to keep the midfielder at the Blades.
“Sheffield United are a great club and I really enjoyed my time there,” says the 22-year-old when asked further about the 2013-14 campaign that saw the Blades finish seventh thanks to a fine run of form from February onwards.
“A massive club and one I really hope goes on to win promotion this season. They are a great bunch and have loads of good players. A great manager, too, and I would back them to go up. I hope so, anyway.
“When I was there, we went out believing we could win, especially in that long run of wins. Everyone felt really confident that we could go out and beat anyone.
“There were a lot of match-winners and we got on a real roll. Obviously, the semi-final stands out. Playing at Wembley was an unbelievable experience for me and my family.
“Just to step foot on there was huge and then playing so well made it even more memorable. We came in at half-time on top of the world. A little bit of a shock, I suppose.
“We had taken the lead twice against a very, very good Premier League team in Hull. They made a couple of changes at half-time and, obviously, things changed.
“But it was still a good day and something the Sheffield United fans seemed to be very proud about. The players were, too.”
As United try to go one better than last term in the league and secure a play-off place, Coady’s focus is on keeping Huddersfield clear of trouble.
Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Birmingham City means Town sit nine points clear of the drop zone.
He added: “For the team in general, it has been pretty up and down. A bit too inconsistent and we need to put that right.
“We have played well in some games but, obviously, the previous week was not great with those three defeats that we suffered.
“It was a bit crazy for me in that I signed in the summer and then the manager (Mark Robins) left after one game.
“But since coming in, the gaffer (Chris Powell) has been fantastic. Great for us players. The way he speaks to everyone and gets people on board.
“He is out on the training pitch every day. He takes every session and is very hands-on. He is a good man and I enjoy listening to him in training.
“As for the Championship, it is such a tough division and there are a lot of teams like us, who have been inconsistent. We have all put a few good performances together but then we have also lost a few.
“All that has gone now, though, and we have to look to the future. This is effectively a mini-season of nine games and we want to finish well.
“That will be important, as we want to give everyone a lift going into the summer. We want to go out on a high.”
Last six games: Huddersfield Town DWLLLD, Norwich City WWWLWD.
Referee: N Miller (Co Durham).
Last time: Huddersfield Town 1 Norwich City 3; March 13, 2010; League One.