PLENTY is being made of the quickfire return to Huddersfield Town of Alex Smithies today and if he does line up in the visitors’ goal, he can rest assured that Joel Lynch is planning on delivering a welcome gift.
The devilish quirks of fixture fates are such that Smithies is back at his boyhood club today, just nine days after moving from boyhood club Town to QPR in a £1.5m switch.
The 27-year-old made his R’s debut in the shock Capital One Cup home loss to Carlisle United in midweek and it remains to be seen if he or former England international Rob Green – an ever-present in the Championship this term – strides out in goal today.
If Smithies does, then long-shot exponent Lynch will make it his business to fire one in his direction at some point, just to let him know that he is around to issue his own special reception.
On Smithies’s return, Lynch said: “Alex is a great lad and you look at what he did for the club as well.
“I spoke to him the other day actually and, obviously, it’s going to be hard for him because he will be nervous as he has played all of his life at this club.
“I hope he gets a good reception. But it still probably won’t stop me trying to shoot from about 50 yards and I have told him that.
“He just laughed it off and said: ‘Please don’t.’ He was great for the club, but, at the end of the day, we want to put as many past him as we can if he plays.”
For Smithies’ replacement, Joe Murphy, patience has proved a virtue in his quest to establish himself at first-team level at Town.
At 34, the Dubliner is one of the more seasoned goalkeepers in the Championship but age is proving no barrier and Lynch is delighted that he has finally got his chance after pressing for it for a good while.
He added: “Joe is an experienced professional and has come in from the cold and I think he has been brilliant.
“He has waited for this time and hasn’t been a moaner and has got on with his job and it is good he has finally got his chance and all the lads are behind him.
“It is good for the lads that after getting rid of such a good player in Smithies that we can be confident straightaway with Murph.
“He’s really vocal and has made some great saves and his distribution is really good as well and he adds something to the team.”
Town, like Yorkshire rivals Leeds United and Rotherham, are desperate to enter the international break by getting the winless Championship monkey off their backs at the fifth time of asking in 2015-16.
That looked like transpiring at Craven Cottage last weekend until a cruel late leveller in a 1-1 draw, which left everyone decidedly and understandably flat.
But despite a modest start to the campaign, which has followed a pretty flat pre-season, Lynch feels the glass should remain half-full with a bit of perspective afforded.
He said: “I spoke to someone after the (Fulham) game and said it is probably the most disappointed I have ever been. We were gutted as we did everything we could to win the game. But if you’d asked before, we’d have taken a point and we will take the positives.
“Once the first win comes, I think we can kick on and it will give the lads a bit more confidence. I don’t think we have been far off in any game we have played. It is still positive. We haven’t lost in our last three games.
“Someone told me the other day that in our last 13 league games, we have lost two.
“Someone said that to me in the morning and it was a big positive.
“It is just that extra bit that is required now to get us over the line.”