MANAGER Chris Powell insists Huddersfield Town remain a “work in progress” despite the dramatic upturn in form that means the club are tonight targeting a third consecutive home win for the first time in four seasons.
The Terriers host Brighton & Hove Albion buoyed by the last four games which have yielded a hugely commendable 10 points.
After a difficult start to the season which saw Town dumped in the relegation zone with just five points from the first eight matches, they now sit both five points clear of safety and five points adrift of the division’s play-off places.
Despite that, Powell is adamant that there can be no let-up and the Huddersfield chief has challenged his players to maintain their recent momentum.
He said: “We are still a work in progress, as it has only been seven games since I came in.
“But it is very pleasing that the players have taken on board what I like to see. They know the certain things I don’t like to see, too.
“It feels like my team and has felt so from September 3 when I walked through the door. But I want us to be better, I want the football club to be better.
“To a man, the 11 that started on Saturday (in the 4-2 win over Blackpool) were outstanding and I am sure our fans were purring after 20 minutes. But we can’t rest now.”
Town last claimed a trio of home wins on the spin during the first few weeks of 2011-12, a season that saw the club promoted via the play-offs after Simon Grayson replaced Lee Clark as manager.
Powell would love to emulate that winning feat tonight by seeing off the Seagulls and it is no coincidence that the recent upturn in form has coincided with the arrival of his only signing to date as Town manager.
Grant Holt, frozen out at Wigan Athletic, has been the catalyst with his first appearance coming in the 2-1 win over Millwall at the John Smith’s Stadium that ended the club’s 12-game wait to take three points on home soil.
Since then, the 33-year-old has led the attack admirably in both the victories over Wolverhampton Wanderers and Blackpool plus a battling goalless draw at Blackburn Rovers.
Holt’s initial one-month loan spell is due to run out on November 8.
Powell admits that talks have already taken place among the Huddersfield hierarchy with a view to keeping the one-time Halifax Town and Sheffield Wednesday striker in West Yorkshire.
The Town manager, however, is also experienced enough to know that the final decision does not rest solely with the Terriers.
Powell said: “A lot of people have to be in agreement before we can go to where we would like to go.
“We have spoken here about it (extending Holt’s stay). Myself, the chairman (Dean Hoyle) and head of football operations (Ross Wilson). They know how I feel about Grant but, of course, it is a little bit out of our hands because he is not our player.
“I am really happy with what he has done. There is a lot to do before we can extend that. What Wigan would like to do, what Grant would like to do. We are not totally in control of the situation.
“It is up to us to make it a nice, happy home for him. Grant is playing, which every player wants to do. He was so far out of it at Wigan that I think I had more chance of playing for Uwe (Rosler) than him.
“So, it is up to us to make him enjoy life here and so far, so good on that one. I am sure the fans want him here to the end of the season so we will have to tread lightly.”
Asked whether Holt’s wages might prove beyond Huddersfield in the longer term, Powell replied: “That (money) wouldn’t be a factor. If we agree with Wigan, it will be down to Grant (as to whether he signs).
“Financially, I don’t really get involved. That would be Dean, Nigel (Clibbens, chief executive) and Ross, but I know and they know exactly what it is that Grant has brought to the team.
“I don’t think it will be November 8 when we make a decision. We will try to make some headway before then. Grant is more, ‘Bring on Brighton’ and take it from there.
“Maybe others will be sniffing around, even though I can’t talk for anyone else.
“But we have him here and we would like for that to continue.”
Powell is hoping for a similar start to last Saturday’s home clash with Blackpool, with his side racing into a 3-0 ahead inside the opening 16 minutes.
After that, though, the Tangerines were able to regain a toehold before Town clinched a 4-2 win.
“We saw that in the Premier League with Southampton and Sunderland,” he said. “When you have a side on the rack like that, you should keep them on the rack. Don’t feel sorry for them.”
Last six games: Huddersfield Town DLWWDW, Brighton & Hove Albion DWDDDL.
Referee: G Sutton (Lincolnshire).
Last time: Huddersfield Town 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 1; April 18, 2014; Championship.