TOPPLING Wolves and the Lions may be Huddersfield Town striker James Vaughan’s sporting mission this Saturday and next, but he is already busy thinking about rumbling the Rams tomorrow week.
And no, we are not talking about Derby County...
Big American football fan Vaughan, a convert to gridiron a few years ago, has purchased tickets to see his beloved New England Patriots take on St Louis Rams in the sixth NFL International Series clash at Wembley on October 28, the day after Town take on Millwall at the New Den – gleefully announcing the news to his 67,000-plus followers on Twitter this week.
That Super Sunday is a little over a week away, but before turning his thoughts to touchdowns, wide receivers and MVP’s, the sporty forward, an accomplished sprinter in youth and talented rugby union player with Preston Grasshoppers, is planning on providing rival defences with plenty of overtime.
Vaughan, who has already made a lasting impression with Town punters after joining the club in a season-long move from Premiership side Norwich City, said: “I am a big fan of NFL and watch it every Sunday and it keeps me up all hours on a Sunday night, so on Monday morning, I come in for training worse for wear!
“I am really looking forward to that game next week and cannot wait.
“It’s only in the past couple of years I really have got into it. You never know; one day I might have a go, I have played a lot of rugby, so maybe that might help me. But at the minute, I am enjoying playing football too much!”
Expect boss Simon Grayson to forgive Vaughan for coming into training a little bleary-eyed at the start of the week if he continues to do the business on the pitch with his workrate, pace and strength endearing himself to fans and team-mates alike, with goals arriving into the bargain in away games at Ipswich Town and Blackpool.
Vaughan’s next milestone is finding the net at the John Smith’s Stadium for Town, already the sixth club of his career despite being still just 24.
With no recall clause on his year-long loan at the club from Norwich, Vaughan, after a nomadic career so far that has taken in temporary stints at Derby, Crystal Palace and Leicester City, at least his security of tenure in West Yorkshire for a good while and admits he already considers the club to be ‘home’ despite only joining in late August.
Town’s encouraging early-season form, which has yielded successive away wins at Sheffield Wednesday, Blackpool and Birmingham City, has certainly helped him acclimatize with their biggest home test so far coming this afternoon against Stale Solbakken’s Wolves.
The Black Country outfit will create a club record if they claim a fourth away league victory without conceding a goal today following wins at Blackburn Rovers, Peterborough United and Ipswich Town, with the last goal they shipped on their Championship travels coming in the loss at Cardiff on September 2 – 295 minutes ago to be precise.
But Birmingham-born Vaughan and his team-mates at Town are determined to have their say on that matter today as they seek their most high-profile scalp on home soil thus far in 2012-13 in front of what is likely to be their highest gate of the campaign yet.
Vaughan said: “Every game is tough and there are statistics that fit everyone. But we know if we do what we can, we will give Wolves a problem.
“They were obviously in the Premier League last year and have still got a lot of their Premier League squad there and we all know what they are capable of.
“But If we play to our abilities, we can get something out of the game.
“Personally, having got a win in the last game against Birmingham, I couldn’t wait for the next game and have been looking forward to this one for a couple of weeks now. It will be good to get back out there.
“I am really comfortable here and enjoying my time and the lads have made me feel really welcome and I don’t feel like the new boy any more, so that is good.”
Many Town fans are salivating at the prospect of Vaughan and fellow loan recruit Jermaine Beckford forming a dream ticket up front and helping to fill the void left by £8m man Jordan Rhodes with the signs on that score at St Andrews just ahead of the international break pretty encouraging.
That remains to be seen with the likes of Lee Novak also hoping to have their say yet in the striking equation, something Vaughan acknowledges.
But with a bit of an inside track of Beckford, with the pair having trained and played together at Everton previously, Vaughan says the vibes between the pair are good.
He added: “I have played with Becks before at Everton and I feel we can compliment each other quite well. We are different, but we can work together well. We’ve trained together and looked quite good and on the same wavelength. But there is a lot of good competition within the squad, so to say it is just about me and Becks forming a partnership is a bit unfairly on the rest of the squad.”
Meanwhile, former England U21 striker Vaughan admits he was saddened by the shameful scenes in midweek in Serbia which resulted in Danny Rose dismissed after the final whistle for kicking the ball away for the crime of reacting to horrendous racial abuse from the crowd.
It is something Vaughan witnessed, albeit not on the same scale, from Serbian fans and players towards Nedum Onuoha and Justin Hoyte in the 2007 European U21 Championships in Holland and he admits he fully understands the reaction of Rose on Tuesday.
He said: “I have met Danny Rose before and know he is a nice lad and quiet. For him to get riled in the way he did was really unfortunate and showed how upset he was. The authorities have got to look at it and do what they have to do. It’s not necessarily just Serbia, but any racism in football in any country shouldn’t be tolerated.
“No-one should have to ensure that during a football match. Like Danny said, he is there to play football and not get abused. I can understand he reacted the way he did.”