Skuse: Home Form Will Be Huge
Thursday, 8th Aug 2019 17:12
Experienced midfielder Cole Skuse has emphasised the need for Town to turn Portman Road into a fortress again as they look to negotiate a quick return to the Championship.
Following the encouraging 1-0 opening-day win at Burton last weekend the Blues take on Sunderland at home on Saturday when they will be looking to clock up a long-awaited second successive win and send out a loud message to their League One rivals.
Skuse, 33, said: “Home form will be huge. What more can I say? We don’t need to keep referring back to what happened last season because it was an absolute write-off, a complete nightmare, for everyone involved.
“But last season, when we picked up the rare win, we followed it up with a defeat or a draw. The win at Burton has made this place so buoyant and bouncy.
“I can imagine what the buzz will be like if we can beat Sunderland. It doesn’t take long, if you string a few wins together, to build confidence and a sense of ‘We can’t be beaten’.
“But we’re a big scalp with a big target on our backs for all the other teams in this division. People can’t wait to shoot at us and knock us down.
“We’re going to be getting more than 20,000 people through the gate on Saturday for our first home game at this level and that’s a bit of a marker. We need to make sure they are all coming back for the next one as well.
“I know Sunderland are also big in this league. Our week building up to a game is built around working on our own game and looking at that of our opponents.
“Our mindset at the minute is to do everything within our control to win each game. We understand how big Sunderland are and they’ve had a year longer in this league, so their players have a bit more experience of what it’s like.
“But that doesn’t worry us and we’ll be out to put down a marker to the rest of the league. We’re not here to take it easy and if we can beat Sunderland on Saturday that would be sending a big message out to all the teams in this league.”
Skuse, stand-in skipper at Burton as Luke Chambers served a one-game ban for his red card in the win over Leeds on the final day of last season, reflected on what it mean to make a flying start to the new campaign with Everton loanee Luke Garbutt’s debut goal separating the sides.
He added: “To get an away win on the first weekend wasn’t too bad and it’s been a good week. Burton is seen as a tough place to go and there won’t be many teams who win there.
“We weren’t really at our best but at the same time we could have won by two or three goals. It was a really solid away performance.
“Now we must try to build on it and go for another three points against Sunderland.
“The crowd looks like being 20,000-plus and for our first home game in League One that’s fantastic.
“We don’t want to put on a poor show, we want to at least replicate last week’s result and, if at all possible, better it with a good display as well.”
Town’s ability to launch counter-attacks against the Brewers was one of the outstanding features of their impressive display and Skuse continued: “Fitness levels are great and that doesn’t half help when you are looking to build something on the counter attack, like at Burton.
“It’s about working hard enough in our defensive shape to soak up the pressure and to then counter you’ve got to be a fit, quick and dynamic side.
“When you’ve got Danny Rowe and frontmen like James Norwood and Kayden Jackson, that’s enough to terrorise defences.
“Also, how many teams in League One are going to be able to bring on a substitute of the quality of Alan Judge? You saw it at Burton – they were reduced to 10 men and they struggled to get the ball off Judgey.
“He and Emyr Huws are international footballers, not someone who has bounced around at this level for years.
“If I’m getting the ball my first thought is to get it on to Judgey, or Rowey, or Kayden. Yes, we’ll be a big scalp but on the flip side of that we’ll be doing our utmost to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“This payback time for our supporters who stuck with us last season. They didn’t have anything to cheer but the level of backing they gave us was amazing.
“We said in the dressing room after the game at Burton that we have to pay them back.
“To have 1,800 of our fans make the trip there is some following. No disrespect to League One but you don’t see that many away fans at games very often.
“It’s not as if Burton is just 30 minutes down the road. To have that level of support on our travels this season is going to help us massively.”
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