Huddersfield Town Opinion: Terriers have struck gold with the signing of Tommy Elphick
The 31-year-old veteran was without a club after being released by Aston Villa following their promotion to the Premier League and Jan Siewert’s side wasted no time in snapping up the high-profile centre-back for free.
Deemed surplus to demands at Villa Park, Elphick was loaned out to fellow Championship club Hull City at the start of the previous campaign, where he established himself as one of the mainstays of the backline under former Tigers boss Nigel Adkins and made 18 starts in the league.
However, an injury crisis at the back prompted Villa to recall him from his loan spell in January and Elphick made 11 appearances for the Lions in the second half of the campaign, as Dean Smith’s side successfully made it to the playoffs and eventually to the Premier League following a three-year absence from the top-flight.
Meanwhile, Huddersfield Town are in the market for free-agents and bargain deals, with the Terriers under pressure to cut their cloth accordingly following their relegation from the Premier League. They needed to add more Championship experience to their ranks ahead of the upcoming season and the acquisition of Tommy Elphick is certainly going to enhance their chances of making a return to the top-flight at the first time of asking.
Elphick has spent almost his entire career playing for the likes of Brighton and Hove Albion, Bournemouth and Aston Villa in the Championship and League One, barring a single campaign in the Premier League where he featured on 12 occasions for the Cherries in the 2015-16 season.
The 31-year-old has racked up a staggering 386 appearances in all competitions for all clubs combined over the course of 13 seasons in the lower divisions and it is easy to understand why Huddersfield Town have brought him in as a part of their plans for the upcoming campaign. His wealth of Championship experience coupled with his calibre as a defender and leadership qualities should hand a massive boost to the Terriers in their pursuit of promotion.
To put things into perspective, Huddersfield face the risk of losing several of their high-profile players, including the likes of Zanka, Terence Kongolo and Christopher Schindler at the back. They were amongst the shining lights over the course of the Terriers two-year stay in the Premier League and interest in them is likely to be high this summer, although all of them are under contract at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Jon Gorenc Stankovic was largely on the periphery of the first-team in the Premier League but he will be expected to play a more significant role in the Championship. Even if the likes of Zanka, Schindler and Kongolo all stay put, Elphick’s experience could prove to be a vital factor for the club next season, especially after the Terriers conceded as many as 76 goals in the Premier League last term.
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Huddersfield Town will be one of the favourites to challenge for promotion and the Terriers might just have taken a step closer to that with the acquisition of Tommy Elphick. That said, this move could just be the piece of inspiration that the Terriers needed after a sorry end to their stay in the top-flight.
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