Why Tommy Smith could be a real coup for Huddersfield Town
According to The Telegraph (h/t The East Anglian Daily Times), EFL Championship strugglers Huddersfield Town are currently leading the race to sign versatile defender Tommy Smith, who is out of contract at MLS outfit Colorado Rapids.
The 29-year-old former Ipswich Town star has returned to train with the Tractor Boys’ U23 side following the expiry of his contract in the MLS, although manager Paul Lambert has confirmed that the club won’t offer him a contract at the moment (The Telegraph h/t The East Anglian Daily Times).
Huddersfield have been credited with an interest in Tommy Smith, who is currently a free agent, meaning the Terriers shouldn’t have any problems in registering him as a member of the first-team squad once the transfer window reopens in January.
Born in Macclesfield, Smith rose through the youth ranks of Ipswich Town and clocked up a staggering 267 appearances for the Tractor Boys in all competitions over the course of nine-and-a-half seasons, accumulating 23 goals and 11 assists in the process.
The 29-year-old, who boasts of 38 senior international caps for New Zealand under his belt, departed Portman Road to join MLS outfit Colorado Rapids in January 2018 and went on to make 64 appearances over the course of two seasons in the United States.
However, Smith has now returned to his boyhood club. While Ipswich aren’t really looking to sign him at the moment, Huddersfield Town have set their sights on acquiring his services on a free transfer during the mid-season trading period in January.
Having suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Leeds United at the weekend, the Terriers returned to winning ways with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Charlton Atheltic in the midweek fixture, thanks to an injury-time winner from substitute Matty Daly.
The West Yorkshire outfit steered themselves five points clear of the relegation zone with that victory, albeit having played a game more than their relegation rivals.
Indeed, Danny Cowley has made significant strides towards resurrecting the club’s tottering campaign since taking over the reins back in September.
However, with more than half of the season left to be played, there is still plenty of work to be done if Huddersfield are to avoid the ignominy of relegation to the third-tier and push on for a respectable mid-table finish.
To that end, Cowley would need to make a few changes to his squad when the transfer window reopens in January and bolstering the backline should be a priority, given that the Terriers have already shipped as many as 33 goals in 21 games so far.
The knee injury to Tommy Elphick, who recently went under the knife, has rendered Cowley short of options at the heart of the defence.
While Jan Gorench Stankovic has filled in alongside Christopher Schindler in recent weeks, the Terriers certainly need to sign a replacement heading into the second half of the campaign.
With that in mind, securing the services of Tommy Smith on a free transfer could prove to be a shrewd piece of business for the club.
The 29-year-old is still in his prime and the Kiwi’s wealth of experience in the Championship would help him do a better job for the Terriers in the coming months.
Besides his obvious quality and experience at this level, Smith also boasts of the versatility to play as a left-back due to his left-footed nature as a defender.
Jaden Brown, who is probably the only specialist left-back in the club’s ranks, hasn’t featured over the past couple of months due to an ankle injury, forcing Cowley to rely on makeshift options like Florent Hadergjonaj and Lewis O’Brien.
Hence, it is easy to see why someone like Tommy Smith, who has a lot of Championship experience under his belt, would be a massive bargain for Huddersfield Town on a free transfer.
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Having said that, Huddersfield should leave no stone unturned in their pursuit of the versatile defender in a bid to sort out their defensive woes.