Huddersfield Town: Leeds can be caught - Skarz

At the tender age of 20, Joe Skarz is another young Terrier embarking on life as a homeowner – much like 19-year-old team-mate Alex Smithies.

Now, like Smithies, the Huddersfield-born ace is also targeting a regular starting berth of his own.

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Left-back Skarz is back in the mix at Town, the home-grown product having been selected ahead of Robbie Williams and returning to the first XI for last weekend's derby draw at Leeds.

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And there are also major developments off the pitch for Skarz who has just bought his first house in Huddersfield too.

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The defender admits it is all cardboard boxes at present, as his mother is roped in to helping the young Terrier move furniture across town.

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And the six-footer has also nicked a few ideas from team-mate keeper Smithies', who revealed in last week's Yorkshire Sport that he too has recently purchased his first home.

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Skarz now hopes that like Huddersfield's young custodian a regular starting spot can be sealed – and the full-back admits he's also been gathering some inspiration from the shotstopper's new home.

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Admitting he could do a lot worse than follow Smithies' lead, Skarz told Yorkshire Sport: "He's bought a house as well and I have been over there to look at his so I have got a few ideas!

"I don't know whose is better but Alex has done a good job with his house and I haven't got all the things in my house yet so at the moment I would say Alex's!

"When you play football for a job it's what you dream of doing when you're young. It's brilliant that Alex got his own house, he's played every game this season and he is doing fantastically well.

"It just shows that if you put the time and effort in and you are prepared to work hard that the rewards are at the end of it."

Turning attentions to his own footballing developments, Skarz added: "It's been good and obviously I missed 11 games in a row when Robbo (Robbie Williams) was playing and it was just about me training hard and forcing my way back into the manager's plans.

"My chance came and hopefully I took it and I think the team performed well which always helps.

"When you are not in the team, it's disappointing because every footballer wants to be playing because that's their job really, but when you aren't in the team you've just got to try harder in training.

"Hopefully the manager will then not be afraid to put you back in the team when the team is playing so well."

Skarz has certainly forced his way back into Clark's plans, the defender loaned out to Hartlepool last March after being kept out at the Galpharm by Williams.

The young Terrier has over 60 Town starts under his belt, Skarz's debut coming as a 17-year-old at home to Scunthorpe United back in November 2006.

It was the day the former Netherton junior had dreamed of ever since signing for Huddersfield as an eight-year-old, and just four months later the young ace received the Football League Award for League One apprentice of the year following nine more highly-promising


Skarz's career than continued onwards and upwards and following consistent performances under Stan Ternent, the defender was rewarded with a new three-year-contract in November 2008.

He then experienced his first major freeze-out following Clark's appointment, but the full-back showed the right attitude in adversity and remains a youngster of immense promise.

Assessing his time at Town so far, Skarz says he is now ready for an important second stage of his career.

"It's really enjoyable here. I've been here since I was eight and I have been in around the first team for about three years now really, maybe a bit more," he said.

"But I wouldn't say I was young any more, and this is the time where I have got to push on and seal my place more often than I have been doing at the minute and hopefully for the majority of the season.

"I've got another year-and-a-half left at Huddersfield and I'm really settled. I thoroughly enjoy my football here and this is where I want to achieve things."

Skarz also feels his manager and backroom staff deserve huge credit for keeping such a large squad competitive and happy.

"The manager has tried to create the atmosphere where everybody is involved and obviously Steve Black plays a big part in that," added

"He keeps everybody involved, even when you are not playing and even when you are not in the team – it's not enjoyable – but you are made to feel like you are part of the squad.

"With the squad we have got, everyone and every position has got quality really and the squad at the minute is the strongest it's been for a long time.

"We have got a lot of young players and we all want the same this season and that's promotion."

Skarz is now back in the reckoning to help achieve that goal but another obstacle may present itself in the new year in the shape of the January transfer window.

Armed with chairman Dean Hoyle's meaty cheque-book, boss Clark seems certain to bring in new recruits, but Skarz is confident that whatever action is taken come the new year will be best for his club as a whole.

"The chairman has got a bit of money, but I think with the signings made so far have been very wise," said Skarz.

"The manager has wanted those players and they have all brought brilliant quality to the squad and they are all fantastic players in their own right.

"It's just about everyone trying to perform to the best of their ability and just trying to help the team and help the squad."

Skarz is every inch a squad player – with the general welfare of the

Terriers as a whole foremost in his mind – but now he hopes to do his bit as regular starter.

And finishing by assessing Town's promotion chances, the young defender will certainly never lose a starting place through a lack of ambition.

"We just want to be one of the three teams that get promoted in the league," he said.

"If we have to go through the play-offs, we have to do that, but I

still think we are more than capable of getting one of the top-two places.

"I still think Leeds are catchable and we proved last Saturday that we are more than a match for Leeds and every team has a little blip.

"Leeds have only lost one game so far this season so maybe they might have a little blip to come.

"We have got to try and capitalise on that."

Skarz is ready and waiting to do his bit.