Huddersfield Town were dismantled last weekend, going down 5-1 to a newly relegated Fulham side who had to play out the closing exchanges with ten men.
The result has set off alarm signals about the club’s Championship status, despite this fixture arguably being one of their toughest of the season, the manner of the defeat exposed the soft underbelly of the Terriers.
Corberan’s men took just one point from barebones Derby County on the opening day and that disappointment was increased tenfold as the Terriers were ripped to shreds with the Cottagers going in 3-1 up at the break.
Defensive solidity has not been a strength at the John Smith’s Stadium since Corberan’s appointment and with the departures of Christopher Schindler, Richard Stearman, Richard Keogh and Rarmani Edmonds-Green this summer, there is a starting from scratch look to the defensive contingent.
Here are three fresh dilemma’s for the manager to consider ahead of their hosting of Preston North End on Tuesday evening…
Ryan Schofield’s ninth minute howler has done the rounds on social media, unconvincingly volleying a terrible backpass from Sorba Thomas into the path of Aleksandar Mitrovic, who very fortunately sent the ball comically looping into the empty net.
Schofield was less than assured in a Terriers jersey last season and with summer signing Lee Nicholls testing positive for coronavirus in recent weeks, the 21-year-old will likely have to start against the Lilywhites on Tuesday evening.
Three of Fulham’s five goals on Saturday can from direct balls, some over the top, some diagonals, but the Terriers were not able to deal with them at all. Not getting enough men behind the ball and failing to delay Fulham’s attackers who waltzed through the defence with ease.
They were stretched in looking to get back into the game against the ten men when Ivan Cavaleiro’s soul crushing fourth and fifth strikes went in, but nevertheless they were undone far too easily, with the Portuguese player gleefully profiting at their expense.
The defensive shield of Jonathan Hogg and Alex Vallejo was categorically unsuccessful last time out and will need tweaking or freshening up if Corberan is to go with a 4-2-3-1 formation against Frankie McAvoy’s Preston.
Open play chance creation
That is two matches in the league now where Town have failed to score from open play, both of their goals have come from headers by centre backs at set pieces. Grim reading with them in need of a positive result to pull them out of the relegation zone in the embryonic Championship table.
Pipa may return to the starting eleven after missing out through injury of late to add some much needed energy and attacking verve from right-back, it has been a tricky baptism to life in the second tier for summer signing Ollie Turton who has stepped in during Pipa’s absence.
Rolando Aarons and Aaron Rowe remain absent from providing competition for places in attacking positions, therefore the trio of Josh Koroma, Duane Holmes and Sorba Thomas are likely to go again, in aiming to service a sole frontman.
Town come in as narrow favourites to get their season up and running on Tuesday evening.