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Huws Feeling More Confident in His Fitness
Thursday, 2nd Jan 2020 11:54

Midfielder Emyr Huws says he’s feeling more confident about his fitness and is looking to play more regularly and perform more consistently in 2020.

The 26-year-old suffered a knee injury at Middlesbrough in December 2017 which required surgery and missed the rest of that campaign. He subsequently endured a hugely frustrating 2018/19 in which he made a number of abortive comebacks.

But the Wales international has suffered no serious fitness issues since returning for pre-season ahead of this campaign and made his third League One start of 2019/20 at Wycombe on New Year’s Day, in addition to five league sub appearances and seven starts in the various cup competitions.

He admits it’s been tough not playing week-in, week-out so far this season but says that’s nothing compared to how things were last term.

“Not as frustrating as last season, Jesus!” he said. “I couldn’t even get anywhere near anything because of my fitness, so in that sense I’m really happy with how things are going.

“Performance-wise, I can do better, I know that and I will do better. I need to lower expectations a little bit and just keep going working hard, which is what I’m doing."

He feels he needs a run of matches to get back to the top of his game: “Yes, I think that’s expected, so that’s why I said I have to lower expectations because coming in and out is tough, I’m not going to lie.

“But we’re a big team, we’ve got a big squad, we should be back to where we were at the start of the season, just by working hard like we were and not getting complacent. It’s not panic stations, it’s not what it seems after conceding five [at Lincoln]."

Asked if it has been a case of the management holding him back for his longer term good, he reflected: “I think there was a bit of that at the start of the season but I’m not injured anymore, so that’s dead and gone, I need to perform consistently to get in the team and stay in the team, and we need to win games, simple as that.”

Having been injury free for a while now, is he now getting more confidence in his fitness? “I think so, that’s a good question. I am getting more confident, which is nice.”

He admits the abortive returns followed by further spells on the sidelines were tough to take and had an impact.

“It was like that,” he continued. “And you always have that little birdie in the back of your mind. But it’s been nice [to be injury free for so long], so I think I’ve finally seen the back of all that s***.

“I can now build confidence in that sense, build confidence in performances and I’m sure I’ll start playing more consistently and more regularly and help the team.”

Reflecting on the 1-1 draw with leaders Wycombe, Huws felt the Blues did enough to take all three points.

“Yes, we created more chances, we should have converted those chances and we were the better team by far in the first half,” he said.

“In the second half it was more of a contest when Bayo [Adabayo Akinfenwa] came on and changed it a little bit, but we should have been at least two up then and it would maybe have been a different game. So frustrating, we should have got more today.”

Huws played alongside Akinfenwa during a loan spell at Northampton in 2012 and knew precisely what to expect from the 16-and-a-half-stone man mountain, who came off the bench in the 65th minute and a minute later played a part in the Chairboys’ equaliser.

“He’s unbelievably effective at what he does and he’s been doing it for years,” Huws said. “He causes carnage when he comes on, to be fair to him.

“We should have dealt with him better though. It’s just frustrating really. I think it’s positive coming from where we’ve come from, but we should have got three points really.”

Asked whether the draw with the division’s top side stops the rot, Huws responded: “It’s not a rot, just a little blip, a little tiny bit of complacency maybe. If we work hard and everyone works hard we’ll put it right I’m sure, especially with the attitude we showed today.”

Town would probably have gone on to win if they had established the two-goal advantage that they had the chances to secure. Given the current run, Huws was asked if is there some nervousness at 1-0 at present.

“You know the score in football, when you’re on top you want to add more. You’re on top for a reason and you need to capitalise," he said.

“We were so close today, I haven’t seen the replays but some of those chances, Nors’s chance at the far post, we were close to getting it, we need to get it. But we’ll look at the positives and build on it when we get back to Ipswich.”

He added: “We just need to be a little bit more clinical. We’re working on it, we addressed it, clinical in both boxes, especially in this league.

“There are fine margins in the boxes and we need to tidy up and be ruthless and clinical and I think everything will work itself out.”

Looking back to the impressive start to the season, Huws admits that few would have expected the Blues to go on a run of 11 games in all competitions without winning over 90 minutes.

“Yes, margins. We have to fight for those margins and be ruthless in the boxes,” he continued. “I think that’s it because when we’re on top it’s a different game then.

“But I think we had a tough game the other day, we conceded five goals and we were known for not conceding many, so we need to get back to that first and then we’ll build on that.

“We need to win ugly and do the dirty side of the game and that’s how we’re going to win matches.”

