Huddersfield Town: Kevin Kilbane interview

Kevin Kilbane has revealed that he rejected two opportunities to stay in the Championship to help to bring back the glory days to Huddersfield Town.

And after sampling some champagne highs at the start of his career with hometown club Preston North End – helping them to get promoted from football's basement way back in 1995-96 – the 33-year-old is keen to add another promotion to his CV late on in his long career with Town, who are seeking to return to the second tier for the first time in a decade.

Vastly-experienced Kilbane – the subject of interest from former Republic of Ireland team-mate Roy Keane at Ipswich Town – was the surprise new year name in Town's line-up for the League One clash at Carlisle United on January 1, having made the loan switch from White Rose rivals Hull City.

And already, the smart money is on Town boss Lee Clark having struck a winner with the former Everton, Sunderland and Wigan Athletic midfielder pulling the strings in a classy performance on his home debut against Sheffield Wednesday on Monday lunch-time.

Kilbane, who appeared for Hull in their Boxing Day victory at Sheffield United, with an early head injury curtailing his involvement, didn't hesitate when he heard about Town's sudden interest.

The ambition of go-ahead boss Clark and his equally enterprising chairman Dean Hoyle, who has bankrolled his promotion crusade, quickly tipped the scales – with the proximity to his Lancashire family home an added bonus.

Kilbane, who has signed on loan for the rest of the season, said: "I had played this season, although not as much as I would have liked.

"I did have a couple of options to stay in the Championship on loan, but they weren't the most appealing compared with the position that Huddersfield are in, the size of the club and the ambition of the manager.

"I want to be part of a successful team and coming to Huddersfield at this stage of my career, I'm looking forward to getting a bit of success this season.

"The move did come about quickly. It's just the nature of football for you can never rest on your laurels as things can change suddenly.

"Things did happen quickly and I'm pleased it did.

"My roots are in Lancashire so coming here is a big thing as I can be at home with the family on a regular basis and it helps me to be more settled."

Despite only being at the club for the small matter of a week,

versatile Kilbane has already shown plenty of evidence that he is more than capable of stepping into Damien Johnson's shoes in the middle of midfield and softening the blow of losing the Northern Ireland loan schemer for the rest of the season due to injury.

Handed the key brief of anchoring the engine room, Johnson did a sterling job in the first half of the campaign for Town, with the baton now passed on to Kilbane.

In terms of making friends and influencing people, Kilbane –- a Republic of Ireland legend with 108 caps to his name – quickly ingratiated himself with the Town faithful in the derby victory over the Owls, with his calm and assured performance almost as soothing as the result following just one point out of nine over the festive period.

He said: "I think the role in the middle of the midfield is my best now. I certainly feel fit enough; although I probably can't get around the pitch like I did 10 years ago.

"But I still feel I can do a good job and hope to continue in the team now until the end of the season.

"Damien getting injured was a real blow. I've known him for a number of years since youth team level when he was at Blackburn and he's an excellent footballer. I've played against him a lot of times as well.

"With him being out for the season, it meant that they were probably looking for a little bit more experience to help throughout the team."

Kilbane insists that he has already seen enough to feel confident that Town will be firmly in the automatic promotion shake-up at the business end of the season, but they need to show some consistency, especially at home where a six-game winless run in a key spell in the second half of last term damaged their top two dreams irrevocably.

He said: "I've played in every league and know what it is all about to play in League One and Two. It's about getting the consistency and winning momentum.

"I wouldn't say it's been a tricky spell as we should have won at Carlisle, but you certainly need to get back to winning ways if you are going to have aspirations of promotion.

"From what I've heard, it's been difficult at home because a lot of teams tend to come here and shut up shop with very little ambition to win."

Town were certainly good value for victory on Monday, thanks to a strike fit to grace any arena from wingman Anthony Pilkington, who followed up his first half cracker in the 2-0 victory at Hillsborough with a sublime 27th-minute effort against Alan Irvine's troops.

Kilbane fully enjoyed every minute of the cut and thrust of a White Rose derby and was just glad that his new side had managed to steady the ship after Christmas losses to Hartlepool United and promotion rivals Southampton, while also gaining some recompense from the 2-2 New Year's Day draw at Carlisle United, a game the visitors looked like having in the bag after taking a 2-0 lead.

Kilbane said: "Monday's game was a big one and because we hadn't won for a few matches, it made it just that little bit more important to get back to winning ways.

"It was always going to be a big occasion, being a Yorkshire derby and it was a fabulous one to make my home league debut in."

Kilbane is out of contract at the end of the season at Hull and will assess his future in the summer, while very much focusing on the here and now with Huddersfield with the versatile Irishman simply concentrating on short-term matters.

He said: "It's early days, but my first week at the club has been great and we've got some talented players.

"I'm not looking too much down the line. I'm just looking to play some games and help Huddersfield to get promoted."

Meanwhile, Millwall boss Kenny Jackett has revealed his interest in bringing Huddersfield forward Theo Robinson back to the club during the January transfer window.

Robinson, 21, scored twice in a six-game loan spell with the Lions earlier this season but his stay at the New Den was cut short after he picked up a knee injury that required surgery.

In other news, loan players Joe Garner and Lee Croft have gone back to Championship clubs Nottingham Forest and Derby County respectively.

Meanwhile, Town defender Leigh Franks has returned to the club after his loan spell at Oxford came to an end.

The 19-year-old, who is currently having treatment on a slight hamstring injury, made five appearances during a six-month spells..

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