When Matty Pearson brushed his forehead after scoring his third goal of the season on Tuesday, it was a playful dig at his team-mates. If he can find the net at home to managerless Nottingham Forest today, there will almost certainly be another.
“A couple of weeks ago we were out for food and I kept brushing my forehead and saying ‘Top goalscorer!’” explains the centre-back. “It’s a bit of a running joke.”
Huddersfield’s defenders –Pearson, Naby Sarr, Tom Lees, Levi Colwill and Harry Toffolo – have half this season’s 14 goals.
“Before Sorba (Thomas) scored against Reading all the centre-backs were together and I said, ‘Who’s not scored here?’ He was stood right next to us and he wasn’t happy.
“It spurred him on to score the next game!”
Pearson actually has four goals this season, it is just last week’s was in the wrong net, inflicting the Terriers’ only league defeat since mid-August.
“On Saturday night I was dwelling on it but you’ve got to get rid of it quickly,” says Pearson. “To bounce back and win on Tuesday, it’s the highs and lows.”
And if Pearson pulls Thomas’s leg he is equally quick to point out the wing-back’s contribution to his tally. It is why he is aiming for double-figures in goals this season, beating his previous best of nine with Accrington Stanley.
“It’s all down to the delivery,” he says. “I had a lad called Sean McConville at Accrington and everything he put in the box I seemed to get on the end of. Danny (Sinani) and Sorba are doing the same thing. We’ve got a left-footer and a right-footer, which is perfect.
“If the ball’s on the money every time you don’t even have to be that good in the air as long as you get in the right areas.”
The squad‘s profile perhaps adds to the spirit with plenty of Yorkshiremen like Keighley-born Pearson, many of an age – he is 28 – where they can look after themselves. Coach Carlos Corberan calls them “self-demanding”.
“I know without people talking to me exactly what I need to get better at,” he says.
“A lot of lads my age have been around football long enough to know what happens. We all school each other.
“We’ve all got on brilliantly since going away in pre-season. You know when you’re in a good group.”
As long as Pearson remains Town’s top-scorer his team-mates will know about that too.