Ward: No Point Moaning About Chambo's Absence
Thursday, 30th Nov 2017 15:58
Grant Ward insists Town will be able to cope without suspended skipper Luke Chambers when they take on his former club, Nottingham Forest, on Saturday.
Chambers is ruled out after collecting his fifth yellow card of the season in the 1-0 win at Derby on Tuesday - as is midfielder Flynn Downes - a result that leaves them one place and two points better off than their weekend opponents, for whom ex-Town favourite Daryl Murphy is their seven-goal top scorer.
Ward said: “Of course we’d rather have Chambo available. He’s obviously a big miss but there’s no point us moaning about his absence.
“We have a lot of natural leaders in the team and there will be a lot of voices on the pitch, so we won’t need to bother about that.”
Midfielder and vice-captain Cole Skuse will take over the armband and Ward added: “Skusey is similar to Chambo but he does it in a different way. It’s hard to explain but he has the same presence, and a similar aura, about him.
“We’ve got a lot of players who could wear the armband. In terms of natural leaders you’ve got Skusey, plus there’s Jonas, Garns and Waggy.
“They are all vocal and inspirational, so I think we’ll be alright. I’d have to include Didzy as well but unfortunately he’s injured at the moment.
“Maybe in the future I could see myself as captain material as well but not yet.
“Chambo will be a miss as a player, of course he will, but the gaffer will plug the gap and we’ll be up for it as we always are.
“Knowing Chambo he’ll be in and around the squad on match day. When he was injured earlier in the season he came into the dressing room and I think it will be the same on Saturday. He’ll have an input even if he’s not able to be out there with us.
“As for a fist pump afterwards if we win, I’m not sure about that. Jonas did it after a win when Chambo was missing and the skipper had a little word I think!”
When Town scored through Callum Connolly’s fifth-minute header on Tuesday captain Chambers quickly got his players in a huddle and Ward revealed: “It was to emphasise the importance of not conceding and losing our advantage.
“He said we had to be fully focused from the kick-off because you often see teams going in front but getting pegged back almost straight away and that was the last thing we wanted to happen.
“We had our celebration and chilled out but then it was vital that we regained our focus because we knew there was a lot of the game left and that Derby would be doing everything they could to get level.
“In the first half we went toe to toe with them and in parts it was a real end-to-end game.
“We passed it around well but towards the end of the first half we got a bit tired and had to sit in a bit. But we managed to see it out and got the win so it was alright.”
Republic of Ireland international Murphy, who left Town for Newcastle in a £3 million deal at the end of the summer transfer window last year and moved on to Forest in July, is Forest’s top scorer with seven goals in 16 league appearances in the current campaign.
Ward said: “I only played a few games with Daryl before he left to join Newcastle but I’ve seen a lot of him on television, both before and since I joined Ipswich.
“I’ve played against him as well so I know all about the threat he carries. It will be tough to keep him under wraps but our players know him well and are prepared for him.
“Our lads are experienced enough to know Daryl’s game. We’ll prepare as thoroughly as we always do and we always work on shape. Daryl is a big lad and he can put himself about a bit.
“He doesn’t mind running the channels as well but his main assets are probably his aerial power and his hold-up play.”
Ward has started 11, and been a substitute in four, of Town’s 19 league games this season and added: “It’s a bit frustrating when you don’t get selected because you want to play in every game, but when you’re not picked you just have to bide your time and wait for the next opportunity to come along.
“There’s plenty of competition, and it’s really stiff competition, for midfield places because there are players coming back from injury to give the manager plenty of options.
“We got the ball down and passed it around well at Derby. You can’t keep losing possession at this level because at some stage you are going to be punished by the other team scoring, so it’s important you keep the ball as long as possible.
“It’s great that Emyr Huws is back and playing, while Teddy Bishop is also fully fit again. They are both good players and they have had tough luck with injuries so it’s great to see them back and available again.”
Ward has featured in a number of different roles since he burst on to the scene with a debut hat-trick in the 4-2 win over Barnsley on the opening day of last season – and that, remember, after coming off the bench at half-time.
“I see myself as a versatile player,” he said. “When I was at Spurs that was always something we relied upon because we didn’t always stay in one position.
“You could be in midfield one game and up front, or on the wing, the following week because they wanted young players to learn the game and experience different roles in the team.
“I think the game has changed a bit over the years so that players are more comfortable in different positions and you see it with wingers, where they can play on either side and be just as effective.
“I can play in a central role as well and I’ve had some games in the number 10 position, which I’d be happy to do again if required.
“I feel I can adapt to most systems but long term I’d like to play as a box-to-box midfielder. I’ve obviously played on the wing, which was where I started playing from a young age, and I feel comfortable there as well.”
Meanwhile, former Town boss Paul Jewell has been appointed the assistant manager to Richie Wellens, who he signed on loan late in his spell in charge of the Blues, at Oldham.
Wellens, 37, was given the Latics job on a permanent basis in October after winning four and drawing one of five matches as interim boss following John Sheridan's departure.
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