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.”
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