Huddersfield Town 0 Tranmere Rovers 0: Manager Clark hints at changes as Town fail to hit right tempo

IF this was a sign of things to come, then Huddersfield Town fans will get more entertainment watching their team on the road this season.

Now that Norwich and Leeds are gone, Town will no longer be able to slip under the League One radar and visiting teams are sure to follow Tranmere's example by adopting cautious, game-stifling tactics.

Nine new faces and a reputation for quality, attacking football have made Town a team to be wary of and it may only be in away games that they will get the freedom to express themselves.

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"We will come up against this problem week-in and week-out so we will get back to it on the training field, look at where we went wrong and I am sure there will be sessions on breaking teams down," said captain Peter Clarke after his side failed to produce the quality of performance which had ripped apart Notts County at Meadow Lane on the opening day.

Visiting manager Les Parry made no excuses for his side's set-up and nor should he given their far more limited resources: "We watched the DVD against Notts County and I have never seen a team work so hard as Huddersfield did. We had to match that and we more than matched it and that was the most pleasing aspect of our performance," said the former club physiotherapist.

"We can't come here and try and 'out-football' them because we will be beaten. We have to try and stop them playing football because if you let them they will dance round you and take you to the cleaners. We came here with a game plan and it worked."

Town's captain Clarke added: "If we are going to go where we aim to go at the end of the season, without being disrespectful to Les Parry's side, then we have to be winning games like this at home.

"The football we played at Notts County wasn't there, the tempo wasn't quick enough. Ultimately, we could have hurt them in wide areas more than we did but we didn't get it wide enough or quickly enough. We can't make excuses. We are not here for that.

"Perhaps people are viewing it that we are now a big scalp and we will take that as a compliment but there are no givens in this game and we are under no illusions that we will have to work hard for everything we want."

The only plus point for the captain and manager Lee Clark was that Town kept a third successive clean sheet as they fielded the same starting line-up and substitutes' bench for the third successive game.

Clark will have to make a change at Peterborough on Saturday following the 86th-minute dismissal of Scottish international full-back Gary Naysmith, who slid in from behind as Kayleden Brown threatened to break through the middle to earn a second booking following an earlier late challenge on Joss Labadie.

Tom Clarke may be fit enough to come into contention for Naysmith's position but the manager also hinted at other changes following this below-par performance.

Northern Ireland midfield international Damien Johnson, on a season-long loan from cash-strapped Plymouth, is one who could come in, while Lee Croft and Graham Carey are sure to threaten wide men Anthony Pilkington and Gary Roberts, who were both unusually subdued and failed to provide the strikers much service.

Pilkington's best cross came in stoppage time but substitute Theo Robinson made a hash of his free header. It is little wonder that Clark is continually being linked with any strikers who come on the market – Town managing just one shot on target in the second half.

The manager said: "I thought the only positive to take was that we kept our third clean sheet on the bounce.

"We did not play with any tempo or intensity, we did not pass the ball well enough. Tranmere did a good job on us but we did not help ourselves. When we play with our intensity we cause teams lots of problems; when we don't, we level the game out.

"Damien has been unfortunate not to start so far. He is a top quality player, he showed that with his cameo performance today and he has certainly played himself into contention for next week.

"Our wide men did not fire, which was disappointing because they did it on a regular basis last season. They have to raise their game. Carey and Croft will be pushing for places and I'm not afraid to drop anybody. Nobody's place is guaranteed, that's for sure. I will be watching very closely this week in training."

Roberts, who got that one shot on target, admitted: "We have to move the ball quicker. Not many crosses went in the box and our strikers need service. After 60 minutes the game slowed down and it suited Tranmere down to the ground.

"We were lethargic at times. We need to pass the ball quicker and get our match-winners on the ball but on Saturday we didn't. A slow tempo doesn't suit our style of play. The way Tranmere set up is a bit of respect for us but there's no excuses. The clean sheet is not a positive, it's just a consolation."

While much of the focus was on Town's lack of cutting edge up front, there were a few question marks at the back, too.

On three occasions, Clarke's new central defensive partner Jamie McCombe was caught napping in possession and goalkeeper Alex Smithies also dithered on a couple of occasions with his clearances, being fortunate to see the ball rebound dead instead of into the net when he cracked it against striker Enoch Showumni.

The only Town player the slow tempo suited was Icelander Joey Gudjonsson, who found plenty of space and time to spray passes around from central midfield, where young Scottish colleague Scott Arfield worked hard and almost unlocked the Tranmere defence when he broke between two defenders into the area but hit tamely wide.

Rookie Tranmere goalkeeper Joe Collister was rarely tested, however, although he went full length to keep out a drive from striker Jordan Rhodes in the first half and bravely smothered the ball at the feet of the profligate Robinson late on.

Huddersfield Town: Smithies, Peltier, McCombe, P Clarke, Naysmith; Pilkington, Gudjonsson, Arfield (Johnson 74), Roberts; Garner (Novak 62), Rhodes (Robinson 70). Unused substitutes: Bennett, Kay, Croft, Carey.

Tranmere Rovers: Collister, Darville, Wood, Goodison, Cresswell; McLaren (Blanchard 63); Welsh, Labadie, Gornell; Thomas-Moore, Showumni (Brown 75). Unused substitutes: Miotto, Bakayogo, McGurk, Power, Fraughan.

Referee: G Eltringham (Tyne and Wear).