Donacien: We're Glad to Have a Chance to Bounce Back So Soon
Friday, 13th Dec 2019 12:45
Town defender Janoi Donacien has maybe not been a first-team regular this season – but in his 13 appearances so far he has never finished on the losing side.
He owes his place in the side to the injury suffered by Kane Vincent-Young, who arrived from Colchester in January and made the right-back position his own, and he is making the most of his chance to impress.
Donacien was one of several signings made in the summer of 2018 by then boss Paul Hurst, who paid Accrington £750,000 for the one-time Aston Villa youngster who started out with Luton and also had loan spells at Tranmere, Wycombe and Newport.
Following Hurst’s departure Donacien failed to add to his 11 first team appearances and in January this year new manager Paul Lambert agreed to him returning to Accrington on loan for the remainder of the season and he made 19 league appearances and one in the FA Cup during the second half of the campaign.
Donacien returned to Portman Road in the summer but after featuring in Town’s first four league games on the season he took a back seat and had to rely on Leasing.com Trophy and FA Cup ties to add to his senior outings as boss Lambert’s rotation policy kicked in.
Vincent-Young’s absence, however, has seen Donacien emerge as first-choice right-back and he is loving the fact that he is not only appearing on a regular basis but in several games has been among the most outstanding players on the pitch.
Rested for Tuesday’s 2-1 home defeat in an FA Cup second round replay, he is poised to return for tomorrow’s home league clash with fifth-placed Bristol Rovers and said: “We are glad to have another game so quickly after the disappointment of losing the other night.
“There’s nothing like having a game soon after a bad result because it gives you a chance to bounce back, which is what we will be aiming to do.
“There have been a lot of games in different competitions but the fact remains that we are second in the table and have only been beaten twice in the league all season.
“We just have to keep going because there is still a long way to go – more than half a season.”
Asked why there has been a dip in form recently, Donacien assessed: “Different teams play different ways and we’ve played a couple who just sat back and made it really, really hard for us to break them down. It’s about finding ways of getting the results.
“We are still confident and we want to win as many games as we can and gain some momentum. We will be going into every game in a positive frame of mind and if we can win on Saturday it will hopefully be the start of a good run.”
Town turned in their best 45 minutes of the season in last weekend’s league clash against Coventry at their temporary home of St Andrew’s in Birmingham, although they failed to add to their first goal and were pegged back after the break.
Donacien said: “We played really well in that game and should have been further ahead at half-time but sometimes that’s how football works out. Then Coventry came here on the night and they were the better team.
“We showed in the first half of the league game against Coventry how we are capable of producing some really good football and that’s what we will be looking to do on Saturday.
“We need to stick at our game and do what we have been doing, which has got us joy and second place in the league with a game in hand. Hopefully we can do it for 90 minutes on Saturday.
“The gaffer wants us to play good football and that’s what we want to do as well. We’ve got a good squad, a squad more than capable of playing good football rather than a squad that can only boot it long. We haven’t got Akinfenwa up top! We’ve got to play to our strengths.
“We’ve got players who can really play and we also have players who can really get around the pitch and ‘rat’ people as well. I think there’s a lot more to come from this squad. We’ve got a lot of fight in us – we’ve got everything we need.”
Donacien is adamant that Lambert’s tendency to ring the changes for games in the cup competitions has not been to blame for the recent run of results. He said: “It’s not really down to the changes because everyone knows what they are doing and we all get on with our job.
“It’s strange for me to have been rested for the FA Cup games – but that’s football for you. There are loads of ups and downs, highs and lows, so you just have to be ready for it and make the most of it when the chances come your way.
“I think the secret to coping is not to get too high or too low and one thing no player can afford to do is be complacent.
“In my situation Barry Cotter has come in for games and done really well, which is making sure I keep doing the business.
“I’m never happier than when I’m out there with the rest of the boys, playing football. The manager used to say he thought I was a better centre-half than a right-back but I don’t know how he sees me now.
“Every time I have played it has been at right-back, so hopefully that’s what he is thinking, that I’m a right-back.”
Donacien is aware that Rovers’ visit represents a considerable challenge to Town, who have only taken two points from their three most recent home league games against Rotherham, Blackpool and Wycombe.
He said: “We need to set ourselves the challenge of winning this game. It’s not about the other teams, it’s about us and what we do.
“We’re only thinking about our performance on Saturday and getting a win. We want to keep close tabs on Wycombe and not let them get any further ahead of us.
“We are still in a good place and with Freddie Sears on his way back it will give us a lift. Freddie’s a quality player and we see it in training. We just want to get him back out there playing again as soon as possible. He can only help us.”
Meanwhile, Donacien has heard no more about the possibility of being capped by St Lucia, where he was born. “I don’t know if anyone has been to look at me or not,” he continued.
“My brother told me Ipswich had a St Lucian player a few years back [Earl Jean] and he only played 45 minutes or something like that. There are players in England with St Lucian heritage [who have played for the national side] rather than being St Lucian-born like I am.”
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