Jackson: Not Many People Would Have Thought We'd Be Unbeaten After 10 Games
Sunday, 29th Sep 2019 18:16
Joint-top scorer Kayden Jackson says not many people would have believed that Town would be capable of going on a 10-game unbeaten league run from the start of the season after their dismal 2018/19 campaign, but Saturday’s 4-1 victory over Tranmere took the table-topping Blues to that milestone.
Town - whose overall unbeaten run in the league is 11 including the final day win against Leeds last season - are on their longest undefeated run at the beginning of a league campaign since 1980/81, widely viewed as the Blues’ greatest ever season, when they achieved a club record 14.
And on only one other occasion since going professional, in their inaugural 1936/37 season in the Southern League, have they gone on a longer streak - 12 - at the beginning of a campaign than the current one. In the top four divisions only Coventry, Liverpool and West Brom also remain unbeaten.
“To hear that is crazy,” Jackson reflected on the unbeaten run. “Looking back at the difficult season we had last year, to think at this stage we’d be 10 unbeaten, not many people would have thought that.
“Fair play to the lads, fair play to the gaffer, we’ve worked hard in pre-season and it’s showing right now.
“I think what’s good for the lads and good for the team is that we can still much better than that.
"I think in the first half if we could have got the ball down a bit and played a bit better, it could have been a bit more comfortable and it’s good that I’m actually able to say that.”
Jackson stressed the importance of the Blues having remained patient against Tranmere, the Birkenhead side having given Town a stern test before the break.
The first half ended 1-1 with Rovers having shaded the period with the Blues never having got going, despite Luke Garbutt’s brilliant freekick having given them the lead prior to Stefan Payne’s leveller for the visitors.
However, Jackson's fifth goal of the season three minutes after the restart set the tone for a second half in which the Blues netted two further goals via Jon Nolan and Kane Vincent-Young.
“I think we realised at half-time we had to raise our game,” Jackson said. “Fair play to them, they made it difficult for us. They played very direct, which is hard to play against sometimes.
“It’s hard when they’re lumping balls up to two physical strikers that don’t mind putting their weight around, it’s hard for the lads at the back to settle the game and get a foot on it.
“But in the second half we raised our game. I think it’s just about having the patience really. We need to realise that teams are going to come here and make it difficult for us, first half especially, and we need that patience that we showed just to get past that phase of the game and start playing our football, which we did.”
Asked whether that was what manager Paul Lambert had said to the team at the break, he added: “Definitely, a few of us were a bit emotional off the back of a not so good half for us, but to be fair to the gaffer, he was calm and he just told us to concentrate on our game and try and play our game as best we can, and we did that.”
Reflecting on his goal, he said: “It was nice to get one so early [after half-time] and then that kind of set us up for the rest of the half. We got the ball down a lot more and played, and it was a lot more comfortable.
“With the bodies on the floor, I just had to make sure I missed the bodies and got the back of the net, which I did.
“I’m happy to score again and most importantly happy to get another good win at home in front of all the fans again. Top of the league and we want to stay there as long as possible.”
The 25-year-old believes matches tend to play to his strengths the longer they progress, with pace his main attribute.
“I think naturally the longer the game goes on the gaps will open up for me and I just need to keep on making my runs,” he continued.
“In the first half I didn’t have a lot of joy but I kept on making the runs and the gaps opened up for me and fair play to the lads they found me, Judgey with probably one of the best passes you’ll see all season for Nolo’s goal, which I probably should have tucked away.
“But I was delighted when Nolo came flying in with the header [to score on the rebound] and most importantly we got that win.
“I was happy to see him pop up, he’s had a tough time with injury and now it looks like he’s putting it to the back of his mind, which is good for the team.”
Jackson’s goal made him Town’s joint-top scorer alongside James Norwood on five, but the former Accrington man, who cost the Blues £1.6 million when he moved from the Lancastrians in the summer of 2018, says that doesn't particularly concern him.
“I don’t mind who’s scoring, just as long as we’re getting the wins,” he insisted. “I’m happy to chip in. I should have a few more than that, which is disappointing but I suppose that’s football and I’ll work hard to try and take the chances that come my way.”
Jackson’s five goals have come from just 12 shots, seven on target, while Norwood’s quintet have come via 26 efforts, 18 on target.
“You don’t really see many stats, if you go looking for them you probably will,” Jackson continued.
“I’ve not come across that one but I’m just happy to try and help the team, whether that's scoring, assisting, trying to help get the lads on the scoresheet. I was trying my best for Judgey today but he just doesn’t want it!
“I’m just happy that we’re winning game comfortably and by a scoreline of 4-1 which has given the fans something to cheer about, which is well needed after last season.”
Surprisingly, Judge is still to score his first goal for Town having signed in January but Jackson believes the Irishman’s account opener can’t be far away.
“To be fair to him, he’s doing everything but,” the striker said. “I think I said in the summer that there are not many better players, actually I’d probably say there’s no better player in League One than Judgey, and there’s not many in the Championship better than him. So for us to have him here, we’re very lucky and we’ll enjoy it as long as it lasts.
“I’m sure once he gets one he’ll get two, three, four, like buses as they say, but I don’t really get buses any more so I’m not too sure!”
Judge recently spoke about his difficult summer but Jackson says his team-mate is in a good place at present.
“I think personally for him now, things are as good as they’ve ever been here,” he said. “He’s as happy as he’s ever been here, he’s got his family up here now settled. He’s found a nice family home for them all.
“And I think you can see that in his football, he’s enjoying himself, he’s putting himself about, all 3ft 5in of him, he’s working hard every day and I think it shows every day on the pitch now.
“He’s a little magician when the ball drops at his feet, he can find runs that not many people can, probably no one in the league can find the passes that he manages to see. As I said, we’re just lucky to have him here.”
Town are next in action at Fleetwood on Saturday, Joey Barton’s Cod Army having climbed to third in the table - four points behind the Blues and two off Wycombe Wanderers in second - following yesterday’s 3-0 win at Shrewsbury.
“I think the games are going to get bigger and bigger week on week now,” Jackson said. “We just need to maintain our levels and find the level that we can produce.
“We’ve got a lot more to offer, so hopefully we can have a good week of training now, everyone will stay fit and everyone will be as ready as they can be for Fleetwood.”
Photo: Action Images
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