Rotherham v Huddersfield: Why Matt Taylor and Mark Fotheringham feel blessed ahead of derby

GOOD senior players and characters are always worth their weight in gold.

In the infancy of their respective tenures at Rotherham United and Huddersfield Town, rival head coaches Matt Taylor and Mark Fotheringham would both nod their heads in agreement at that fact, having found that out pretty quickly.

Both these Yorkshire clubs are not blessed with the financial wherewithal of a number of rivals in this division and don't possess stellar names as well.

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They do possess a team collective which is as strong if not stronger than most at this level.

Their number also includes a group of leaders who are easy to follow and set the example.

The sort of solid, consistent characters and players who do not pop open the champagne corks when things are going well or swallow the anti-depressants when times are tough.

Their number include Richard Wood, Grant Hall, Lee Peltier and Conor Washington on one side this Saturday lunch-time and the likes of Tom Lees, Danny Ward, Jordan Rhodes and Duane Holmes on the other.

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For Taylor and Fotheringham, both managing for the first time in the Championship, widely viewed as one of the most competitive leagues across the globe, that is important.

Rotherham United manager Matt Taylor.Rotherham United manager Matt Taylor.
Rotherham United manager Matt Taylor.

Good week and bad weeks are part of the gig at this level. You are never too far away from either.

Taylor - still in the process of finalising his backroom team with just assistant Wayne Carlisle for company - has been busy forging sound working relationships with senior players.

His admiration is already genuine and strong. He will need them in the weeks and months ahead.

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He commented: "They are outstanding, absolutely outstanding. I wish I was working with them with them five or ten years younger!

Huddersfield Town head coach Mark Fotheringham. Picture: PAHuddersfield Town head coach Mark Fotheringham. Picture: PA
Huddersfield Town head coach Mark Fotheringham. Picture: PA

"You want them on the pitch and in every training session you take. Unfortunately, the nature of the beast would suggest that we have to look after them as well as put them out there.

“In terms of their seniority and experience and influence on the group, they are second to none.

"Hence why they've had such good careers. We all know who we're talking about and we'll be leaning on them in the next few weeks.

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"We have nine games in quick succession and I think six of them are away from home. That's a hell of a schedule and we will need all bodies, young and old, to be ready for that.

“We're at Championship level. We're not going to win every game, unfortunately, as much as we're trying to. Within that will be some defeats that we don't particularly like.

"The players have been concentrated and committed on the training pitch and I'm sure they will continue that.

"Within the group we have enough experience to know that sometimes you have to see out difficult moments. We need to start picking up points."

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For Taylor's opposite number Fotheringham, his demands on the players he has inherited has been intense. Double training sessions have been the order of the day.

He has been busy getting his message across in terms of what he expects and won't tolerate either. While he is driving it, he needs his senior players to reinforce it and set the standards.

In that regard, he professes to being happy at what he has witnessed so far.

In recent years, Town's dressing room has been a self-policing one with a group of core leaders effectively running it and maintaining a strong contact with the head coaching staff. Shop-stewards if you like.

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Fotheringham has experienced this sort of set-up in his time in German football and it is something he is a fan of.

He said: “I have always done that at all the clubs I have been at. At Hertha Berlin, (Kevin) Prince Boateng was like a little brother to me and me and him did it together.

"Here, there's guys like Hoggy (Jonathan Hogg), Leesy, (Michal) Helik, Wardy (Danny Ward) and Rhodes and our big keeper (Lee Nicholls).

"What an incredible presence he has got and what a fantastic boy he is. Whenever he comes in the building, he's ready to play and is vocal and he has impressed me so much.

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"Those guys are massive as they go and manage and control the group. Although he is a little guy, Holmesy is a big character as well. They are so important for us as they drive the message every day.

“Although Sorba (Thomas) is young, he’s also stepping up and taking responsibility in that area.

"He’s starting to be one of the guys who pushes people in a positive way.

"It is impressive to see his development as a person and not just a footballer. You can see them discussing things after training and with their body language.

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"There's a lot of stress and strain on them after the sessions, but that's what I am looking at them to do.

"If they can cope with it day in day out in training, they can cope on a matchday, no problem."

Both sides will experience further bumps in the road this autumn and winter. Rest assured, no-one will go hiding.