Ward: We're Playing Better Football With More Confidence
Tuesday, 14th Feb 2017 06:00
Grant Ward believes Town head for Brighton this evening in much better shape than if the game had been a couple of weeks ago.
A home draw against high-flying Reading was followed up at the weekend with the win that ended Aston Villa’s unbeaten home record, so Mick McCarthy’s men are looking to make it back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
Ward, 22, said: “It was very important to build on the draw against Reading with a win at Villa.
“I thought that even before Reading we had a few good games but didn’t get the results we deserved – like at Preston when they got a very late goal to deny us victory. It’s good that we have started to build a bit of momentum.
“We’ve been playing better football and had more confidence in ourselves. We’ve been passing it around a bit more and creating chances.
“Confidence is massive in any sport, or even life itself, because if you’re feeling good you’ll do a lot better.”
But it is a tall order to bring back three points from the south coast, since the Seagulls have only been beaten once at home in the current campaign, when they lost 2-0 to Brentford in September, and that is actually their only home defeat in the last 13 months.
However, like many supporters whose mood is more upbeat as a result of the team’s last two displays, Ward and his team-mates have also grown in confidence and an influx of players in the January transfer window has lifted dressing room morale.
Ward, signed from Tottenham last summer, has played alongside two of them – Toumani Diagouraga and Emyr Huws, on loan from Leeds and Cardiff respectively – and added: “I’ve been impressed since they joined us, not just in matches but before that in training.
“They’ve both looked top-notch and it’s good to have brought people in who can add something to the team. They have fitted in well here.
“Every day we’re working on things in training and getting to know each other’s games. The more you play alongside someone the more you get to learn about their game and the way they do things.
“I like it in the centre but I also like it when I play out wide. I just like it anywhere I can get the ball. Before I came here I played as a central midfielder so I’m used to it there. I can play in the middle as one of two or three; the main thing is that I see plenty of the ball.
“I do the defensive side as well. The way I’ve been brought up to play is to do a lot of running. When we get the statistics after every game we can see who has covered the most ground and my stats are usually the highest.
“I’m fit enough to do it so I don’t see why I wouldn’t. I’m always going to work hard for the team, first and foremost.”
Finally, Ward struggled to keep a straight face as he was asked how new boys Huws and Steven Taylor performed at the traditional initiation ceremony held in the team’s Midlands hotel on Friday, when both were required to sing to an audience comprising their team-mates, management and backroom staff.
He laughed: “Emyr isn’t the best singer, to be fair, and he found it pretty tough. Tayls came after him and he was really good. He really went for it and admitted he’d been practicing beforehand.”
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