Big-match verdict: Confident Nahki Wells to the rescue as he lifts Huddersfield's mood

NAHKI WELLS had no doubt he would score Huddersfield's late equaliser and head coach David Wagner is certain the Bermuda international will remain at the club this season.

Nahki Wells scores Huddersfield Towns late equaliser against Blackburn Rovers with a delightful free-kick (Picture: Steve Riding).

Wells turned a mood of despondency into one of elation by clipping home a free-kick over a five-man wall and inside Jason Steele’s right-hand post from the edge of the area in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

It was not enough to give Town a fifth successive league win for the first time since 1999, but it did earn a point to take them back above neighbours Leeds United into fourth place.

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Rovers looked on course for a smash and grab victory after Danny Graham celebrated the arrival of twin sons 24 hours earlier by powerfully heading home their one opportunity from Liam Feeney’s 81st-minute cross after Town failed to deal with a free-kick from out on the left.

Town responded and though the ploy of throwing central defenders Michael Hefele and substitute Mark Hudson up front to add height and power failed, they reaped reward when diminutive substitute Jack Payne was tripped inside the D and Wells did the rest.

There had been discussion as to who would take the free-kick, but Wells explained: “It wasn’t a case of if I can take it. They didn’t believe I could get it up and over from that short range. I believed that it was possible, but I don’t blame my team-mates for doubting it because it is a very difficult task.

“You have to back yourself, stick to the plan and not change your mind. I have probably had just one free-kick like that all season in that position, we just don’t seem to get them as we play a lot of football down the sides of teams and not at the top of the box, but I always back myself to score.”

Wells, of course, first made an impact on the game playing off the towering James Hanson at Bradford City but he enjoys being the spearhead of an attacking diamond in the right circumstances.

“To be honest, I do prefer playing as a lone striker in a footballing team,” he said. “I enjoy the game more. I am more involved in what’s going on.

“Don’t get me wrong, I still feel capable of playing off a target man. I still feel I am capable of that, but we don’t really have that at the minute though I think it would be a great addition.

“I enjoy being up there as a one in a football side. It would not work in a direct side as I don’t have the physical attributes to do what that takes, but, in a footballing side, it works.”

Of his front-runner, Wagner commented: “Nahki Wells is a quality striker and he has shown it before. It was an important goal, which has changed the mood in the dressing room.

“It was important to keep our unbeaten run alive and everybody was able to come out of this game with a positive feeling even though we only drew.

“Since I arrived, he has played this role great and is a natural goal-scorer. If he really stays in the game and works and has the feeling that, ‘Okay I am in the game’ then he will always be dangerous.

“He had at least two great opportunities in the first half and maybe one he had to put into the net. I have been more or less happy with Nahki in almost every single game. He has 18 months left on his contract and he is our player and we are happy with him.”

While Wagner is determined to stick to his principles, a new year signing of a target man would give Town a Plan B when Plan A brings a monopoly of possession – 73 per cent this time – but no goals.

Kasey Palmer’s first-minute overhead kick brought a smart save from Steele but, apart from a flick header from Wells, the Rovers goalkeeper was only tested once more, somehow smothering the ball when Wells got in front of his marker and struck a first-time shot from Tommy Smith’s low cross before the break.

Town ran out of ideas and rarely lifted the tempo to a level with which the visitors were uncomfortable after the interval despite the introduction of Payne and Harry Bunn.

They were made to pay when Graham notched his seventh goal in eight games only for Wells to come to the rescue.

Town should prepare for similar defensive and stalling tactics at another struggling club, Wigan, this afternoon believes Dean Whitehead, captain on his 600th career appearance.

Whitehead came in for thigh victim and holding midfield man Jonathan Hogg, who is again out today, and said: “They will be fighting and scrapping like teams are at the bottom.

“They are in tricky form at the moment, but we have to go there focused on our game and team and get the job done.”

The former Boro man said of his milestone: “It’s nice to reach 600, but I will reflect on that when I am done.”

Of a second successive draw against Rovers, he added: “There is an element of relief in the dressing room. We showed great character to get back in it and it could be a big point for us in the end.

“We need Nahk to keep doing what he is doing and producing moments like that. It gets you up the table and breeds confidence.”

Huddersfield Town: Ward, Smith, Hefele, Schindler, Lowe; Kachunga, Mooy, Whitehead (Hudson 86), Van La Parra (Bunn 59); Palmer (Payne 59); Wells. Unused substitutes: Coleman, Billing, Cranie, Stankovic.

Blackburn Rovers: Steele, Nyambe, Greer, Mulgrew, Williams; Feeney, Akpan, Evans (Bennett 69), Conway; Graham (Brown 88), Gallagher. Unused substitutes: Raya, Stokes, Emnes, Mahoney, Travis.

Referee: D Bond (Lancs).