Ward Determined to Keep Winning Run Going Against Former Loan Club
Thursday, 20th Apr 2017 16:16
Grant Ward has underlined Town’s aim to extend their winning run to three games at the expense of Rotherham at the New York Stadium on Saturday.
The Millers are heading back to League One a year after Ward, on loan from previous club Tottenham, played a leading role in the revival under Neil Warnock that saw them survive against the odds in the Championship.
Ward helped them to climb off the bottom of the table as Warnock replaced Neil Redfearn to win six, draw six and lose just four of their final 16 league games, an amazing, 11-game unbeaten run including a 1-0 success at Portman Road courtesy of future Town signing Leon Best’s last first-half goal.
But while that short-term fix earned them a Houdini-style escape, Rotherham subsequently succumbed to the drop and they are currently without a win in their last 17 league games, taking a mere two points from the 51 available to them.
Not surprisingly, Ward admits to having a lot of sympathy for the South Yorkshire outfit. He said: “It’s been a bit of an uphill battle for them and I also think they’ve been a bit unlucky this season.
“It’s sad for me but we have to go there and do a job because we want to make it three wins in a row.
“We want to keep the run going and get as many wins as we can from the last three games. Every team will say the same but our aim is to try to finish as high as we can in the league.”
Just as ex-Town striker Daryl Murphy chose not to celebrate scoring Newcastle’s equaliser in their 3-1 defeat at Portman Road on Easter Monday, Ward thinks he would react similarly should he find the net this weekend.
He added: “I think it depends on the type of goal but no, I probably wouldn’t celebrate out of respect for them. I enjoyed my time there and it was a great experience. I played a lot of games and that was good for me at the time.
“There was a bit of conflict between the way they played and the way I’d been used to playing at Tottenham. The manager wanted me to play long and I was trying to play short. I was going for the ball and then playing it long but I wasn’t getting the second ball.
“But I learned from it and adapted my game accordingly. That was where going to Rotherham was a big help to me and after that experience I believe I’ve become a better all-round player.
“Every player wants to demonstrate his best assets and I didn’t want to turn into a different player. But you get smarter as you get older and you learn there are different ways to play the game.
“If I’m honest, when I left last season I could see them struggling a bit because when I was there it was a struggle and we pulled off what felt like a miracle to stay up.
“To be honest I don’t even know how we managed to stay up and I felt it might be hard for them all over again.
“The Championship is a tough division with some good teams. It’s true what people say, that it’s a hard league, and Rotherham have found that out.
“But they will have enjoyed their time at this level and will be keen to get back as soon as they can.”
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