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Huddersfield Town A.F.C

Huddersfield Town get a ‘proper leader’ as Michael Duff gets boardroom praise



Huddersfield Town sporting director Mark Cartwright has described Michael Duff as a “proper leader” upon the new head coach taking the reins at the John Smith’s Stadium. The Terriers opted to bring in the former Cheltenham Town, Barnsley and Swansea City boss on Monday to oversee the club’s first League One campaign for 12 years.

Town moved quickly to appoint Duff following the departure of Andre Breitenreiter, who chose to leave following the club’s relegation from the Championship. Upon Duff’s appointment, Cartwright has stressed the importance of the “leadership” that the new head coach will bring, as the club looks to rebuild heading into League One.

Asked about the qualities that Duff has, Cartwright said: “I think the character of Michael is exemplary. I spoke to a lot of people about that. I think we did a lot of due diligence on Michael in the way he played, and the sort of character he is, and like I said before about the non-negotiables (his teams being fit, strong and organised), these are things that resonated with us.


“As we look to put things in place in the background, we have to have that type of character. We have to have a proper leader at the helm, and I think if you go back through Michael’s career, if you speak to people like Sean Dyche, that’s exactly what Michael is. He’s a real leader, and he can give that to the group, and that’s what we need at the moment. We need leaders, we need leadership, to steer the ship in the right direction.”

Duff made an impressive start to his managerial career with his first two clubs, guiding Cheltenham Town to the League Two title in 2021, before taking Barnsley to the League One play-off final the following year. Swansea City then paid a “significant compensation package” to bring in Duff from Oakwell last summer, but his time in south Wales didn’t go to plan, with the 46-year-old sacked in December with the Swans sitting 18th in the Championship table.

Duff spent five months out of the game before returning to the dugout with the Terriers, and Cartwright believes it will be beneficial to have a refreshed character at the helm as they seek to get to work on correcting things following relegation. “I can see a re-energised Michael in front of me now, and given that we need to re-energise this club, I think that’s absolutely perfect,” the sporting director added.

“It’s the right fit, right time, and I’m really looking forward to working with Michael for a long time. When Andre was leaving, we knew that this had to be done as quickly as possible, and I think that’s where we moved quickly, because we’ve got a lot to do.

“I think it’s enjoyable to have an enthusiastic manager as well, that’s he’s here, he’s ready and keen to work. We’ve got a lot of rebuilding to do, and we’re fully aligned.”

Remarkably, Duff is the sixth permanent boss that Town have appointed in less than two years, and Cartwright acknowledged that the trend cannot continue.

“We need to be stable, we have to be stable,” the sporting director said. “I think that’s one of the beauties with Michael, he’s got the experience and knowledge of the league. He’s also had successes, and when we spoke recently, the reflections on the failings I think are also important for everybody. You have to be able to reflect, because you will learn from that. We’re all doing that as we go through life.

“One hundred per cent, we want stability. Stability breeds success and then helps you build success, and that would be the plan moving forward.”