Elder: Difficult Day for a Debut
Monday, 7th Jan 2019 06:00
New loan signing Callum Elder admitted the Blues’ 1-0 FA Cup defeat at Accrington Stanley was a difficult day on which to make his Town debut. The Australian, who is with Town for the rest of the season from Leicester, says that despite the result his first senior 90 minutes of the season is something for him to build on.
“Very difficult,” he told BBC Radio Suffolk when asked if it had been a tough afternoon on which to make his Blues bow.
“I would have liked a better result on the end of it. It was nice to get 90 minutes in the tank, something I’ll look to build on next week.
“But the end of the day the results need to start changing and we need to get back on the training pitch and work harder than ever between now and May to make sure that they do.”
Questioned on the atmosphere in the dressing room post-match, he added: “The lads are hurting, there’s no doubt about it. Ipswich is a big club, the lads are honoured to play for it, but at the end of the day football is a results business and we need to show that.
“There are 20 league games to go and we need to achieve that goal of getting ourselves out of this position.”
Manager Paul Lambert said that League One Stanley showed more desire during the game and the 23-year-old admitted that it felt like that at times.
“Yes, I think you could feel that for large spells,” he added. “I think we weren’t at it, we were second best. We did create good chances in the game, probably better out of the two [teams] but at the end of the day they walked away with a 1-0 win and that’s what matters.
“Going into the game next week, we need everything to be switched on, we need the desire, the ability and we need to go out and apply ourselves to get three points.”
Sydney-born Elder had sympathy with Town’s 1,224-strong travelling army at the Wham Stadium: “It was an unbelievable support. They deserve a lot of credit. It’s a long way up to Accrington. We are very thankful for them coming up in numbers. We needed to show a better performance.
“But there are 20 games to go in the league now, the club needs to get out of this position and the lads, myself included, are prepared to do that.”
Despite the Blues being bottom of the table and 10 points off safety, Elder says the mood around the club was upbeat going into the game.
“You wouldn’t think we are bottom the way the vibe is around the lads, it is positive,” he said. “We do believe in the way we are playing and the way the gaffer’s instilled in us to play.
“But we need to continue to commit to that. We know we need results to change but for large spells I thought we did create good chances.
“But the rut has to stop now. Like I said, we’ve got five months to get ourselves out of this situation and we are prepared to do that.”
He says he had no hesitation in joining Town despite the current situation: “Not really, I said to the gaffer that the league position didn’t concern me.
"It’s about applying ourselves, myself and the lads, for this football club. It’s a massive football club, it deserves a lot more than the position it’s in at the minute.
“Like I said, there’s a squad of lads and staff that are hurting in that changing room and we need to knuckle down to get the club out of this situation.”
Was he surprised to be thrown in against Stanley having not played a first-team game this season?
“Not really, I’ve been working hard in training,” he continued. “I came in just after Boxing Day. The gaffer’s been showing me his style of play and how he feels I fit into that, so I was delighted that I got the nod on Friday that I would be starting. Hopefully I can build on Saturday and for the rest of the season.”
With Myles Kenlock having impressed at left-back in the previous two games he knows he is far from guaranteed a place in the side which lines up against Rotherham in next Saturday’s crucial match at Portman Road.
“Yes, definitely. Competition in all places between now and May is very important,” he said.
“The lads need to be pushing each other on, myself and Myles included as well as other positions in the squad. Everyone needs to be putting their best foot forward come each matchday.”
He says he’s determined to be playing week in, week out between now and the end of the season, having previously played at senior level during loan spells with Mansfield, Peterborough, Brentford, Barnsley and Wigan. His only Championship experience so far was in 11 games split across spells with the Bees and Tykes in 2016/17.
“I’m really looking forward to it, if I am selected on a matchday,” Elder continued. “I was used to that at Wigan [in League One last season].
“I haven’t had that in the first half of this season, which is why I feel I’m making up for lost time now.
“But I’m looking forward to getting to the end of the season and really applying the best I can for this football club.”
He says he has been told he is still in manager Claude Puel's Foxes plans for the future with his contract running until the summer of 2020.
“No, I don’t think so,” he said when asked whether the loan spell means his time with Leicester is up.
“The gaffer spoke to me before I left and he said coming into the summer he wanted to see me at Championship level, moving forward to be building for [a place in] his squad for next season.
"So it’s up to me to go and produce performances so I catch his eye come the summer.”
Meanwhile, Town’s table-topping U23s are in action against Bristol City in their first game since the Christmas break at Playford Road this afternoon (KO 1pm).
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