Stoke City v Huddersfield Town: Harry Toffolo confident Terriers are moving in the right direction

HARRY TOFFOLO’S accent may be more Home Counties than Huddersfield, but his current club have undeniably seeped into his soul.

One of those determined, humble, unfailingly honest and low-maintenance professionals who managers never have to worry about, the Welwyn Garden City-born player is someone who possesses old-school values to compliment his footballing prowess.

He is a player who not only cares about his vocation, but also genuinely cares about his club.

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Since joining Town in January 2020, the left-back has been involved in two successful battles against relegation. He derived limited satisfaction from both as he is the first to acknowledge and would dearly love to sample something else.

Harry Toffolo of Huddersfield Town playing against Stoke City last season. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

“I don’t want to have a conversation next year to say: ‘we stayed up again’,” Toffolo revealed ahead of today’s trip to Stoke City.

“We don’t want to be thinking about that stuff and want to be aiming higher.

“It is not nice. I take my son to football and you go in and you are wanting the Town fans to come up to you and say hello. You want that real community vibe.”

Much like the Town fans who he sees out and about, Toffolo wants to experience something more nourishing. Maybe, just maybe, the green shoots of recovery are starting to appear.

Toffolo admits that the exploits of Yorkshire rivals Barnsley last season serve as an inspiration of what can be done if everything comes together.

It gloriously did in Town’s halcyon era and while no-one would be foolish enough to expect a re-run of 2016-17, you have to strive for something to progress.

Toffolo continued: “No disservice to the players or team who have been here for the past three years, but I joke with the media team and they like to reminisce about the time they got promoted; it was a fantastic year and part of the club’s history. But why cannot we create something like that?

“You look at the videos and we have Heff (Michael Hefele) back now and I speak to him quite a lot – and what a human being he is. Hoggy (Jonathan Hogg) has been through that time as well and we want to learn what happens over those amazing times and take aspects from those teams.

“Hopefully, people can see similarities in that we have honest, hard-working people who want to do well for the football club. But it all comes down to the players, we can all talk, but unless we do it on a match-day, it means nothing.

“But why cannot we create an atmosphere where your son or daughter goes to a club shop and they want to buy a shirt with the players’ names on the back? As players, we are determined to give them back their club.

“First and foremost, Huddersfield Town fans expect somebody to run and relentlessly work hard – the 11 players who start and three players who come on. It is something which I am hoping is coming to fruition now.”

Town have started the season in encouraging fashion which represents a start and some core values which served the club well in more rewarding times – togetherness, camaraderie and desire – are beginning to be more discernible again.

There was method behind the decision to bring in several experienced signings – who appear to be good types and reliable players – at the start of pre-season as opposed to towards the end of it.

It had the effect of enabling them to assimilate quicker than they might have and early evidence suggests it has been a shrewd move.

A four-day training camp in the army town of Colchester aided in the bonding process during high summer, with a number of on-pitch ‘lieutenants’ including Toffolo being there to set standards and drive the culture.

The defender is among a four-strong leadership group of senior players also comprising of Hogg, Fraizer Campbell and Lewis O’Brien, with Toffolo quipping that he locked the latter ‘in the basement’ to prevent the prospect of him moving to Leeds United ahead of the transfer deadline.

Toffolo, in talks over a new deal along with O’Brien, said: “Everyone has got a captain and Hoggy is the spearhead of everything that goes on and he has the final say.

“We then have a hierarchy system and there is no-one ever at the bottom. We want to make sure we do the best for everybody and that is not just us as players, it is doing little things for the staff.

“It is making sure they get a fair share of something. I think there’s about fifty odd people along with players who go to make up our team. We should not have to forget about the cleaners or the security guards who are here 24 hours a day.

“We want everyone to feel like they are together and pulling in the right direction.”