Chambers: Squad Better Than 2012
Friday, 2nd Nov 2018 09:05
The current Town squad is stronger than its equivalent in 2012, when the club was also bottom of the table and under new management, according to skipper Luke Chambers.
The Blues’ present plight has more than a passing resemblance to the situation back then as Mick McCarthy took over a team with seven points from 13 games, while the side inherited this week by new boss Paul Lambert are on the nine-point mark having played 15 games.
McCarthy was appointed on November 1st and two days later steered the Blues to a 1-0 away victory over Birmingham City.
If Lambert can achieve a similar result on Saturday at home to fellow strugglers Preston North End it will provide an immediate and significant boost to the club’s chances of avoiding the drop into English football’s third tier for the first time in 62 years.
Long-serving skipper Chambers can see the parallels, admitting: “We had a few leaders back then, which was one of our strengths, but players like Richie Wellens and Nigel Reo-Coker, who were here when Mick came in, weren’t here for too long afterwards. He brought in Championship players, honest lads like what we’ve got here now.
“The squad we have now is better than that of 2012 – that’s my opinion – and we just need to find that belief, getting back to basics and having that black and white situation where everyone knows their jobs, no matter what happens, no matter where the ball is on the pitch. We’re going out to face Preston on Saturday much better prepared.
“We still have the right characters in the dressing room and this is a hell of a lot better place to play your football.
“There is better ability in the club and I think a lot of it is about just having belief in yourself. Okay, you might make a mistake but don’t make three or four. Back yourself to go again.
“The new manager has made no secret of the fact that he is going to back every single one of us.
“Obviously, if you make a glaring mistake, he’s going to tell you. But you know you’ve got his support and we’ll all be moving in the same direction.”
Chambers recalled how McCarthy made a winning start to his Ipswich career, adding: “It would be nice if the new manager could start like that as well. Six years ago we had a good season in the end and I think we averaged something like two points a game under Mick.
“It was one of those seasons where all our rivals also seemed to be winning and we needed to get more than 54 points to stay up. That was crazy but we might need to do the same again this time.
“The lads are positive and if you were here all the time you wouldn’t believe that things are as dire as they really are.
“The first few days have given everyone their belief back. When we won at Swansea we hoped we had turned the corner and then we went and lost two winnable games against QPR and Millwall.
“That ended up knocking the lads for six and we know we need to get something out of the games coming up against Preston and Reading. It doesn’t matter who you play in the Championship – top, bottom or mid-table – we need to get points out of the games.
“We’ll be set up in a way where we know what to do and when to do it, and that’s all that can be asked of us as a squad.
“Everyone wants to be entertained and that’s what we want to do, but there will be times when we are going to have to grind out a win.
“I cannot speak highly enough of our fans in the 15 games so far. I think they came in with so much optimism at the start of the season and backed us fully. Look at the way over 2,000 went to Millwall and backed us even when things weren’t going well.
“It was remarkable and it shows we probably have one of the best away supports in the country, not just the Championship.
“If they can continue to do that for us and back us at home, where we haven’t had the best of form over the past few months, I think we can have a good few months between Saturday and the end of the season.
“Our home form has festered for the last couple of years, a lot of people have made their opinions known and we find ourselves in the situation we are now in.
“The fans wanted a change at the football club and let’s not beat about the bush; it’s been going on for about 18 months now.
“You’re playing at home and you can feel the negative energy a little bit, as opposed to the days when we were hearing ‘Ole, ole, we’re the Tractor Boys, let’s make some noise’. Those days seem quite far away now.
“We need to get back to that. It’s us against the world now. Even if there are a few mistakes, stay behind the team.
“We’re going to work our socks off to give the fans something to cheer about because I don’t think we have done so far. We’ve got to take it on the chin but it’s not easy going home at night.
“People can say footballers have the best job in the world and they get well paid, but it can be very lonely at times and that’s where it’s been for me and everyone else over the past few weeks.
“I don’t expect everyone to listen to my words and think everything’s changed. It’s a difficult position for me because if we don’t get a result on Saturday people can say ‘You can talk all you want’. But we’ve had a good week so far and we’re going to come out fighting against Preston.
“There’s no hiding place for anyone now. We’ve got a manager who has come in and he’s very, very honest. If he’s got something to say to us it will be kept in-house. It’s a united front and the boys have responded well to the messages that have been sent out.”
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