Nolan: Home Form is Clearly Not Good Enough
Wednesday, 18th Dec 2019 17:15
Town midfielder Jon Nolan has assessed home form this season and admitted: “Quite clearly the results haven’t been good enough and we know we can do a lot better.”
It seems remarkable that a team sitting second in the table with a game in hand on leaders Wycombe, who are seven points clear, can be so well placed after collecting just 13 points from a possible 27 at Portman Road.
On their travels, of course, Town have performed far more consistently, only losing once in 10 attempts and banking 23 points from a possible 30, which is a phenomenal record on the road at any level.
Nolan said: “I actually saw a league table the other day based on our home form and another one based on our away form, and we’re top of the away table but something like 12th in the home one.
“I think for any club to have a successful season the home form has to be right up there, so it’s something we have to rectify quite quickly.
“To be honest I’m not too sure why it is like that. We know teams are going to come and play differently to how they play at home, but I think we’ve been getting sucked into it.
“We’ve become a bit predictable with the long balls up to Nors and Kayden and we need to just work a bit harder to break teams down. Teams are coming here to frustrate us and that’s it really.”
Asked if he understood the fans’ frustration at seeing so few home wins, Nolan added: “Yes, 100 per cent. The fans have been brilliant but when we play at home, and we might go a goal down, they are going to get down.
“I get that – I’m a Liverpool fan and when I watch them on television I feel exactly the same if things are not going right for us.
“But we need to manage that and use the crowd to our advantage, and get them behind us.
“Against Bristol Rovers last weekend we didn’t start playing until we were 2-0 down and I heard a few jeers – but we didn’t get booed off the pitch at half-time, which says a lot for the supporters.”
Nolan was on target twice in his first half a dozen outings this season but he has since gone 11 games without a goal and admitted: “It’s a bit of a drought and it is starting to bother me.
"I’ve had a few chances that I would normally expect to put away without thinking twice, but when you’re on a barren run they tend not to go in as often.
“All I can do is keep getting in the box, in the right positions, and I’m sure things will start going for me.”
The former Everton youngster, despite his fervent Liverpool support, followed ex-manager Paul Hurst from Shrewsbury in the summer of 2018 after defeat in the League One play-off final to Rotherham.
He is eagerly looking forward to Saturday’s visit to Portsmouth, where ex-Town pair Brett Pitman and Ellis Harrison will be competing for places in a side currently sitting in 10th place, eight points worse off than the second-from-top Blues.
Nolan said: “It’s an unbelievable place to play, especially when you’re on top because their fans can get on their own players’ backs.
“It’s very aggressive, it’s close to the pitch and when you’re taking throw-ins you’re getting pelters left, right and centre.
“It’s the same if you’re running down the side of the pitch. It’s an unbelievable stadium but I’m the type who thrives on that sort of thing, which is why I can’t wait to go back to my former club, Lincoln, on Sunday week!
“We’ve got to go to Fratton Park, dominate the ball and try to turn the crowd against them if we can. We need to play a similar game to what we did against Coventry in the first of our three games against them, the FA Cup tie.
“We passed the ball and passed the ball but when we looked back at the DVD of the game we didn’t really create that much.
“We wanted the passing in the middle third to be a bit higher up the pitch. It’s alright keeping the ball but you need an end product.
“That’s what we did in the next game, a week later in the league, when we got forward in numbers and should have been 3-0 up at half-time.
“We passed the ball again but in the first half we were getting in, cutting through them, and I think that’s what we have to learn to do.
“We want to keep the ball and we want to pass it but we’ve got to go forward and we’ve got to score goals.
“We’ve had so many 1-0 wins this season, haven’t we, and I think that if we go a goal up we just need to keep going and put teams to the sword instead of dropping off, dropping off, dropping off.
“That only invites pressure on us and I can’t think of a game this season where we haven’t been hanging on in the second half. It’s psychological because in the two Coventry away games we were unbelievable in the first half.
“At half-time we were saying ‘Keep it going in the second half’ but I just knew we would be going deeper and deeper, inviting pressure.
“The more pressure you invite, the more chances they are going to be able to create, and the more chance they have of one going in. We just need to be more on the front foot for more of the game.”
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