Nahki Wells future uncertain as times change quickly at Huddersfield Town

WITH a player called Lasagna getting on the scoresheet and another sporting the name of a character in the film Cool Runnings rather than his own, there was clearly potential for Huddersfield Town's pre-season encounter with Udinese last night to be a little bit out of the ordinary.

Huddersfield Town's Nahki Wells poses for a photo at PPG Canalside, Huddersfield ahead of the Championship play-off final (Picture: Simon Cooper/PA Wire)

It didn’t quite work out like that, the multiple changes made by both managers after an entertaining first 45 minutes meaning proceedings soon descended into the usual stop-start fare that fans have become wearily used to in warm-up fixtures over the years.

But, despite the pace slackening in the second half, there was still plenty for the 6,443 crowd to feast upon as Udinese claimed a 2-1 victory from their flying visit to West Yorkshire.

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For Town, that meant not only a wonderful solo goal by Tom Ince – his fourth of pre-season – but also a host of promising appearances from several of the summer’s other new arrivals. Ince led the way, both in attack and defence with the arrival from Derby County twice pulling off vital last-gasp tackles deep in Huddersfield territory.

Huddersfield Town's Nahki Wells scores from the penalty spot during the Sky Bet Championship play-off final at Wembley Stadium, London.

But he was far from on his own in terms of excelling on home debut with Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jorgensen, Jonas Lossl and record signing Steve Mounie all impressing.

Mounie’s arrival for £11.5m along with that of Laurent Depoitre means chances for Nahki Wells, missing last night again with a persistent ankle complaint, are likely to be limited in the Premier League.

This has fuelled talk of a possible move away for the Bermuda international, with speculation in Reading yesterday suggesting a £10m bid had been lodged by the Royals.

Wagner denied that was the case, though the Town chief did add that he understood if Wells was becoming frustrated.

Huddersfield Town's Nahki Wells scores from the penalty spot during the Sky Bet Championship play-off final at Wembley Stadium, London.

“There has been no bid but I admit this is not the easiest situation for Nahki,” said the German when asked by The Yorkshire Post about a striker who is into the final year of his contract.

“Everyone can see how high the quality is of the strikers we have brought in. We also still have (Elias) Kachunga and (Collin) Quaner who are able to play there.

“This is not the best situation for Nahki and, of course, he is a name that is on the market. We will listen if there is serious interest in him but, at the minute, we want to make sure Nahki is back in training. That should be the case by the end of the week.”

Asked if Wells will join the rest of the squad in travelling to Austria on Saturday for a week-long training camp, Wagner replied: “I am unsure at the minute. We will see how everything progresses.”

It isn’t just on the pitch that there have been major changes at Huddersfield this summer. To comply with Premier League regulations on everything from media facilities to size of the boardroom, the builders have pretty much been a constant presence at the John Smith’s Stadium since that never-to-be-forgotten afternoon at Wembley on May 29.

The on-going work meant the Kilner Bank and the lower tier of the main stand had to remain closed last night.

Among the changes has been the removal of the old TV gantry, the skeleton of its replacement now in place where previously the back two or three rows could be found. The dugouts, too, have gone, while the boardroom and executive lounge on the second floor of the main stand are also very much ‘work in projects’ at the moment.

Premier League regulations also dictate the dressing rooms requiring a revamp, which last night meant Town had to change at their Canalside training complex before being bussed along Leeds Road to the stadium.

The change of routine failed to disrupt the home side in the first half against a Udinese side who finished 13th in Serie A last term.

Huddersfield went ahead inside nine minutes, Ince beating two men with a quick turn of pace before drilling a low shot beyond Simone Scuffet in the visitors’ goal. Udinese’s equaliser came 11 minutes before half-time, the deliciously named Kevin Lasagna beating Lossl after having the chance rather put on a plate for him by a Dimitri Cavare mistake.

The trialist right-back was guilty of a sloppy pass to Lasagna, who after exchanging passes with Jakub Jankto, finished with aplomb from 15 yards.

Cavare making a meal of the pass was unfortunate, as otherwise the trialist impressed and Wagner confirmed afterwards he will join the squad in Austria before a decision is made on his future.

Jorgensen – the Town man who prefers to go by the nickname ‘Zanka’ on his shirt, a character from the film Cool Runnings – was another to catch the eye. Kasey Palmer, on his first home appearance since last February, continued to impress with his eye for the sort of pass that can open up even the stingiest of defences.

Despite that, Udinese triumphed thanks to Ryder Matos reacting quickest to reach the rebound from an Andrija Balic free-kick that had cannoned against the crossbar in the 75th minute.