So, we got off to a good start under Garry Monk, scoring two goals and keeping a clean sheet in the process. Getting that first three points under the new manager was always going to be crucial to settle everyone down, and while it wasn’t the complete performance, we got the job done.
In the build-up to the game, I thought Monk would want someone in support of Fletcher, either alongside him or in the hole, and that proved to be the case with Adam Reach playing just off the front. Fletcher, who is one of our most important players, has at times looked isolated this season, so it was pleasing to see moves to correct this.
I was eager to see Garry Monk’s first starting eleven as Wednesday manager, and in a way, I wasn’t too surprised by it. After the QPR game, I was slightly concerned with the inclusion of Dom Iorfa at centre half. It’s a new role for Iorfa, and with Borner having arrived in English football this summer, I thought it could lead to a few problems.
We looked shaky at the back first half, with both Iorfa and Borner seemingly having multiple rushes of blood to the head where they came out of the defensive line and left us exposed. At this point, I was worried, and the first forty-five minutes in that respect didn’t fill me with confidence. However, I think the back four individually and collectively upped their game in the second half, especially Moses Odubajo, Iorfa and Borner, so this was very pleasing to see.
Monk has already spoken about mentality, and I think these lads showed it, especially after a somewhat ropey start. They stuck with it and improved as the game went on, so credit to them for that. Sam Hutchinson put in a shift in front of the defence, and this helped. He could regularly be seen plugging the gaps in our backline and making his presence felt when necessary.
Barry Bannan was named man of the match, and I thought he played well. With us playing two men in the middle of the park, there was, of course, more work for Hutchinson and Bannan to get through. I’d love to see Bannan in the final third more, I think we all would, but I’m not sure it’s always possible. When Bannan had the opportunity, he used the ball well, participating in a great team goal for Fletcher’s opener, and then by supplying a sublime ball for Sam Winnall to wrap the game up.
I’m delighted as a Wednesday fan to see pace out wide, and already we’ve seen how useful it is. Jacob Murphy and Kadeem Harris started on the right and left respectively, with the latter standing the ball up for Fletcher to break the deadlock. Murphy, so far, has been hit and miss. I think he’s a confidence player, but he’s shown he can do it at this level, so I’m hoping he turns a couple of those misses into hits.
We did look better when Adam Reach was shifted out to the right-hand side, a player who I thought did well overall. He got in and around the action and got a couple of shots off playing just behind Fletcher, who was my man of the match. The Scot always puts a shift in and used all his experience to cause Huddersfield’s backline problems. He can also be regularly seen issuing instructions too, and I’m a big fan of this.
I thought we made the right substitutions at the right time in the game too, something which was pleasing to see. Sam Winnall was the first to come on, and twelve minutes later, he wrapped up the game with an excellent headed finish. Winnall showed his desire by looking to get on the ball, and I felt his movement was fantastic.
This substitution also saw us move Reach out to the right, which showed intelligent game management. Reach immediately offers you better defensive cover, ideal for us as we were only a goal to the good. Reach also has the stamina to get up and down and is a more prominent physical presence than Murphy too.
Atty Nuhiu gets a lot of stick, but he’s still in and around it, and his cameo impressed me. I thought he held the ball up well, and he even made time for a couple of great runs too. We don’t have another player with the physical presence of Fletcher, so Nuhiu is always ideal to have on the bench.
Bringing Kieran Lee on was common sense. He’s good at getting on the ball and just keeping it moving, and he gave us an injection of energy in the middle of the park in the dying embers of the game.
All in all, I thought it was a decent performance, especially away from home. There’s still a lot of work to be done, and plenty to improve on, as Garry Monk said himself. If we can build on what we produced against Huddersfield and take it into the Fulham game, we should continue to move in the right direction.