Strikers Amongst Division's Best
Friday, 17th Oct 2014 06:00
Town carry one of the Championship’s greatest attacking threats according to defender Luke Chambers, who admits he would not like to face his strike colleagues.
Chambers said: “If you’ve got a front three like ours in the past few weeks – Didz and Murph have been on fire and Conor [Sammon] coming in and finding his feet – you’ve always got a chance.
“Conor has been tremendous since coming in and he’s only going to improve, the more he plays. As a defender I wouldn’t enjoy playing against those three. In training I just let them have the ball and stay out of their way.
“They’re a real handful – you know what McGoldrick is all about by now because everyone has seen enough of him. In training you don’t want to go near him because he can make you look silly.
“As for Murph, he’s settled here and he knows that if he is on his game he is going to be playing. He’s a top, top player and when he’s on his game, which he has been since the start of the season, his finishing is brilliant.
“I don’t think he has wasted many chances and alongside McGoldrick he is a massive player for us.”
Chambers’s switch from right-back to a central defensive role, along with Jonny Parr replacing him and Tyrone Mings successfully filling in for the departed Aaron Cresswell, has played a huge part in Town remaining unbeaten in seven games and banking 15 points from a possible 21.
The Town skipper added: “We can go route one if we need to but we can change it so we keep the ball coming out from the back. We’re keeping the ball a lot more and the other week we out-passed Brighton, who have been the main passing team in the Championship for however long now.
“That happened within just a couple of weeks of changing the formation. The team has taken on a whole new dimension. In the lead-up to when I was going back into the middle the gaffer played around with a few formations on the Monday and Tuesday but he didn’t really mention anything.
“He was just trying players in different positions but he spoke to lads like Luke [Hyam] and Tommy [Smith] on the Thursday. He’s got too much respect for the players not to tell them they won’t be playing and he wouldn’t just let them know by looking at the notice board on the Friday, for example. As a professional you would rather know you’re not playing and why.
“You look at our squad now and compare it to what we had at the start of the season, and just adding three or four players of real quality has made such a difference. If everyone was fit there would be some players not even getting a place on the bench and it makes you think ‘Bloody hell’.
“Those guys would be looking to walk into most other teams, if not squads, and if you’re a team looking to challenge for the top two spots you need that strength in depth.
“Jack Collison and Darren Ambrose have added quality. Jack has had a few weeks getting himself right and I think he’ll be a good player for us. It’s just about taking your chance. Jonny [Williams] has come back and everyone is delighted about that.”
Most of all, however, Chambers is happy to apportion the lion’s share of the credit to Mick McCarthy, who will soon celebrate two years at Portman Road after arriving to take charge of a team rock-bottom of the table with a mere seven points from the first 13 league games.
He said: “He’s been brilliant with us all, right from the start when he took over. He came in at such a tough time, when everyone was thinking the worst, and he has completely transformed the club.
“I think everyone enjoys coming into work and he treats everyone the same, whether it’s a 15 or 16-year-old or a 34-year-old. He’s been brilliant, that’s all I can say, and the lads love playing for him.
"You know that if you don’t give him what he wants you’re not going to play – and he always makes it pretty clear what you need to give him.
“Obviously, the gaffer and TC are the front of the club and the management staff, but there are a hell of a lot of other people involved and a hell of a lot of work that goes into it. I think Lids [fitness coach Andy Liddell] has got to take a lot of credit as well.
“The loss to injury since the gaffer’s been here has been pretty decent. There have been some long-term injuries, which you can’t really prevent, but overall we’re in great condition and it’s no wonder we are top of the running stats, week in, week out.”
Photo: Action Images
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