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Woolfenden: Our Aim is to Win the League
Monday, 15th Jul 2019 06:00

Centre-half Luke Woolfenden is in no doubt that winning League One is Town’s aim for the season ahead.

Woolfenden was speaking following yesterday's four-team Interwetten Cup in which the Blues finished fourth, a tournament which came at the end of the club’s pre-season training camp in Germany with the squad flying back today.

“It’s been good,” the 20-year-old said. “Obviously there’s not much to do [at the hotel] so it’s been tight-knit really, there’s no wifi out there so you’re forced to speak to each other!

“Yes, it’s been enjoyable. We’ve got a lot of work in which will benefit us when we start the season.”

Does he believe the Blues are a better team for the camp? “I think we’re a closer team. At the start of pre-season there are always so many little mistakes and a bit of rustiness coming in.

“That’s what pre-season games are for, getting the mistakes out, getting the rustiness out, then when the season begins to start with a bang.”

The former East Bergholt High School pupil says there’s been less running this year than last year under former boss Paul Hurst and his staff but believes the squad will still be just as fit.

“I don’t think there’s been as much running, I’d say disguised running really, a lot of little games,” he reflected.

“So instead of running we’ve been playing games which will get you just as fit as straight line running. It’s been different but it’s still been hard.”

He says the new boys have settled in well, particularly striker James Norwood, who scored his first goal in a Town shirt in the 4-1 defeat to Fortuna.

“Nors has settled in very well and scored today. He’s settled in with the lads quickly and I think he’ll be a big player for us this season,” he said.

Woolfenden says an out and out finisher like Norwood was something which was missing from the squad last season.

“As you saw today he can finish, he had one chance and scored and should have had a penalty,” he continued.

“He’s a handful up there, so that was probably what they were missing last year, an out and out goalscorer. Hopefully he can carry on scoring as he did today during the season.”

He added: “He is a handful. We were defending crosses the other day and nine times out of 10 they were landing on his head so he is a handful.”

As well as on the field Norwood has made his mark off it with the squad as well: “He’s a good craic, to be fair!”

Woolfenden spent last season on loan at Swindon where he made 36 starts and scored two goals and says he benefited from the experience: “It has improved me as a player. I got a lot of games down in that league so hopefully it’ll stand me in good stead when the season comes and I can get a place in the starting XI here.”

Having got those League Two matches under his belt with the Robins, he is now targeting becoming a regular in League One with the Blues.

“Definitely, I want to play every game, that’s my hope, aim or whatever, that’s what I want to do, play every week,” he said.

“I don’t really want to go out on loan again, I want to be playing every week so we’ll see what happens.”

During his previous loan spell, in the National League with Bromley, Woolfenden played at right-back rather than centre-half but he says he sees the middle of the defence as his primary position.

“I prefer centre-half. Obviously I play right-back and at centre-back but centre-back’s where I see myself,” he continued.

What has manager Paul Lambert said to him about the season ahead? “He’s just said it’s down to me really. If I play well enough then, he said age isn’t a problem, so if I play well enough then I should play.”

Woolfenden could get his chance to start on the opening day with skipper Luke Chambers suspended following his red card in the final game of last season against Leeds.

“Skip has always been important to the starting XI but if he’s missing the first game someone’s got to play in the centre of the defence now, hopefully that will be my and if it is then I’ve just got to play well enough to keep my place in the team,” he added.

Woolfenden is one of a number of youngsters coming through into the first team at the same time and he says it’s beneficial that they’re all emerging together.

“I think it does, we’re all pretty close, we’ve all grown up together since we were 13 or 14 coming through together,” he said.

“I think it makes it easier, the environment as well when there’s a lot of people you know straight away and that you’re mates with.”

He added: “I’m from Ipswich, me and Doz used to play Sunday league together when we were nine, so it’s literally like playing with your mates you’ve grown up with.

“I joined the club when I was 11, that’s nine years now. It feels like home walking into training every day, I know where everything is, I know everyone. Just comfortable really. I’ve been here for nine years so if I’m not comfortable now I never will be.”

Looking forward to the season proper, Woolfenden has no doubts about that Town should be targeting an immediate return to the Championship.

“Yes, definitely,” he insisted. “Our aim is to win the league, no doubt about it, straight back in the Championship where I think, at the minimum, we belong.

“It’s a big club, it’s a big stadium and I think with the players we’ve got, if we put it all together and it all comes together then I think we should go up.”

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lightingblue added 07:11 - Jul 15
Well I’m afraid, I think we maybe in for a bit of a shock this coming season. I’m struggling to believe that we are now 1 of the big boys in the league. Personally I can see is getting caught out on a number of occasions next season.
Furthermore I would rather the players not say that we are this that or the other. Rather see the boys get their heads down and work and do it quietly. You make statements, you have to stand by them. Also over the last couple of seasons we have heard very similar comments. Look where we have ended up.
I went to the Coggeshall game on Saturday and they looked more up for it. They had this mentality to win the game, whether or not it was a pre season friendly or not. Unfortunately I don’t buy into this (it’s only a friendly) attitude. A winning mentality starts in preseason. I do appreciate as well they need to get match fit and such like. The players also need to get their brains fit. You don’t see city, Utd etc say never mind it’s only a friendly.

boysof1981 added 07:45 - Jul 15
We need to start winning matches, regardless of whether they’re friendlies. We’re currently in a run of awful results winning just a handful of games in over a season, can’t see League 1 currently being an easy season. No chance of top six if things continue.

Keaneish added 08:31 - Jul 15
"Not one of the big boys in League One" Lighting Blue???
Correct, we're the biggest!