Did the home truths told in the dressing room at Lincoln spur the side on at Wycombe? “We’re a team. I haven’t been involved recently, which is frustrating for me, but we win and lose as a team and conceding five is not acceptable in any form.

“We know that, we had some big conversations and we’re looking forward and I think it’s all positive now and today was a building block from which to push on."

In addition to the improved display at Adams Park, another positive was the return of midfielder Teddy Bishop after the knee injury he suffered in pre-season.

“He’s a top player, everyone knows that,” Huws said. “He’s had it tough with injuries like me, so I think if we integrate Ted progressively he’ll add to the team 100 per cent.

“He’s different to what we’ve got. He’s more creative and he’s a really good player and hopefully he can help us.”

Looking ahead to Saturday’s third-round Leasing.com Trophy tie at Exeter, Huws was asked whether he’ll be OK to start at St James’ Park having played the full 90 minutes yesterday.

“All we’re doing is travelling these days, honest to God!” he laughed. “I don’t know how far it is but it’s meant to be miles away.

“But I feel good. I work hard on my fitness, we all do and we’ll recover and we’ll look to win that and build momentum now.

“We’re going to go down there to try and win and progress and hopefully do well in that competition.”

Huws says being only three games from a Wembley final is a big motivation: “I’ve just found that out. That’s a little incentive. Not all of us have played there, I haven’t played there.

"We need to build on it and build momentum and keep winning. Winning teams just keep winning, it’s a habit. We’ll get back to that.”

The former Manchester City trainee agrees that a Wembley trip would be a great way to thank the fans after some difficult years.

“Oh yes, they’ve been class again today,” he said. “The home support and the away support is phenomenal. It’s just a big rock that’s always there, it’s class, so we’re always thankful to them and they deserve a big 2020.”

The big news prior to kick-off yesterday was manager Paul Lambert signing a new deal which takes him to 2025, a move the Llanelli-born schemer welcomed.

“It’s great news for the club and for the boys to have some security there, some consistency. We’re all just pushing forward and looking forward to 2020 now,” he said.

Is Lambert the man to take Town back up? “Yes, if we do what know we can do and work hard and do the things we have been doing then I think we’ll do it. This little blip is just a little learning curve.”

Photos: Pagepix/TWTD

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Ravanelly added 12:02 - Jan 2
I thought he looked good yesterday. gave our midfield more of a physical presence.

Suffolkboy added 12:19 - Jan 2
It can be metaphorically a’ long way back ‘ after such an injury ,and an experience to literally cause you to question how and when ,and maybe if you’ll ever get back to the fitness and sparkling levels you once took for granted .
It is very good to see him in the side ,willing himself on ,and obviously keen and hopeful of re- establishing himself successfully enough to see out his professional career as a footballer .
He certainly looked every bit a super addition when he first arrived,so let’s all hope things go really well !

dirtydingusmagee added 13:01 - Jan 2
well you may want to play more often but you CANT , you can only have a game every 2 or 3 weeks ,thats the way now, Dont be greedy .

ShropshireBluenago09 added 13:04 - Jan 2
Huws was good yesterday, did the basics well, passed, tackled, tracked. Huws and Downes with Judge no10 look much better than Skuse and Nolan

NITFC added 13:08 - Jan 2
Definitely one of our best players yesterday. Probably his best performance since that horrible injury. Welcome back Emyr

shakytown added 13:10 - Jan 2
Would keep him and Downes together for a few games but we will probably see him back on the reserves bench next game.

jas0999 added 13:16 - Jan 2
Still looks off the pace to me. His injury record is also on par with Will Keane.

However, when fit he has something which only a few of our squad have - quality.

It’s good to see him back, along with Bishop.

Marinersnose added 13:34 - Jan 2
I for one doubted whether Huws would ever rediscover his fitness and form after so long away from competitive football. Today for me demonstrates that he has turned the corner which could be a huge positive for the team. Great to see Bish also knocking on the door. Both players have quality which is required to win this league.Agree with other posts that this team and setup should be given a run of games together. Midfield looks better balanced. Still not sure about Edwards although he delivered a couple of decent crosses. Cotter for me is a better option as he is stronger quicker and better on the ball. Both need to work on their defending. Positive start to 2020

ShropshireBluenago09 added 14:03 - Jan 2
Mariners nose - totally agree regarding Edwards. Just doesn’t seem up to it at this level, very inconsistent. Cotter is a good shout, if he has his head right. Our form has dipped in conjunction with KVY being injured.

ArnieM added 14:07 - Jan 2
So with all our midfielders fit , what would be our best midfield options then guys?

