JAMES VAUGHAN is ready to “lead by example” after being handed the Huddersfield Town captaincy ahead of his return from suspension.
The striker’s presence has been sorely missed over the last three games, as was to be expected of someone with a return of 11 goals in 14 outings this term.
Vaughan, sent off in the 2-1 loss at Leicester City last month, says sitting out the derby win over Leeds United plus defeats to Wigan Athletic and Birmingham City was a “nightmare”.
But, ahead of his return in the lunchtime clash at Hillsborough, the Terriers frontman is eager to make up for lost time as he takes on the armband in place of the injured Peter Clarke.
He said: “It has been a nightmare, to be honest. No one likes missing games and I have missed three.
“I was devastated, I had let my team-mates down so the first thing to do was apologise, and then it was a case of getting my head down and making sure I am right for my first game back.
“Everyone saw what happened and I let the lads down so I won’t let that happen again.
“It was one of those things and I will learn from it.”
The manner of Town’s most recent defeat – the 3-1 loss at home to Lee Clark’s Birmingham a fortnight ago – was worrying, with the now customary struggles at defending set-pieces being married with a lack of attacking threat.
Vaughan’s return should solve the latter and manager Mark Robins is looking for a big response from the striker.
He said: “Being captain will be good for him and people will follow his example.
“He has been champing at the bit over the past two weeks and has worked hard to get himself ready.
“I am pleased to have him back and we are a different side when he is in it.
“James is very serious about the responsibility, but just to have him back on the pitch is a major boost for us.
“I just want him to play his normal game. I am not expecting anything extra special from him as captain.
“He will work as hard as he possibly can do for the team.
“He was disappointed to miss the games and is ready to come back in; being captain will give him an extra incentive.”
On taking over the captaincy while Clarke recovers from a knee injury that could keep the big defender out for three months, Vaughan added: “The manager had a chat with me last week and asked me what I thought about it.
“Obviously, I am really happy and looking forward to it.
“I am always quite outspoken on the pitch and try and help the lads out so it won’t be different in that sense, but I will be wearing the armband, which is different.
“It is down to us all out there to show our maturity and go out there and try and win the game.
“I think the lads will trust me and I am looking to lead by example.
“It’s a big responsibility and an honour that the manager has chosen me and I’m really excited about the challenge.”