Fulham v Huddersfield: Town in safe hands believes chief Powell

Chris Powell.
Chris Powell.
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CHRIS POWELL admits the goalkeeper’s jersey at Huddersfield Town is Joe Murphy’s to lose following the departure of Alex Smithies.

The former Republic of Ireland international, who celebrated his 34th birthday yesterday, has impressed in Town’s last two Championship games.

Murphy, signed last season as Smithies’s deputy from Coventry City in the summer of 2014, will again be in goal at Craven Cottage today.

“I have always been comfortable with our goalkeeping situation,” said Powell. “I know Joe played a couple of games last year but, unusually for him, he also had a couple of knocks.

“He has always wanted a chance, but he also accepted that Alex had the shirt.

“This summer, a few people will have wondered what would happen with Joe, but he’s been great and now he has his chance to be in the team.

“It is up to Joe to take his chance now. He has shown he is ready for it in the two home games, when he has been very solid and competent. He looks like a Championship goalkeeper, which I have always known he is.”

Jacob Butterfield is also in the squad at the end of a week that saw Town turn down three bids for the Bradford-born midfielder who netted the club’s equaliser against Brighton & Hove Albion in midweek.

Despite the speculation surrounding a possible move to Derby County, Butterfield has remained focused and Powell has no qualms about once again starting him in west London.

“He has been fine, because he’s a top professional and a top player,” said the Town chief. “He had been through the mill at his previous couple of clubs, but he’s been excellent here and deserved to win our ‘Player of the Year’. He is such an influential person in the way we play.”