Huddersfield Town v Luton Town: Jordan Rhodes and Duane Holmes give an extra dimension after ending barren runs

The harsh reality of life at Huddersfield Town is that any alterations to their squad in January will have to be made on a shoestring, so it is huge that they seem to have found more from within ahead of Sunday's game home to Luton Town.

Going into Christmas, the combination of form and the financial situation as owner Dean Hoyle looks to sell the club were making their hopes of escaping relegation look increasingly forlorn.

But two wins in as many matches – the Terriers’ first consecutive victories this season – have lifted them off the bottom of the Championship. They could even move out of the relegation zone at the weekend with help from elsewhere.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As important as the wins were four rarest of Town treats – goals from open play. Jordan Rhodes ended an 11-game barren run with goals at Preston North End and Rotherham United, and Duane Holmes finally opened his seasonal account with the opener against the Millers.

Centre-back Tom Lees now thinks his team-mate is ready to bring the je ne sais quoi too often missing from a season where on-loan Chelsea playmaker Tino Anjorin has been regularly absent.

"Duane has that in his locker and it was a great finish," said Lees of his team-mate's calm finish across goalkeeper Viktor Johansson. "He looked really good and I think that goal will give him loads of confidence.

"I'm a big fan of how he plays. He always wants the ball in tight positions.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"That is probably something we have lacked so far and we are going to need someone that we can get the ball to feet and do a bit of magic to create something.

BACK IN THE GOALS: Huddersfield Town's Jordan RhodesBACK IN THE GOALS: Huddersfield Town's Jordan Rhodes
BACK IN THE GOALS: Huddersfield Town's Jordan Rhodes

"Duane can definitively give us that and we have seen him score before with shots from distance."

If creativity between the lines is something the Terriers have lacked too often in 2022-23, so is ruthlessness when chances are created.

Former Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough striker Rhodes has been one of the guilty men, as has Danny Ward, who has a back injury.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The 32-year-old Rhodes hit his 95th goal in two spells with the club in early October, but had stalled until Christmas.

FIRST OF THE SEASON: Duane Holmes finally got off the mark for Huddersfield Town in 2022-23 at home to Rotherham UnitedFIRST OF THE SEASON: Duane Holmes finally got off the mark for Huddersfield Town in 2022-23 at home to Rotherham United
FIRST OF THE SEASON: Duane Holmes finally got off the mark for Huddersfield Town in 2022-23 at home to Rotherham United

"It was a brilliant finish," said Lees of Rhodes's second goal of the festive programme. "I was right behind the shot. There was a tiny little gap for him to put it in.

"Jordan always seems to just pass it in, even from outside the box. He has scored a lot of important goals lately. I really hope he can get to 100 quickly now because he's a great guy and it will be a great achievement."

The hope is that the wins and sense of added potency imbue Huddersfield with the confidence that was such a big factor as they closed on the play-offs 12 months ago but which has been notable by its absence in this relegation battle.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"It has been a tough season so far," admitted Lees, who was at the club last season. "We are still in the relegation zone.

"We have not had that winning feeling for a long time so it is nice. Two wins gives us confidence and hopefully we can build on it.

"We have got players coming back into the team and I think we look more competitive.

"You saw the subs that we brought on (against Rotherham) and they made a big impact. That was something we didn't really have at the start of the season.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We know we have given ourselves a tough challenge. I feel since we have come back from the World Cup break there is no way we are the worst team in the league.

"But with the position we are in, it is going to be a big challenge to get out of it (the relegation zone).

"Even the defeats against Watford and Sheffield United (in the first games after the resumption), I think we could take confidence from those performances.

"We looked better than Rotherham and that's what we have got to show when we play against the five or six teams above us."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ben Jackson and Brahima Diarra missed Thursday’s game with illness so given the short turnaround, must be doubts against the Hatters. Coach Mark Fotheringham has urged his players to be more careful.

“There’s been a bug going about," confirmed the Scot. "My assistant Kenny Miller’s wee boy was nae been well and my three lads up in Scotland had strep A as well, so we were just trying to keep away from everybody as best we can. Some of the staff had a bit of a cold.

“It’s just down to the changes of the weather but we’re trying to wrap these players up as best we can.

"You’ve got Sorba Thomas walking about with flip-flops on and it’s -6C, and you’re tearing your hair out, whatever hair I’ve got left!

“But these lads are young guys, not robots.”