Why Lewis O’Brien is happy to follow ‘general’ orders in Huddersfield Town revival

Emerging: Huddersfield Town's Lewis O'Brien. Picture: Tony Johnson
Emerging: Huddersfield Town's Lewis O'Brien. Picture: Tony Johnson
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HUDDERSFIELD TOWN midfield player Lewis O’Brien has revealed that some stern words of wisdom from experienced ‘old stager’ Jonathan Hogg are keeping him on his toes.

O’Brien has provided one of the stories of the campaign for Town following his outstanding emergence following a season on loan at West Yorkshire neighbours Bradford City in 2018-19.

The 21-year-old provided a key contribution for the Terriers’ pivotal second goal in Saturday’s Yorkshire derby with Barnsley, which the hosts won 2-1.

It was a day when man-of-the-match honours belonged to Hogg, who produced a performance of drive, energy and seniority amid the derby cauldron.

O’Brien said: “I am not disappointed at all (in not being man-of-the-match). We all work as hard as each other and battle in the midfield and it is about time that he got one. He deserved it.

“It is quite scary when he (Hogg) shouts at you! But you need it sometimes, like when I did a bad free-kick and they went on the counter. You need it to reset yourself.

“You could say it is in a nice way. But when you are on the pitch, it is different to when you are off it. You can get shouted at on the pitch and have a go at each other, but as soon as you are off it, you are friends. It is the best way to do it.

“But he is a top guy. He is the ‘general.’

“We are different players. But we kind of play the same position. He’s more defensive-minded and I am more box to box. But he has brought my defensive game on so much and for him to be behind me and tell me what to do is great to have.

“Since they (the Cowleys) have come in, we have had the tough love and we have been demanding of each other. When you get what you want out on the pitch, it is a great feeling.”

Victory extended Danny Cowley’s unbeaten run to six Championship matches with Huddersfield starting to look up the table as opposed to over their shoulders,.

O’Brien admits that the win helped make up for a disappointing home performance against Middlesbrough as Town were able to bank four points from two important matches against sides around them in the table.

“We have gone six unbeaten now and the whole of October in not losing. We were actually disappointed last Wednesday with a point, but to win this makes it 10 times better,” he added.

“We could have seen the game out better and had a few chances to make it 3-0. If it was 3-0, their goal would not have got to us as much. But we dealt with it well and battled until the end and got the three points.”

On his own rise, he said: “It has been brilliant to come into the first team after being in the academy for so long and have the impact I have had. I have always believed in myself and am glad to get the opportunity.”

Defeat at Huddersfield extended rock-bottom Barnsley’s winless sequence at Championship level to 13 matches, with the Reds effectively five points adrift of safety ahead of Friday night’s televised home game against Bristol City, managed by ex-Oakwell chief Lee Johnson.

It remains to be seen if caretaker coach Adam Murray takes charge for a fourth game, with the Reds hierarchy likely to be assessing their options this week.

Murray said: “I do speak to them regularly and understand they are in a process. However long that process is, it is up to them. Our job at the minute is to prepare the team for the next day and the next game and we will continue to do that.

“If we can use the energy and focus we had in the Swansea and West Brom game and find the freshness that we will bring next Friday, we will be okay. I think this (Huddersfield) game came a little bit too quick for us.

“We just have to keep going. I have said to the players that when you are in positions like this, you can become a victim and feel sorry for yourself and let the energy drain from you.

“But we have to focus on the positive points as much as we can and the bits we have done well at in the last two weeks.

“If we bring that to the table more often than not against the majority of teams in this league, we will be okay and get the points. There’s a long way to go yet.”

Barnsley goalkeeper Brad Collins will be assessed after injuring his ankle in the first half at Huddersfield. Reds duo Bambo Diaby and Kenny Dougall also picked up knocks.

FC Halifax Town and Harrogate Town return to National League action tonight.

The Shaymen face a second successive game on a 3G surface at Sutton United and will be anxious to avoid the 5-0 mauling they suffered on Saturday at Bromley, who replaced them at the top of the league.

Harrogate, on the other hand, stretched their unbeaten run to nine games with a 1-0 win over Aldershot and moved up to fourth just three points adrift of Halifax.

Simon Weaver’s side entertain Barnet tonight.