CHRIS POWELL believes that Huddersfield Town fans should lay off Jacob Butterfield when he makes his first return to the club with Derby County tomorrow.
Butterfield moved to the Rams for a deal worth £4m on transfer deadline day, with Town chairman Dean Hoyle saying the club’s hand was forced with the midfielder intent on moving on.
Powell admits he would rather Butterfield was still a Town player, but understands his reasons for wanting to leave and is looking forward to catching up with him tomorrow.
Powell said: “He was a key player last year, no doubt, and excited fans in many different ways and is genuinely two-footed, which is rare these days.
“We do miss him, but we move on.
“He went with my best wishes and we wish him well. I am sure some will wish Jacob he was still here, namely me.
“But I am sure the fans will understand that, for us, the move was good and he wanted to go.”
Meanwhile, Powell has stressed the importance of under-fire targetman Ishmael Miller to his Town line-up and says he is playing a “vital role” despite not scoring in his past 18 games.
Miller has come in for some flak from supporters recently, with the 28-year-old having not netted since scoring in the 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday on Easter Monday.
But Powell says his physical attributes and ability to lead the line, which have enabled other attack-minded players to prosper, should not be underestimated.
Powell said: “All strikers understand they are judged on goals. But every team we play, after the game, say they were most worried about Ishmael.
“He has done brilliant for us and you couldn’t dismiss what he did for us against Charlton, Bolton, (Nottingham) Forest to an extent and Ipswich, where he maybe got in positions where he should have put chances away.
“He takes such a buffeting, that he actually gives Nahki (Wells), Sean (Scannell) and Harry (Bunn) more chance to get in dangerous areas.
“Of course, he wants to score and understands that. But I have complete faith in him and he is doing a superb role for us.
“The team recognise what an important job he is doing.
“He is getting those opportunities, you would worry if he wasn’t. You just want one to fall for him now.”