Huddersfield Town: Jordan Rhodes interview

Twenty-three goals and a plethora of plaudits and accolades, Jordan Rhodes enjoyed a dream first season at Huddersfield Town.

Backing it up would always be difficult but the hotshot is already halfway there, though he insists that promotion as a whole is the only goal that matters.

Signed from Ipswich Town back in the summer of 2009, Rhodes made a huge impression in his first season at the Galpharm last term, not least with his impressive goal tally, and all as a teenager.

The marksman turned 20 in February and the landmark 21st is now just around the corner but by then the goal haul may also be nearing the 20s with the forward on 11 heading into yesterday's top-of-the-table clash with Brighton.

By his own admittance Rhodes enjoyed a first season like no other – tainted only by heartache in the play-offs – and concedes that, on a personal level at least, season 2009-10 would always be nigh on

impossible to surpass.

Still, the Oldham-born ace is giving it a good go and is desperately hoping this year there is no promotion despair to sour the end of term report.

Reflecting on his first season with the Terriers, and how this one might compare, Rhodes told Yorkshire Sport: "Obviously, to hit 22 goals in my first full season of playing senior football, or professional football as you will, I couldn't have dreamt of a better season.

"And to have double figures before Christmas is obviously really pleasing as well.

"After last year it was going to be tough, but I don't set myself any goals or anything like that.

"As long as we get to where we want to be at the end of the year. If I have to sacrifice a few goals for the team getting promotion, or getting to Wembley via the Johnstone's Paint Trophy or any sort of situation really, I would do that.

"I would be more than happy to sacrifice goals for a little bit of Huddersfield Town success.

"I've been delighted to get 11 so far," he said. "It's picked up just of late and I've got five in five or something. So it's going okay.

"I think we'd have taken being in three cup competitions – the FA Cup third round with a good draw at home, being in the semi-final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy and also in the play-off places in the league and still very much open and much to take from it.

"We've still not yet hit full form and I think we're pretty pleased with the start we've made."

Rhodes was certainly sharp out of the blocks with two goals in Huddersfield's opening two games this term but, after something of an Autumn lull, the 6ft 1in hitman is undoubtedly in fine fettle for the winter.

He bagged a brace in the recent league thrashing of the MK Dons and the 20-year-old was also on the scoresheet in the FA Cup rout of Macclesfield.

Few were rolling their eyes more at the recent disruption caused by the big freeze than Rhodes – the icy blast stalling his and Huddersfield's' progress – but the marksman insists he has simply been carrying on as normal whether training be indoors or out.

"It's been tough and it's not the same as training on the grass every day as training indoors," he said.

"But you can't use that's an excuse – and I think everyone is in the same boat anyway – and it's not really that much of a change.

"There are still balls, there are still players out there and there is still a man between the goals and at the end of the day you've got to get the ball past him.

"Nothing's changed really."

Indeed, the only recent change for Rhodes has been an off-field and extremely beneficial one with the rest of his family moving up from Ipswich to Yorkshire to join the Huddersfield forward and his goalkeeping coach dad, Andy, who works at League One neighbours Sheffield Wednesday.

Rhodes admits he is delighted to have all of his family close at hand and says it should make for an extra special Christmas.

"It's good now in that all my family have moved up from Ipswich," he confirmed. "They are all around the house here in Huddersfield and Holmfirth, and with my dad being at Sheffield Wednesday he is only a 20-minute drive away.

"My sister's up at school here, my brother works in Leeds and we are quite a close family so it's nice to have everyone around at Christmas a year or so down the line.

"It's nice having everyone around.

"There are no special plans, just being close and enjoying the nice winter weather!"

That winter weather will ultimately determine the fulfilment or otherwise of Huddersfield's upcoming games with Tuesday night's JP Trophy semi at Tranmere next on the agenda.

However, League One and promotion remains the club's bread and butter, with the league games set to come thick and fast in the festive period with clashes against Brentford, Hartlepool, Southampton, Carlisle and Wednesday all on the agenda before Town's FA Cup clash with Dover on January 8.

Rhodes knows one area Town will never be found lacking in is squad strength in depth, with top-class experience to boot.

"It's a great squad we've got here and we've got players within the squad that have got international caps to their names," he said.

"Joey Gudjonsson, Alan Lee, Peter Clarke and Damien Johnson, it's really good for the club, and especially with having young players around, that we've got these international players around with all their experience and know how.

"It's great to have players like that around."

That ultimately means more competition for places – including upfront – and 34 goals and counting or not even Rhodes is not guaranteed a starting berth.

The latest addition to the squad is Arsenal youngster Benik Afobe and Rhodes has been mightily impressed with the teenager, but knows that now means five fit strikers all champing at the bit for a first team spot.

Rhodes pulls no punches in admitting he would love nothing more than to play week-in, week-out but accepts that Town having a quintet of striking talent only increases the chances of that one goal that matters – promotion for Huddersfield Town.

"Benik's shown maturity beyond his years and he's been good to have around the place really," he said.

"It's great also that we have got Lee Novak back. Joe Gardiner is obviously available and then there is Alan Lee and me as well.

"There are five strikers who are all hungry for two places and it's good for competition.

"It's good for the club and good for Huddersfield Town to have hungry strikers who want to play week-in, week-out.

"It can only be good for Huddersfield really.

"I've got my run in the side at the moment and I'm just taking each game as it comes and trying to do my best at the current time.

"Hopefully, that's enough and I can keep on getting a few goals."

Elland Road.

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