Earl Delighted to Make Blues Debut Despite Defeat
Monday, 10th Feb 2020 16:41
Josh Earl may have been kept waiting to make his Town debut but he has no regrets about grabbing his chance of a loan move from Preston.
Earl is now with his second League One club this season, having spent the first half of the campaign on loan at Bolton, and it was after he returned to Deepdale that he heard he was wanted by Paul Lambert to boost his defensive options at Portman Road.
The 21-year-old defender’s first appearance for Town came at the weekend, when he came off the bench towards the end of the 1-0 defeat at Sunderland, and he is now eager to make further appearances in what is left of the season.
He said: “It had been a long time coming but I was delighted to put the shirt on and finally get out on the pitch and get playing again. It was a tough game to come into.
"The lads did really well in the first half but it was a tougher game in the second after Sunderland came out the blocks firing. It was a poor result in the end but we’ll go again tomorrow at Wimbledon.
“It’s always frustrating when you’re not playing but the lads were doing well when I came in, so you can’t really get upset about it.
“They had been winning games and they were on a good run, although things haven’t gone so well lately. We’ve still had some decent performances so I understood why I had to be patient.
“They are a good group of lads here and they’re not going to let it get to them too much.
“There are still 14 games to play so we can’t be treating it like the end of the world, although everyone knows we have to do better than in the last three games. The thing is, it happens in football.
“I know the fans will be expecting us to beat Wimbledon and we’ll be doing everything we can to take all three points. It’s not really an option to not win and not get the three points. We’ll put a shift in, as the lads always do.”
There was no missing Earl when he replaced Janoi Donacien at the Stadium of Light, thanks to the protective mask he was under strict orders to wear after a training ground clash left him with a facial injury.
Earl came clean about the culprit, adding: “It was Willo [James Wilson] who got me with an elbow. Fair play to him, he’s not done it on purpose, but I’ll get him back somehow!
“I know it was accidental but you have to train how you play. If you’re sloppy in training you’ll be sloppy in games.
“I think it’s a fractured sinus or something like that. I’ve not been told too much, just that I’ve got to wear the mask.
“It’s not painful – I can’t feel anything to be fair. I’ve just been told I’ve got to wear this mask for a bit. But it’s nothing major and nothing that is going to prevent me from playing.
“I’m not too sure how long I’ll be wearing the mask. To be honest it will probably get binned halfway through a game because it's so uncomfortable to wear.
“I won’t be sorry to ditch it, to be honest, because I find it a bit restrictive. It stops me from breathing properly through my nose, but it’s not too uncomfortable. I’d rather not wear it but if it allows me to play I’ll go with it.”
Earl, who joined the Preston academy when he was only nine, jumped at the opportunity to add his weight to Town’s promotion challenge. But he admitted he is still not the finished article as a player, adding: “I could do with winning a lot more headers when the ball comes into the box from the sides. It’s a technique thing, not a lack of desire or anything like that.
“I’m not even sure about my strongest position. I’d be comfortable playing in any area the gaffer wants me to play. I’ll always give 100 per cent and do my best. I’ve played as a left-sided centre-half, in the middle of a back three and as a wing-back on the left side.
“I’d be happy to go anywhere across the back and I’m happy being seen as a versatile player.
“As long as I’m good enough to play in any of the positions I’m sure I will get my chance at some point.
“I think being versatile can help me. The gaffer might need someone to fill in here or there and I’d grab the chance.”
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