Woolfenden Buzzing After Big Win on Championship Debut
Monday, 30th Apr 2018 00:16
Defender Luke Woolfenden was “buzzing” after making his Championship bow from the start of Saturday’s 4-0 victory at Reading.
The 19-year-old was recalled from his loan spell with Vanarama National League on Friday and with Cameron Carter-Vickers and fellow youngster Chris Smith having picked up knocks went straight into the team at the Madejski Stadium.
“Buzzing, 4-0, the last three came late on, one after the other, didn’t they?" Woolfenden, whose previous senior appearances for the Blues were one start and one sub appearance in the Carabao Cup in August, told BBC Radio Suffolk reflecting on a remarkable first league game for Town immediately afterwards.
"We took our chances clinically one after the other. We all put a shift in today, enjoying our football,”
“I really enjoyed the game from start to finish, I didn’t want the game to end when it finished, I was having a great time.”
How did he rate his performance? “I thought I was alright! Yeah, I was alright. The clean sheet was good.”
Woolfenden had praise for Adam Webster, stand-in skipper Jonas Knudsen and Jordan Spence: “Webby, Jonas and Spence were brilliant, they helped me through the game massively.
“Even before the game Spence was talking to me, telling me what to do and how to cope with it.”
The Ipswich-born defender played on the right of Town’s back three and says centre-half is his best role.
“I’ve been playing right-back [for Bromley] but I definitely see myself as a centre-back, I think that’s definitely my best position, but I’ll play wherever.”
He says he found out he was coming back to Town the day before the match having been with the Ravens since just before Christmas: “There was talk of it about a month ago but the thinking was to just stay at Bromley until the end of the season.
“Then on Friday I drove up to Bromley and I got a call to say, ‘Come back, you’re going to Reading’.”
His return to the Blues means he’ll miss out on next month’s FA Trophy final when Bromley face Brackley at Wembley.
“I didn’t want to come back just to sit on the bench,” he continued. “I think that’s why they left it so late because they knew I’d played the last two games [at Bromley].
“[The loan spell has] progressed me massively, they’ve all helped me a great deal, [manager] Neil Smith, [academy director] Mark Hammond and [player-coach] Alan Dunne have helped me a lot.
“In the first couple of games I made a couple of mistakes but it’s just a learning curve, they want you to learn. They see the potential in you and they want it to come out. It’s proper men’s football, it just helps a lot.”
Having started the Carabao Cup tie at Crystal Palace after making his senior debut as a sub at Luton in the previous round, he admits he felt he might have been involved with the Blues first team before this point in the season.
“I thought when we had a few injuries I might have got maybe more chances,” he continued. “But I was always hoping to go out on loan at the start of the season, so to do that was good.”
Woolfenden says his father made it along to the Madejski Stadium, but his mother didn’t make the trip: “Just my dad, my mum’s probably going to be kicking herself just sitting at home!”
Regarding the celebrations with the 1,233 travelling fans, he added: “I think everyone just loved that game, just enjoying their football and it all came out when we scored the fourth goal.”
Looking ahead to next Sunday’s final game of the season against Middlesbrough at Portman Road, Woolfenden says he’ll be looking to make his home debut with all three of his games for the Blues so far having been away: “I definitely want to start that game.”
Elsewhere, Boro boss Tony Pulis has said he’ll consider resting some of his squad next week with the fifth-placed Teessiders having already confirmed a place in the top six.
“We’re delighted that we’re now in the play-offs,” Pulis said. “Now, it’s a case of looking forward to the Ipswich game, and then going on from there.
“One or two players might need a rest, and one or two players might be taken out of the Ipswich game. Alternatively, I might go with the same team.
“I’ll have a good look at it next week and have a good chat with the boys, and see where they are. Then we’ll look forward to those play-off games.
“The most important thing is that we’re right when we turn up here for the play-offs. The Ipswich game is important because it’s the next game, and anyone who knows me as a man or a manager will know that every game I go in to, I want to win.
"But it’s about finding the right balance, and concentrating on what is really important for us.”
Meanwhile, Blues midfielder Andre Dozzell is continuing his comeback from the ruptured cruciate knee ligament he suffered on the opening day of the season, using the facilities at Pipers Vale Gymnastics Club.
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