KEITH Hill knows full well that he is facing a huge task in rallying his troops after another disappointing defeat.
The stuttering Reds slipped to a fourth straight loss on Saturday as Jermaine Beckford pounced clinically to score the only goal of this Yorkshire derby.
Barnsley were distinctly second best and with defeat they continue to hover alarmingly just above the Championship relegation zone ahead of a very tough-looking run of fixtures, beginning next weekend with a trip to Bolton.
Understandably, confidence is in short supply at Oakwell right now, leaving Hill with a tough task on his hands in the lead-up to Saturday’s clash at the Reebok Stadium.
After Saturday’s latest loss, Hill said: “It’s clear to see that the energy and enthusiasm levels need to be picked up.
“Football is a results-driven business.
“We’re losing at the moment and you can see there’s a lack of confidence in the squad.
“The players need to start expressing themselves more again, while I need to look at myself and maybe some of the things I’m doing.”
Manager Hill made three straight swaps to Saturday’s starting line-up following the midweek disappointment at Derby.
At the back youngster John Stones stepped back in in place of Tom Kennedy, while Jim McNulty was replaced at the heart of the defence by Stephen Foster.
Up front there was a change as Marlon Harewood returned in place of Chris Dagnall who dropped to the bench.
Also on the Reds bench was Egyptian star Mido, who finally made the 18 - and came on for the final half-hour - after shaking off his injury.
On the Terriers bench was former Barnsley hero Adam Hammill.
After an entertaining first half, the Reds could consider themselves mighty unfortunate to have gone in at the break that goal behind.
After a shaky start, Hill’s men had more than matched their
much loftier opponents, who struck the opening goal - slightly against the run of play - nine minutes before the interval.
And it was a simply-worked strike, as the Terriers’ on-loan strike pair combined clinically.
Simon Church - borrowed just 24 hours earlier from Reading - clipped in a peach of a cross for Beckford and the Leicester City man rose superbly to power a header past Luke Steele.
Earlier the Reds had looked bright and lively, with Jacob Mellis driving an angled effort just wide and Harewood seeing a brilliantly-struck 20-yard shot superbly beaten away by Alex Smithies.
Even after Beckford had bagged the Terriers’ goal, Barnsley remained on the offensive, with Kelvin Etuhu teeing up Tomasz Cywka who fired a shot narrowly over the top.
After the break the Reds did fade, with the talented Huddersfield side upping the tempo and looking determined to grab a killer second goal.
Church charged through the middle before being denied by Steele, while Lee Novak pounced on a dreadful pass from Stephen Dawson and rifled a great shot at the alert Reds keeper.
It seemed only a matter of time before the visitors would add to their tally as almost 4,000 travelling fans roared their charges on, but full-back Paul Dixon was denied by a super one-handed stop from Steele.
Huddersfield were comfortably hanging on to their lead, but the Reds did have the final shouts as Harewood’s acrobatic shot hit the side-netting, then sub Jim O’Brien smashed a shot wide from the edge of the box.
It wasn’t enough, though, and Huddersfield deservedly bagged the county bragging rights as they fired themselves back into the Championship play-off zone.
Manager Simon Grayson said: “The discipline and shape we kept throughout the game really pleased me.
“At Millwall a couple of weeks ago we lacked that discipline and were beaten 4-0, but today we didn’t buckle at all.
“We restricted Barnsley to precious few chances.
“There was pressure for us to deal with, but we did that quite comfortably in the end, I thought.
“This is a really difficult place to come to, so it’s a great result for us.
“Their goalkeeper made some great saves, but at the end of it all I’m pleased to have secured a totally professional and overall deserved 1-0 victory.”