Impatient Smithies keen to forget woeful Norwich defeat

BOUNCE BACK: Huddersfield Town goalkeeper Alex Smithies. Picture: Tony Johnson.
BOUNCE BACK: Huddersfield Town goalkeeper Alex Smithies. Picture: Tony Johnson.
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CHRISTMAS is invariably a time for settling down in front of the box and enjoying an old festive classic or two.

It’s A Wonderful Life usually does the trick in keeping family and friends happy or, failing that, anything with Santa in the title.

For Huddersfield Town, however, such festive treats have been firmly off the agenda with their required viewing this week instead having been a DVD of last weekend’s five-goal hammering at Norwich City.

‘Nightmare on Carrow Road’ saw the Terriers slip to their heaviest defeat in almost two years as the first-half dismissal of Murray Wallace and some truly woeful defending allowed the Canaries to run amok in front of their own fans.

Town manager Chris Powell spoke in the immediate aftermath of lessons needing to be learned, which is why come Monday morning the Town squad gathered at the club’s Canalside training ground for a re-run of a true video nasty.

Alex Smithies, the goalkeeper who had to pick the ball out of his net five times in just 24 second-half minutes, said: “We came in at the start of the week and the manager wanted to assess what happened, while showing us what went wrong.

“We watched some of the game back on Monday and talked about what we thought was done badly and how we could improve. But then, as soon as that was over, we moved on and came in for training on Tuesday, ready to focus on Birmingham.

“It has been a long wait for the next game, we would probably have preferred another one on Tuesday, if I am honest. The key now is we have to move on. There are so many games at this time of year so we have to look forward.”

After conceding five goals, it is not ideal for the next opponents to be a team who netted six times on their last outing.

But that is what Town face tomorrow when Birmingham City, fresh from hammering Reading 6-1 last weekend, travel to the John Smith’s Stadium.

Asked if taking on a Blues side who will be full of confidence was the last thing Town needed, Smithies replied: “No, not at all. The Championship is a league where teams win big but then go and lose their next match.

“We beat Brentford the week before losing heavily at Norwich. Birmingham lost to Blackpool a week before scoring so many.

“We do look at the opposition strengths but, ultimately, the Reading game is gone for Birmingham.”

The Norwich loss may have been the club’s heaviest defeat since Nottingham Forest beat the Terriers 6-1 in February 2013, but confidence remains high at the John Smith’s Stadium.

“We are looking up the table rather than what is below us,” said Smithies. “We want to try and move into the top half of the table and if we could go on the type of run we had a few weeks ago, then we can do that.”

Nahki Wells, Town’s top scorer with nine goals, will go into the clash without having scored in 11 matches. Despite that, manager Powell has full confidence in the Bermuda international and is backing the former Bradford City striker to come good.

He added: “There is no need to panic or lose faith in such a good goalscorer at this level.

“You have to remember he has been here under a year and is still learning his trade.

“It is part of the learning process. We just want one to drop for him.”

Wallace is suspended following his dismissal at Norwich, meaning Anthony Gerrard or Lee Peltier could come in with Joel Lynch still struggling with a groin injury.