Alan_Essex added 08:38 - Jul 15
So early to tell. But I do agree about the winning mentality - it has to start immediately - there are no friendlies... but we ARE one of the big clubs that everyone will be looking to shoot down in flames, no doubt about it. Plus why not let the lads be positive about the season? Good on you, set targets. What's wrong with their desire to go straight up - strange call to criticise that already I think? How would we feel if they were all saying it's going to be crap and we'll be lucky to make top six? Nobody has come right out and said we're going to breeze it, we all know that's never going to happen but jeez, cut some slack... I'll leave judgement until I've seen Burton away and Sunderland at home - I think we'll have a fair idea of where the land lies then.

hammo56 added 08:43 - Jul 15
Wonder how long it will be into the new season before we get the usual statement of we will put it right next week?
For once lets do our talking on the pitch rather than off it.

ChrisFelix added 09:02 - Jul 15
When we see the settled team which Lambert wants to play we can then see if we are good enough. These 3 training games mean exactly that. It has been about fitness. Shame about Bishop & Toto but I'm more concerned to see if Huws remains fit as he is real talent

SaigonTractor added 09:14 - Jul 15
Well the boys aren't short of confidence at least.

I think we'll be top 6 minimum. Bear in mind we're still a few signings short and haven't played our first choice team in any of the friendly's so far. Our wage bill alone will put us at a major advantage against the rest of the league.

Having two of Judge, Huws and Bishop staying fit will be crucial though.

BlueBlood90 added 09:16 - Jul 15
I don't doubt that Woolf will go on to be a very good defender, but I'm really concerned about the strength of our defence going into this season at the moment. It was a huge problem last season and I don't think we've done anything to try and improve it for this year so far. With Toto getting injured yesterday and Chambers suspended, you'd think Lambert will be shopping for another centre back.

ArnieM added 09:23 - Jul 15
Sort the defence out and Town will get promoted IMO. But it takes time for these kids to get their feet at the higher level ( from League two loans and the academy). So please give them a chance.

Dolphinblue added 09:30 - Jul 15
😅😅😅😅🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣you couldnt make it up 🤣🤣🤣🤣win the league 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣give it a rest..go win a game....would be a start 🐬

Bluearmy_81 added 09:32 - Jul 15
Do need further 'investment', CB and CF.
Hope we run away with the league but if we aren't top 6 by Oct/Nov who are the fans going to turn on, PL or ME? I know who my moneys on... #tugyourforelocktheresagoodserf

DifferentGravy added 10:11 - Jul 15
Sort it out Lambert, friendly or not,we need to tighten up at the back. Cant keep conceding goals and expect anything. A solid foundation gives the midfield and forward line something to build on. Cant remember when we went longer than a game without conceding a goal.

Bluearmy_81 added 11:04 - Jul 15
Ah there we go, see?!! ^^^^
😂🤣 #neverblameevans

Carberry added 11:25 - Jul 15
There's good comfortable and bad comfortable. Discuss.

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 12:01 - Jul 15
Shock! Horror! Footballers have to lift eyes from mobile devices because of lack of wifi. What is the world coming to?

Bergholtblue added 12:04 - Jul 15
We all know what the aim is!

But only time will tell if we are are good enough.

Sky bet has us at 2/1, joint second favourites along with Portsmouth. So they have confidence in us.

ITFCsince73 added 12:33 - Jul 15
Yes second joint favourites. The smart money isn’t on Town. And we will drift further

StowTractorBoy added 12:34 - Jul 15
If we do not sort our defence out there is no chance of top six let alone automatic promotion. Don't think we will get them but we need a right back as do not rate Donacien at all and the jury is still out for me on Emmanuel. Bart is just not the goalkeeper he used to be so hoping Holy Holy cuts to the chase. Central defence is so important and to me what we have does not look good enough even at Division One level. Chambers struggled last season and Woolfie will do well to play a full season so definitely want a centre back if not two. We are well equipped in midfield but I do worry that Lambert will play only one up top which does not work as proved last season. Would like Murphy to come back but doubt it will happen. Personally I am worried about the coming season and make no mistake Div One will not be easy. Sorry if I am being negative but at the moment it looks a big ask with what we have to finish top 2.

Barty added 12:39 - Jul 15
I applaud his optimism but that won't happen with our current defence.

ITFCsince73 added 12:45 - Jul 15
Who has there worst period in 62 years but carries on with the same failed on field leadership.

That must be ITFC. In Chambo we rust.

cat added 13:42 - Jul 15
Look! friendlies count for Jack, it’s how we start the campaign which will ultimately shape our season. Nice to hear a bit of positivity from the wolf. We are a big club in a smaller league, the problem might be that we are sticking with the tried and failed old guard, top six is a must, anything else will be deemed as a failure.

bluebury25 added 14:20 - Jul 15
Mid table at best. We got thrashed by Charlton Las pre season. We're poor. This season even worse. The owner has no ambition. League 1 is our level.

muccletonjoe added 15:05 - Jul 15
Giving Lambert young lads like Wolfenden to work with is a waste of their potential

Northstander_Blue added 15:31 - Jul 15
Its not going to be as easy as some think I can see us making playoffs but not going up

midastouch added 16:02 - Jul 15
Just read Peterborough have got George Boyd back.

Their summer signings:

Mark Beevers
George Boyd
Mo Eisa
Dan Butler
Christy Pym
Serhat Tasdemir
Frankie Kent
Niall Mason

Also, Norwich signed 12 when they went down to League One.

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