Here are five things which we can take from our early exit from this season’s FA Cup competition.
Focus on the league
Now that we no longer have to worry about preserving squad fitness for additional cup fixtures, Phil Parkinson can now focus on keeping the players focused on the main task in hand which is of course, survival. As a matter of paramount importance, keeping the squad fit and avoiding flash sales is crucial in avoiding the drop.
Being able to steer clear of the distraction which a cup run often poses should allow us to take advantage of those around us in the league who remain in the competition and are having to consider their strategy in running their cup run parallel to league survival. Lets hope this works to our advantage.
Giving the youngsters a fair chance
Saturday saw Parkinson hand Connor Hall his first team debut whilst Jeff King was also introduced late on to bolster the midfield. Both of these lads seem like they are ready to be integrated fully into the first team as well as ‘keeper Jake Turner.
Whilst we’re struggling for midfield options, the looming possibility of a Gary Madine exit and an out of form second choice goalkeeper, each of these lads have more than enough about them to make their mark and become regulars in the match day squad on a weekly basis.
As they all offer something different, to allow them gradually more opportunities could see them become the next big thing and follow in the footsteps of academy graduates like Zach Clough and Rob Holding.
With the inevitable struggle which retaining some of our key players poses, the need to have replacements waiting in the wings at this stage is crucial. Whilst Gary Madine and Josh Vela seem to be on a number of clubs radar’s, and with us already being linked to players suggests that the search for new recruits has begun.
However, I feel as if we need to be fully prepared to have back-ups in nearly every position queing up to sign as the window draws to a close, when we will inevitably have a battle on our hands to keep hold of some of our most influential squad members.
A truthfully reflective scoreline?
Despite Huddersfield being the better team on the day, this was only down to a very poor team performance on our part. There was a clear lack of familiarity amongst the players as Parkinson ringed the changes and this was arguably our biggest downfall. Huddersfield were at by no means their best and they were definitely there for the taking.
Both of their goals were pathetically soft and in such an open game where it could go either way, we really should've done more to take the game by the scruff of the neck in the earlier stages. Nevertheless, I firmly believe bowing out will be the best thing for us, regardless of how frustrating the nature of our exit may have been.
Is Parkinson still the right man for the job?
Of course he is. You have to remember Huddersfield are a mid-table Premier League side with enough firepower to outdo us on any occasion, even when out of form. You have to consider that in his time in charge of Wanderers, Parkinson has statistically had his best ever spell as a manager and had a considerably higher win rate than our previous few managers.
Despite the few who will continue to doubt him whilst we remain in a relegation dogfight, the fact that he has got us to where we are and given that we are still very much in with a chance of survival, Parkinson has to take credit for most of this. We’re very lucky to have such a passionate manager who clearly wants the best for the club and has done an outstanding jon for us thus far. In Parky we trust.
Let’s hope we can keep our league momentum up now and in the long run, do enough in the long run to avoid the drop. Next up, Brentford away, another team there for the taking and I’m confident that in our current situation and form, we’ll want it more and do enough to take all three points home from the Capital.