FOR Tommy Elphick, Huddersfield Town’s situation was pretty straightforward.
In early-season predicaments such as theirs, it is either ‘fight or flight’, in his words.
Given recent evidence, there is plenty of mongrel in the Terriers’ ranks.
Manager Danny Cowley has got Huddersfield fighting for a cause again and shoulders that were sagging are now starting to lift.
A haul of seven points from nine against Millwall, Stoke City and Hull City has seen Town start to believe again and confidence levels are being replenished – with players quickly buying into the ethos of the Cowley brothers.
For those who do not, then Elphick sees only one way. The highway.
Their infectious characters means when they walk into a room, they have presence and I am really excited about what the future holds.Tommy Elphick
On the impact of the Cowley’s, the central defender, who was impressive in the 3-0 home victory over former side Hull ahead of the international break, said: “They are so passionate about what they are doing and the detail they go into is second to none.
“Their passion is infectious and you have a choice. You either follow or you do not. The ones that do not want to follow will be found out very quick.
“The manager will have choices to make. But I think there are enough people in the group waiting to come out with that (following) mentality.
“Mentality is huge and we probably lost our way a little bit on that front and needed to get that winning feeling back in training on a daily basis if we wanted to get back to where we want to be.
“You do lose an identity and it is fight or flight. You get a lot of lads who do go into their shells and start looking after each other and their performances become very individualised.
“Good teams win when they are not playing well and bad teams lose when they are playing well and we’ve had a bit of that. But we are getting the togetherness and we’re a hard-working group who are willing to sacrifice for the team.”
Having turned 32 last month and seen a fair bit of what the game has to offer after working with a number of managers – good and not so good – Elphick’s early view that the Cowley brothers have what it takes to be forge stellar careers is significant.
He added: “I have worked with some unbelievable managers who did not have the playing career as some of the other managers I have worked with, where I was a little bit disappointed.
“But the work ethic of these two and their infectious characters – they are so easy to follow – means when they walk into a room, they have presence and I am really excited about what the future holds.
“The people like Eddie Howe, Dean Smith and Gus Poyet – coaches who I have had success with – have been the same.
“It is small details that get you far in this game and sometimes, it can be taken for granted, especially when you have got a team coming down from the Premier League who sometimes still think they are Premier League players when they are with a Championship club who are struggling.
“It is about going back to work and doing the basics.”
Having taken plenty off the likes of Howe, Smith, Poyet and Steve Bruce, it comes as no surprise that Elphick is aiming to utilise what he has learned by going into coaching. Although not for a fair while yet.
“I am on my way and have got my ‘B’ (licence) and am planning to do my ‘A’ in the summer,” he continued.
“I have been lucky. You almost get spoilt. Gus was unbelievable for me and opened my eyes to football and Eddie was an absolute genius and there was also Dean and Steve Bruce – who brought different qualities in different ways to the group. I have learned off all of them.
“Sometimes, after the good ones, you get let down with the next ones as you are not quite getting what the good ones gave you and it can throw you a little bit.
“I have been really lucky to work with some top managers and this opportunity excites me to come to work every day and learn off people who have had a lot of success.”