Huddersfield Town boss on a 'special' result after pre-game upheaval plus praise from Southampton rival

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN manager Darren Moore praised his side's character after chiselling out an excellent point against high-flying and in-form Southampton - while revealing that his pre-match plans were badly affected by three players pulling out in the space of 24 hours beforehand.

Town had to make do without Ben Wiles (hamstring), Danny Ward (illness) and Lee Nicholls (neck), with goalkeeper Chris Maxwell drafted into the side for a league debut against a Saints side who had won six of their previous eight Championship matches in an unbeaten sequence.

Town, without eight players missing ahead of the kick-off, saw their injury woes compounded by the sight of Kian Harratt and Jahiem Headley both adding to their absence count after coming off with issues in either half.

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Trailing to a goal from Adam Armstrong just before the break, the Terriers - boasting just one win in Moore's previous nine matches in charge - dug deep and produced a strong second-half performance, deservedly rewarded with Ben Jackson's late leveller in a 1-1 draw.

Moore, whose fourth-from-bottom side visit Sunderland on Wednesday, said: "Ben Wiles, Danny Ward and Lee Nicholls have all pulled out over the past 24 hours so we had to reshuffle the pack and that's why today's result is a special one for us, in terms of the adversity that the players had to overcome.

"There were certain players who could only have so much time on the pitch as well, then Kian coming off as well.

"We can only hope we might get some of those players back for midweek. Wardy was illness and the other two were muscle injuries.

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"Because of the level of games we've got and the small squad we've got, we've had to manage some injuries.

Huddersfield Town manager Darren Moore.Huddersfield Town manager Darren Moore.
Huddersfield Town manager Darren Moore.

"Obviously Kian is a disappointment but it's good to get players back as well, even if just for 20 minutes for Dell (Burgzorg) and having to manage Kas (David Kasumu) and Josh (Koroma)."

On a deserved point for Town, Moore added: "I think so, yes.

"I think the boys felt it was a bit unjust to go in behind at half time, and it's just a lapse of concentration allowing the player to get across in front and put it in.

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"But it didn't alter my team talk as we already wanted to push up the pitch and win the ball higher up the pitch.

"There were chances we should have put away better (in the second half) but I can't complain about the players, and then we got the goal with that cross-cum-shot."

On Jackson, who netted his first goal at the John Smith's Stadium, he continued: "He gets the plaudits today, but Jacko has been really good the past few games as well.

"Credit to him, his defensive work was good and to deliver a ball like that was real quality. We're really pleased with his contribution and there's more to come from him.

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"His performances are getting better and better and being a former defender it was good to see his work as well."

Offering a Southampton perspective, Russell Martin – who watched the game from the stand due to a one-match touchline ban – said: “There was nowhere near enough energy and intensity (in the second half) and we gave them more and more belief as the game wore on as we got a little bit looser and looked more tired towards the end, which was interesting. Maybe we will look into that.

"But no excuses, we should win the game and we didn’t. The goal was coming, to be honest.

"We just didn’t make enough of our moments in front of goal. It’s an opportunity missed.

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"The game was there for us in the first half. The crowd had turned a little bit and we played some really brilliant moves and actions in front of goal and their goalie made a couple of really good saves.

"And we allowed the momentum to shift and attitude to change.”