This article is part of Football League World’s “Comment” series, this content strand is where the author of the article issues their personal opinion on the topic at hand….
Huddersfield have endured a pretty poor start to their Championship campaign this season, culminating in the sacking of Jan Siewert, who departed in mid-August after a run of just one win in seven months. His replacement, Danny Cowley, inherits a Terriers squad in desperate need of points to get their season underway.
With the arrival of Cowley in West Yorkshire, there is a renewed sense of optimism around the John Smith’s Stadium that the newly installed management team will be able to get the club moving in the right direction as they seek to push higher up the table.
Much of this optimism will be greatly determined by how much Cowley can get out of Huddersfield’s key man, Karlan Grant, with the 21 year-old having still managed to find the net four times in his first seven games despite the team’s overall poor form as a collective.
One of the key determining factors to how Grant performs is the position from which he is deployed in the starting 11, with new manager, Cowley starting him on the left of a narrow front three against Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday.
A tactical change which was explained in detail by the former Lincoln boss, who told ExaminerLive.co.uk: “If you look at Karlan Grant’s career to date, he had a loan spell at Crawley where they played in a 4-2-3-1 and he rolled in off the left and did that fantastically well.
“He then went back to Charlton and played on the left [side of the attack in front of] a diamond and when you play in a diamond you play with outside forwards, and if you watch all of his work there, a lot of his best work was in that left channel. All that work was what got him the move to Huddersfield so we know he can do that role.”
And Cowley’s point can be reinforced by the performances of Grant in that role, which he played in during his early days at Huddersfield when he joined mid-way through the Premier League season.
With one particular performance against West Ham away from home showcasing the youngsters ability to move in between the lines and create goal scoring opportunities for himself, as was seen in the manor of which he scored his second goal of that game.
However, despite Cowley’s in depth analysis, a case could be made for Grant to start through the middle of the field, with the former Charlton man having netted all his goals this season when playing predominantly through the middle in either a central striking or attacking midfield role.
Furthermore, Grant should benefit from being adept at playing in a variety of forward positions with Cowley most likely to stick with the 4-2-3-1 formation, which gave his old side Lincoln City so much success in the early parts of this League One season.
And the 21 year-old can take further solace from the fact that Cowley has always built his sides around a lone striker being the focal point of attacks, as was seen in the cases of John Akinde and Tyler Walker at Lincoln, who both benefited from an increased amount of service that was provided by the three attacking midfield players and the overlapping fullbacks in Cowley’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.
It is this experience of getting the best out of his key players that will serve Cowley in good stead when trying to continue the trend with Grant at Huddersfield, with getting the best out of the striker being one of the key determining factors for how the club’s season pans out.