ShropshireBluenago09 added 14:09 - Jan 2
As yesterday Arnie - Huws, Downes with Judge no10

ArnieM added 15:05 - Jan 2
Yes I think Judge looked more effective there I must admit. I think the key going forward is a settled team and KVY back in the team .

BildestonBlue added 17:33 - Jan 2
I’ve always been a big fan of Huws but after seeing him the last few months Ive been worried he wouldn’t regain the form he showed during his loan! I understand his lay off will undoubtedly mean he needs time to fully excel but he doesn’t seem to have the same drive and desire he once did! I hope I’m wrong!

Daz added 19:42 - Jan 2
Huws Sears and Bish. have to be top of the list to get these guys fit and playing Every Week

TimmyH added 00:25 - Jan 3
Sorry have to disagree with some of the posts on here...I was watching him for most of the match as there are expectations on him to come into the starting 11 and get things turning over, thought he had a quiet game and 1st half wasn't sure he was on the pitch in fact Judge in my opinion did more than him...still jury out on him but he does deserve a string of consistent starts to see if he can improve.

shakytown added 04:46 - Jan 3
It amazes me how many people think these guys are just going to dominate this league. Between them they have played about 4 games in the last year and will take time to get MATCH fit.

WorcesterBlue added 07:47 - Jan 3
Have to agree with Timmy H. With Bish he is definitely our best midfielder if he puts the yards in. Bish makes clattering tackle within 5 minutes of coming on, Huws barely breaks sweat letting Downes do the hard yards and most of the passing. Needs to massively up his work rate in this league but maybe a few back to back games alongside Downes will do the trick. As to best midfield - as with Saturday until Bish fit and then get him competing with Judge for the more attacking role. Pigs might fly though with the ridiculous squad rotation and obsession with Skuse. Dominant CB to play alongside Wolf and a proper wide player on my wish list!!

Dissboyitfc added 08:02 - Jan 3
Good to see Huws back, had a good game against Wickham. Hope he can stay fit and get a run in the team. Although that’s the biggest problem no settled side, no players getting a run no settled formation. All the players need the, I must play well to keep my place in the team mentality. At the moment it really doesn’t matter how an individual plays, play rubbish and cost the team points and it doesn’t matter if you are a loan either!

I am going off PL more and more each game, loan players should only be used in a needs must situation. They shouldn’t impede the progress of our own and and they need to be better than our own. Sadly not the situation with Norris! I expect Holy in goal on Saturday only to be dropped for the following game, complete and utter madness. Our slip down the division is firmly down to PL’s constant changes.

PortmanTerrorist added 09:50 - Jan 3
Sorry guys, not sure what you were watching. My son and I spent most of the game watching Emyr and pulling our hair out. Nothing progressive in his game, took nothing on the half turn, routinely put his team mates in more bother than he was in. We ALL KNOW there is a terrific player in there, but what PL needs to work out is if we have the time this season to just fill a hole in midfield with someone clearly devoid of confidence (he admits as much) and understandably finding his feet again after long, really long, lay-off.....or do we go with others who can add more. PL needs to decide if and how much he can get out of Emyr this season, as not buying that the performance at Wycombe was anywhere near up to his standard or that which we need to get us out of this league.

Daz added 10:22 - Jan 3
i see the experts are judging players from one game despite them being out for such a long time

Daz added 10:24 - Jan 3
It Takes Time and games

rugbytomc added 10:25 - Jan 3
What doesn't serve us so well this season is the loans system (ironic given how it's served us in the past!). In an ideal world the likes of Huws and Bishop and Keane could have gone on a 1-2 month loan to another team and played every game to get themselves fit and sharp and in form then come back and hit the ground running. But because there are no short term loans allowed anymore, we're struggling to see the best of these players and we're not in a position to just pick them every week until they get fit and find form.
I like all our midfielders (apart from Nolan - sorry) but we don't need them all and we desperately need better centre backs than Chambo, Wilson or Nsiala so I hope we can get some of them fit enough to sell/swap!

Daz added 10:30 - Jan 3
If we where winning and flying at the moment then loaning them out wud be best but we are not so we need everyone fit

Daz added 10:43 - Jan 3
rugbytomc i agree its a shame about the short term loans

DanSuperTown added 11:16 - Jan 3
This is my frustration at "rotating " after a good performance at vs Wycombe, there should be no doubt he starts the next game, he then has to fight to keep his place, dozzer, nolan, skuse etc have to fight to take his place and therefore improved performances, if you know you will get dropped or conversely get a chance in 2 to 3 weeks come what may, why bother??

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