Ward: Newcastle Win Has Been Great for Morale
Thursday, 20th Apr 2017 16:18
Grant Ward has confirmed that Town’s win over promotion favourites Newcastle on Easter Monday has boosted the players’ morale going into the last three games of the season.
Mick McCarthy’s men made it back-to-back wins for the first time this term when they followed up the Good Friday victory at lowly Burton with a 3-1 defeat of the second-placed Magpies in front of Portman Road’s biggest crowd of the current campaign.
The result and level of performance not only restored the feel-good factor among supporters but, according to the ex-Tottenham player, also lifted the dressing room mood ahead of Saturday’s trip to face already-relegated Rotherham.
Ward, 22, said: “The win over Newcastle has been great for morale. Obviously, we’ve needed a few wins as of late and the timing was good, plus it was against top opposition as well.
“I wouldn’t say it took us by surprise but our supporters might not have expected that result because when we played Newcastle the previous time they beat us well.
“But from the way we had been working in training I felt we could do it. I don’t know why we have not been able to do it more often this season, but sometimes you need a bit of luck, things like that. Sometimes it just hasn’t happened for us but on Monday it did.”
Ward has benefited from a change of role, moving to the central midfield berth he admits is his favourite position, and he sees his versatility as a strength rather than something that might delay his progress at first team level.
He added: “I think the fans are starting to see the best of me, although I still believe I can offer a bit more in the way of goals and stuff. I feel I have been playing well and I’m happy with my performances.
“I’ve enjoyed most of the games but it’s always nice to get a win. That’s the best feeling.
“I like playing in the middle but I can play in a variety of positions. In the middle I can be a bit more influential on the ball and help the team a bit more.
“I’ve played right wing-back and left wing-back in the past so I’m comfortable there and if the gaffer needs me to play in either position I can do a job for the team.”
Ward was often deployed as a right-back at youth level with Tottenham when Bryan Klug, now back at Portman Road, was running the White Hart Lane academy set-up.
He added: “The gaffer just tells me where he wants me to play and I can be a bit more free about it. I like being in the centre and I feel that’s where I am most influential but I feel the game has changed a bit.
“If you look at most of the top teams, a lot of their players can play in different positions and I think it’s like another string to your bow really. I definitely see my versatility as a strength.”
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