Loach Credits Webster for Penalty Record
Monday, 22nd Jul 2013 06:00
Keeper Scott Loach says goalkeeper-coach Malcolm Webster is the man behind his impressive record of penalty saves since he joined the Blues a year ago. The 25-year-old ex-Watford man stopped Mark Byrne’s first-half spotkick during Saturday’s friendly at Barnet, having saved from Huddersfield’s James Vaughan and Derby’s Jamie Ward last season.
While delighted to be following in the footsteps of Blues legends Paul Cooper and Roy Bailey, Loach admits he didn’t stop too many while with the Hornets “Don’t check my record because it wasn't great at Watford!
“But it’s going all right here. I think it’s all to do with my work with the goalie coach, he’s taught me to be a lot sharper, a lot quicker and I think he’s just given me that extra time to see the ball and then just go.
“It’s pot luck at the end of the day. I’m not going to say I’ve got any special tactics or anything like that, but at the minute it’s working for me and hopefully I can just keep going like that.”
The Town number one says he’s had a thoroughly good time in pre-season, despite the squad being worked hard by Mick McCarthy, Terry Connor and their staff: “It’s been awesome. You know the manager, he’s very highly rated and the players all want to work for him. He’s made pre-season enjoyable, it’s been tough but you’ve got to expect that as a pro.
“The first four or five weeks of pre-season are going to be tough but he’s made them enjoyable and he’s made everyone want to be there.
“It’s not like you turn up on the first day and think ‘Oh God, six weeks of hell’. It’s not like that any more, and he’s made the club a good place to be.”
Loach believes the Town squad is closer than any he’s known: “I was at Watford for five years and I think this is the best team spirit I’ve known, and we had a good team spirit early doors at Watford. It takes a lot to beat that with some of the players we had there.
“The one thing I always say to people is that the good thing about us is that we’re all together in the changing room. There are no groups, there’s no little cliques or anything like that, everyone is really strong and we show that on the pitch.
“Sometimes we don’t play pretty football, we know that, but it’s all about getting the job done, like [Saturday], for example. That is the sign of a good team.”
Former Colchester United and Bristol City man Dean Gerken will compete with Loach for the role between the sticks for the first team this season and he says they get on well: “I didn’t know him before he came here, but I knew his reputation and to say hello to.
“He’s a great lad. People keep asking me whether I’m scared [about losing my place to him] but I’m not going to be the only goalkeeper in a club because they need to get someone else in.
“They’ve brought Dean in, who is a great talent and just like when Hendo was here I’ll work hard to try and keep him out and he’ll work hard to try and keep me out. It’s just a case of pushing each other.
“Me and Gerks shared a room in Ireland, so there’s no hatred there, so I don’t know where those rumours came from, if there were any! We got on really well, he’s a great lad and we’ll push each other and whoever’s playing on 3rd August [the other one] will be behind him waiting for his opportunity.”
He added: “Competition is a positive thing. I had it at Watford where, I’m not going to lie, I was cruising and you get to the point where there’s not really anyone coming through, so you take your foot off the pedal and become stale and hit a bit of a brick wall.
“I’m not going to say I was treated badly or anything else, I got stale, you need someone to push you, I realise that.
“When Hendo came in I think it showed towards the end of last year when I got my chance. I needed to prove something and I felt I proved it and I feel like I’m doing it this pre-season.”
Overall, Loach, a Town fan and Blues academy schoolboy growing up in Essex, is confident that the club will have a much better 2013/14: “You look at the team, we’ve got Chambo, Tommy, there may be more coming in as well. I just think we’ve got a good squad now.
“We’re slowly building a good, competitive squad and that’s what you’ve got to be in this league. It’s OK being fancy pants and all that, but at the end of the day the Championship is competitive and we’ve got to go out there and compete, week in, week out.
“I wasn’t here in previous years, so I can’t really comment on them. I was here at the start of last year and I don’t want to bad mouth anyone, but I know the fans weren’t happy with what was going on.
“I’d say now is a turning point. It’s now starting to look bright. But there’s got to be a bit of patience because we’re still in that transition period.
“We’ve not had a beginning of the season with the new manager, but if we can get off to an OK to good start there’s no reason we can’t have a stage in the season like last year where we went on a very good run. The fans have got to be patient, but it’s definitely looking up at the club.”
Photo: Action Images
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