Huddersfield Town boss Carlos Corberan welcomes more defensive options

Carlos Corberan says the return to fitness of Richard Stearman will allow Huddersfield Town to rotate their central defenders in the relegation run-in.

BACK IN THE GAME: Huddersfield Town's Richard Stearman battles with Birmingham City's Lukas Jutkiewicz at John Smith's Stadium on Tuesday night. Picture: George Wood/Getty Images.

The former Sheffield United defender started for the first time since November in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Birmingham City.

With Naby Sarr and Richard Keogh also fit, backed up by youngsters Rarmani Edmonds-Green and Romoney Crichlow, Corberan has gone from being desperately short in the heart of defence before Keogh’s January arrival to having options.

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Many managers like to keep their centre-back partnerships stable, and in some cases the whole defensive unit, but Corberan believes freshness will be more important in a punishing run of fixtures.

Huddersfield Town boss Carlos Corberan pictured on the touchline during Tuesday's draw with Birmingham City. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

“It’s important to have the three centre-backs we have now in Stearman, Sarr and Keogh so we have the option to play three together or we can rotate one of them because the number of games in a row we have in our legs is going to have an influence on our performance, so to have three players we can rotate is important,” he said.

Keogh was left on the bench in midweek, while Edmonds-Green filled in at right-back. At times in February the Terriers fielded a back three.

Tommy Elphick returned to training recently but having been out with a cruciate knee ligament injury since November 2019, any gametime from the experienced central defender this season can only be treated as a bonus.

Huddersfield also have an extra option up front having signed Yaya Sanogo as a free agent, although the former Arsenal centre-forward will need time to get match sharp having not previously played since Ligue 1 was abandoned in March. With Danny Ward beset by injury, Fraizer Campbell has far too often been the only senior No 9.

Sorba Thomas and Danny Grant signed in January, but not with the intention of plunging them straight into the first team, and 21-year-old Kieran Phillips started the FA Cup defeat to Plymouth Argyle, but his only Championship involvement has been from the bench.

When Sanogo, who has so far made two substitute appearances, is ready to start it will be significant as Huddersfield were notably more direct against Birmingham, something Corberan said they will look to do more often in the remainder of the season. A 6ft 3in targetman could greatly increase their effectiveness.

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