Cowley hails injury-hit Huddersfield after draw with Birmingham

Manager Danny Cowley was proud of his patched-up Huddersfield side after their 1-1 draw at home to Birmingham.

Town were missing three of their usual back four but were more than good value for the point.

Frazier Campbell opened the scoring for the hosts but despite having chances to increase their lead, they paid the price by conceding an equaliser.

Marc Roberts was credited with the leveller but his header took a hefty deflection off team-mate Lukas Jutkiewicz as it went in.

Despite the late blow Cowley says his injury-hit squad did him proud.

He said: “In 13 or so years in football management, after about 800-odd games, that’s probably the toughest team that I’ve had to select.

“To lose three of your back four in what is already an unbalanced squad has made it very, very difficult.

“But I have to credit the players, particularly the ones playing out of position.

“My over-riding feeling is I’m really proud of the players’ efforts. They showed a lot of fight.

“A lot of our defensive work was really good and Birmingham didn’t have a lot of chances at all.

“For their goal we didn’t react quick enough and that was the only real clear-cut chance they had – and that’s the disappointing thing.”

The first half didn’t get going until 30 minutes had elapsed, and it was the hosts who created the better chances.

Alex Pritchard’s delightful centre picked out Elias Kachunga, who looked destined to score but saw his close-range header kept out by an alert stop from Blues goalkeeper Connal Trueman.

Pritchard, making his first league start in three months, then saw a long-range free-kick kept out by Trueman as the half drew to a close.

The hosts upped the ante after the restart and Campbell’s classy finish put the hosts in front after 55 minutes.

Campbell raced onto a through ball from Trevoh Chalobah and picked his spot to beat Trueman.

Town had ample chances to extend their lead but they were punished 12 minutes from time after a lapse in concentration from a set-piece.

Dan Crowley’s free-kick picked out Roberts and his header took a deflection off Jutkiewicz on its way into the net as City sealed a point.

It was a rare stalemate for the visitors – only their second in 17 Championship games this season.

Blues caretaker boss Pep Clotet said: “We knew this would be a tough away fixture.

“Huddersfield are a very strong team at home and they use a certain style of pressing.

“But we managed to establish possession and I think the result is a fair one.

“We believed in our football, went pressing and got out to the wide areas where we knew we could hurt Huddersfield.

“We always stuck to our plan and it’s a good point for us.

“We wanted to go to the wide areas because we know that the pressing Huddersfield makes is very difficult to progress to the middle of the park.

“That’s why during the whole international break we worked on the ability to play with three forwards, so those wide areas were key for us.”

On the goal, Clotet admitted that striker Jutkiewicz was attempting to take credit for the equaliser.

He added: “I think he [Lukas] is trying to claim it, but I’m not sure [if he will get it!].”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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