Bart: Reading Assist No Fluke!
Wednesday, 21st Nov 2018 15:50
Goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski’s assist for Freddie Sears’s goal in the recent 2-2 draw at Reading was no fluke, he has revealed, because it was an action replay of a move the pair successfully rehearsed in training the previous day.
“It’s true, we did exactly the same thing in training the day before the game,” laughed Bialkowski. “We practiced that and Freddie scored, and it’s especially pleasing when that happens.
“Of course it helped that Jordan Roberts was able to hold off the Reading defender [John O’Shea] because he’s a strong boy and I needed him to do that for me. I might have had one or two assists before in my career but I can’t really remember them.
“Freddie is a great guy and we are all pleased for him that he is scoring again. He is enjoying himself like everyone else and that’s the big difference.”
Town had been pegged back to 1-1 when home striker Yakou Meite cancelled out Gwion Edwards’s opener, but they quickly regained the lead when Bialkowski’s goalkick skidded on the wet surface and found its way through to Sears, who coolly claimed his second goal in as many games after also netting from the penalty spot the previous week against Preston.
But despite what could only be described as a route one goal, Bialkowski explained how his role has changed under new management, especially in terms of his distribution as Paul Lambert puts his stamp on the team he inherited from the departed Paul Hurst late last month.
The goalkeeper said: “I have so many options when I am taking the goalkicks, it’s unbelievable. It’s not just a long kick because I have players who actually want the ball, which is making a big difference, and I am enjoying the way we are playing at the moment.
“When I had a back pass to deal with I used to kick it long because I had no other options but now we can actually start playing football and go from there.
“When I was at Southampton we used to try to play from the back as well but obviously I wasn’t playing and was on the bench. I would be involved in the training sessions but it’s a new thing for me now that I’m playing and I like it.”
Bialkowski also sang the praises of incoming goalkeeping coach Jimmy Walker, who arrived from Sunderland and worked alongside Lambert when he was manager at Colchester, although he is best known for his time with Walsall, for whom he made over 500 appearances in all competitions during two different spells.
“Jimmy is a brilliant guy and you can’t get bored with him around, which is a good thing,” added Bialkowski. “Every day we are doing something different and we are enjoying it.
“Sometimes you can be doing the same things all the time and maybe you’re not at it, but Jimmy is a funny guy and we have some great chats. He’s a character and all the keepers are enjoying working with him.
“When you are working each day on different things you are improving on different aspects of the game as well, so that’s very important, and when you are doing something new you are enjoying it and looking forward to every session.”
Asked if there was a similarity between Walker and ex-goalkeeping coach Malcolm Webster, who retired at the end of last season, Bialkowski said: “Yes, absolutely. Jimmy cannot stop talking, which is good, so we are always having banter, both on the training pitch and off it as well.
“He loves trying to put shots past me in the top corner. If I’m going to save them in training I’m going to save them in the matches as well. I’m not bothered if he puts some past me as long as I save my fair share of them.”
Meanwhile, Bialkowski is looking to revive his international career with Poland after being overlooked for the recent 1-0 home defeat by the Czech Republic and the 1-1 Euro Nations League draw in Portugal, despite being a member of the World Cup squad in Russia a few months ago.
He added: “With Portugal and Italy in the same group it was tough but we had some problems after the World Cup – a change of manager, a couple of new faces and a couple of injuries – so it was difficult for us. Hopefully we are going to come up strong in the qualifications for the Euros.
“As soon as you win a place in the squad you want to stay in there for as long as possible. At the moment I haven’t had any contact with the new manager and I just have to accept he will have fresh ideas. But at the same time you cannot stop training. I played my way into the squad before and I believe I can do it again.”
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