Chambers: Keeper Holy is Getting Better Every Day
Tuesday, 24th Sep 2019 18:17
Skipper Luke Chambers has confirmed he is a fully paid-up member of the Tomas Holy fan club as Town seek to create a new club record of successive league cleans sheets this coming weekend.
The 1-0 win at Gillingham was the club’s fifth Legue One shutout in a row, equalling a record last achieved during Mick McCarthy’s time as manager, and history will be rewritten if goalkeeper Holy & Co can chalk up another defensive blank against the men from Merseyside.
Chambers, who will celebrate his 34th birthday on Saturday, said: “Tomas is a very humble man and it’s an endearing quality that comes across in all his interviews.
“You can forgive mistakes in football if they’re not happening every week and he hasn’t made any yet.
“If he did it would be ‘Don’t worry Tom, you’ve been absolutely brilliant for the last nine games so just keep doing what you’ve been doing’.
“He’s got a massive weapon in his goal-kicks, which allow us to play in the opposition half most of the time, and every single ball that comes into the box in the air he comes and claims.
“What that does for a defender is absolutely incredible because we know that any ball that isn’t of the required quality he is going to come and catch it, so we’re not getting involved in things we don’t need to be involved in, which is a huge, huge bonus for us.
“His goal-kicks and his ability to claim most crosses into the box are the two things I’ve noticed.
“After Saturday’s game I spoke to one of the Gillingham players, who used to be with Nottingham Forest when I was also there [probably Mark Byrne], and he said Tomas was only having specialist goalkeeping training twice a week when he was there.
“I’ve seen a big improvement from day one when he first arrived at the club to where he is now and massive credit has to go to [goalkeeping coach] Jimmy Walker and to Will Norris for pushing him and keeping him on his toes.
“Every day he is getting better and for me the way Tomas is playing now I don’t think it will be long before other clubs are starting to take notice and check on him.”
With Town sitting atop League One, it was no surprise when the captain added: “Things are going really well. We always have to say the right things – that we’re not getting carried away – but I think we are playing with a lot of confidence.
“To keep five clean sheets in a row and still be unbeaten in nine games just breeds confidence.
“The manager is making four or five changes for every game and the players coming in are not just stepping up, they are thriving on being given the opportunity.
“Maybe last year we were making changes and it wasn’t quite working for us but the big positive that we have spoken about in the dressing room is the way we have changed from a losing mentality to a winning mentality.
“For me that’s been our biggest win this season. To have cruised almost 10 games and be where we are is credit to the gaffer, the staff, the football club, the fans and everyone. Yes, things are very good.”
Asked to explain the turnaround in form, Chambers continued: “I’m not going to lie – I thought the first five or six games were nervy. The entire squad felt prepared, not edgy, but there was an extra thing on the first six games. We knew what was required and when we have drawn games we haven’t got too carried away.
“The fans haven’t gone ‘Oh, we’re not very good’ but have had a realistic outlook. We played against Doncaster, a team who have been in League One for a while, and it was the same with Peterborough, plus we also drew against Sunderland.
“They are all solid teams in this league who are looking for promotion. We competed and I felt in more than one of the games we were better.
“It’s like the manager says, we have no given right to win games and we have a target on our backs as a big team in this league and one that everyone else wants to beat.
“There’s no reason for anyone to think we will find it easy. We’ve been relegated from the Championship and we have to do our own thing to earn that position at the top of the league.”
Manager Paul Lambert has often described his team as “playing with a target on our backs”, a reference to Town’s status as one of the biggest clubs at this level and others’ eagerness to beat them and claim a famous scalp.
Chambers went on: “We do our analysis on the opposition on a Thursday and Friday and you see things on the video that make you think ‘This shouldn’t be too difficult’. But come the game it’s an entirely different kettle of fish. How often do teams in this league get to play in front of 20,000 people at Portman Road?
“You see how they react and it’s a magnificent opportunity for them to impress and claim a big scalp.
“If they do well against Ipswich Town they could potentially end up at Ipswich Town because we could be looking to sign some of the best players in the league come January if we need a bit extra to try to push on.
“So far we’ve looked very comfortable and we’ve ticked off the challenges as and when they have come along.”
Chambers took time out to praise the supporters, adding: “To be fair to most of the fanbase it has been the same at the start of every season I’ve been here. They return with a renewed sense of optimism – ‘Can it be our year?’ – and we needed them massively over the summer.
“It would have been easy for 12-13,000 to turn up and not really be too bothered about playing in League One because at the end of the day, the way football is now, we’re not going to be a Man City and be challenging for major honours, not for the next few years anyway.
“But they want to see winning football and that’s what we’re giving them. They want to be a part of it and everyone is buying into the same idea, not just wanting to be an Ipswich fan but to travel home and away, smashing attendance records along the way.
“They deserve a season like this, how it’s been so far, and it’s our jobs as players to thrive on that expectation and keep winning games.”
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