Ward: Derby Win Great for Team Morale
Thursday, 30th Nov 2017 15:31
Midfielder Grant Ward has reflected on the win at sixth-placed Derby two days ago and claimed it could play a big part in propelling Town towards the coveted play-off places.
Ward, 22, starred in what was a significant 1-0 success, gained through Callum Connolly’s early header, which leaves Mick McCarthy’s men in ninth place, three points off the top six, whereas a defeat to the Rams would have seen them trail by eight.
The ex-Tottenham player said: “It was a great win for us and great for team morale. We were away from home against a very good side that are probably going to be pushing for promotion to the Premier League, at least through the play-offs, so it was a terrific result for us.
“Every win is good but it is extra special to beat a team so close to the top of the table. We are now three points off the play-offs ourselves and we have to think of ourselves as contenders.
“If we can continue the momentum and keep the run going I don’t see why we can’t be pushing along with the others who are up there.
“If you look at our games this season, when we have lost there has not been that big a gulf between us and our opponents.
We say it every season – that’s the Championship and in this league all the teams are capable of beating each other on any given day.
“As long as you’re in and around it, like we are, there’s always a chance that you’ll do alright.
“A result like that is good for everyone – the manager, the team, the staff and, of course, the fans – because the aim is to get as many wins and points as possible.
“Derby were favourites to beat us but in the Championship results like that are not really a shock because it happens fairly regularly.”
Ward is hoping Town’s first win against a top-six outfit will be followed up with victory over another side from the East Midlands, with Nottingham Forest, who are just one place and two points worse off, next up at Portman Road on Saturday.
It is the first game of what has been termed a daunting December with visits to Middlesbrough and leaders Wolves, together with home clashes against Reading, QPR and Derby, before the turn of the year.
But Ward believes Town can build on the midweek win and extend a run that has seen them lose just once in five games, taking eight points from a possible 15.
He added: “What we want to do is build on the win at Derby, go on a run of good results and creep up the table.
“We need to get our fans 100 per cent behind us because when that happens you can feel it, the positive energy, and there’s no question that it definitely helps.
“Yes, there are some tough games, both home and away, coming up so it’s crucial that we try to make sure Derby isn’t a one-off.
“We’ve only lost once in five games now so the run has actually started. We’ve held our own in most games so there’s nothing to fear going forward.”
Ward is keen to add to his seven goals in 63 appearances – 14 of them as substitute – for Town since his £500,000 move from White Hart Lane in August last year and added: “I was happy with my own performance against Derby.
“Obviously, there is always something that you look back on afterwards and think to yourself ‘I could have done that better’ but overall I was happy with how I played.
“Maybe it was as good as I’ve played this season. I feel that with every game I play I am improving so if I continue along those lines hopefully I will blossom a bit more. I would like to see my personal goal tally improve as the season goes on.
“We’re getting goals from everywhere – Jordan [Spence] has got a few and Callum [Connolly] was our matchwinner the other night – and it’s important we all try to chip in and don’t just rely on the strikers all the time.
“The boys up front have done really well but over the course of a season you need to get goals from as many areas of the team as you can.”
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