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Nolan: Division Stronger But We Still Should Have Enough to Go Up
Thursday, 20th Feb 2020 11:52

Blues midfielder Jon Nolan says League One is stronger now than it was when he previously played at this level with Shrewsbury in 2017/18 but still believes Town have a strong enough squad to win promotion.

Nolan, 27, was one of the Shrews’ star performers as they reached the play-off final two seasons ago prior to following his manager Paul Hurst to Portman Road.

“I said at the end of last season that with the squad we’ve got, we should have enough to go up and I still think that,” Nolan told the club site.

“I’d say there are definitely stronger teams in the league this year than when I was at Shrewsbury though.

“That season, it was only Wigan and Blackburn you looked at and said ‘they will go up’.

“You look at it this season, five, six, seven, eight teams. That has surprised me. There are no runaway leaders. It’s a very competitive league this year.

“Home games are going to be massive for us and when you look at the number [of games] we have, you think it’s an advantage to us.

“It’s in our own hands. We’ve got the ability. We are playing the teams that are around us at home so if we win, we take three points off them as well. It’s down to us.”

Meanwhile, Nolan, his team-mates and the Blues staff took part in a team bonding session at Escape Ipswich yesterday.

"There isn't that long to go in the season and we wanted to get the lads together, off the training pitch, for a different type of team bonding," first-team coach Matt Gill explained.

"My group of six managed to escape and it was really enjoyable to see the lads in a different environment.

"After Saturday's win we've been working hard in training so it was nice to come here for a couple of hours. Doing something like this lets you see other characteristics in the lads and I think we all enjoyed it.

"Escape Ipswich were fantastic hosts and I'd definitely recommend taking on one of their challenges."

Photo: TWTD

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dirtydingusmagee added 12:06 - Feb 20
just our luck, we were going to rip this league up according to some, but now its stronger than last year , !.....thats crap timing .

monty_radio added 12:10 - Feb 20
"With the squad we’ve got, we should have enough to go up and I still think that” - Don't let the gaffer hear you saying that; he'll ask for proof and naming names.

ArnieM added 12:11 - Feb 20
Talk is cheap . Shut yer traps and just DO IT !

chrisswailes added 12:36 - Feb 20
I swear each interview directly contradicts the previous one. Sears, Downes, PRP, Nolan.

Saxonblue74 added 12:44 - Feb 20
Have to disagree that it's a strong league this season. I've not seen a lot of quality. The title was there for the taking, just needed a bit of consistency.

ITFCsince73 added 12:50 - Feb 20
I think this season in L1, there are more teams on a level par.
Does this mean more stronger teams on a level par.
Or more poor teams on a level par.
I’d say the later....overall, poor teams in a poor league.
Very little real quality throughout.
And any team to be promoted this season, will need to invest heavily, to even try and compete in the Championship next season.
The Championship is awash with money now. Big transfer fees and big wages.
Each passing year now, it’s more difficult to get promoted from the Championship, and indeed promoted to the Championship.

VanDusen added 12:55 - Feb 20
I'm looking at our run-in and I'm bullish and still think we have a very good chance of automatic promotion. By and large we've won the games I'd expect us to win (with Accrington, Gillingham & Wimbledon the notable exceptions) and lost the ones I'd thought we'd lose (perhaps doing better getting a point at Peterborough and Coventry that I'd imagined). In that sense we have been consistent. We've played most of the major title challengers home and away bar Portsmouth and Coventry, both of whom have to come to Portman Road and we have four of the bottom five as our final home games. Not to say we won't throw it away - but it's still in our hands I'd feel, and if we play like we did against Lincoln or Burton (or indeed first half against Sunderland or before Garbutt went off v Peterborough) then we should be there or thereabouts...

DifferentGravy added 13:00 - Feb 20
Agree with Arnie and Saxon.

From pre-season...right through until now, players and staff have been commenting on how we should be achieving promotion with the current squad, whipping fan expectation up into a frenzy.......and then people berate those that feel let down by a dire 3 in 20 run and utter garbage on offer ala Rotherham/Peterborough. I havent seen a lot of quality from any team, just organised, tactically competent teams with desire and a good work ethic. However, weve had our moments this season and the latter 70 minutes pf Saturday was a vast improvement. Do the talking on the pitch lads.

Barty added 13:17 - Feb 20
I have watched a lot of games this season and in all honesty the standard in League 1 is generally poor , so our failure [ so far ] to be in the top six says it all. If we do get promotion then we simply have to invest heavily to stand any chance in the Championship.

Pecker added 13:21 - Feb 20
This league isn't any stronger than I thought it to be. It is our squad that is weaker than I thought. I am fed up with this endless stream of players telling us what they think we want to hear. I only care about getting out of this league THIS season. Talking is over, time to deliver every game between now and the end of the season. Get on with it.

inghamspur added 13:25 - Feb 20
Just get on with it FFS and let your boots do the talking.

midastouch added 13:42 - Feb 20
I'm hoping Lambert sticks with the exact same team as we played against Burton for Oxford, so that includes Nolan. The only thing (which I mentioned in a previous comment post) is I think Burton were a bit naive tactically by playing too high a line which we exploited over and over again. I'd be surprised if Oxford are so charitable at the back.
I actually like Nigel Clough and I appreciate it's difficult for him to get Burton to play exactly the way he'd like given they are a club of very limited means. For example, they only brought 177 away fans to Ipswich, albeit in windy conditions. Clearly with their level of support the gate receipts are not going to stretch too far.
We keep hearing we have a good run in. However, predicting football on paper (rather than waiting to see what actually happens out on the pitch!) is fraught with danger. I think a win on Saturday is key. Given we haven't beat a team higher up the league all season it would be a massive confidence booster to beat Oxford. I'm cautiously optimistic following our performance against Burton (although I'm not sure how good a benchmark they actually were). Therefore, I don't want to get my hopes up too high either. I'm not quite in the "NEGCREW" (as Dolphin likes to call us) but a defeat on Saturday would really sting. Hope we can float up the league like a butterfly rather than get stung back down like a bee! COYB!!!

Linkboy13 added 14:22 - Feb 20
Glad to see Nolan back in the team for me Huws is still not fit and doesn't look like creating anything mostly plays sideways Nolan is also more of a goal threat.

rgp1 added 15:04 - Feb 20
So the players spent the day at 'Escape Ipswich'! Well that just about sums things up!

Radlett_blue added 15:28 - Feb 20
I don't know why anyone pays much attention to player interviews (or manager press conferences for that matter) as they all say the same, predictable, eternally positive things.

dirtydingusmagee added 17:12 - Feb 20
as others have said IF we get back to championship it WILL need investment, meaningful investment to stay there, then you have to ask yourself WHERE is that going to come from ? it WONT be from Evans, he has huffed and bluffed his way to this point , dropping a league and miraculously increasing attendance figures, but has stated on many occasions that money is not there. This would seem to be his level a status quo, [no geeeetars please]I think Evans would happily sit there with near misses to promotion .Which is why he should go or find another backer to join him . I fear we are destined to remain Lge 1 now.

smithy0981 added 17:22 - Feb 20
in my opinion we are not the strongest team in this league, there are 4 or 5 better teams than us. I don’t think we are good enough or consistent enough to go up automatically. The best we can hope for is play offs but it will be tough especially as we can’t seem to beat teams around us and our home form is t the best.

Doctor_Earman added 18:33 - Feb 20
Sounds like a preamble for the inevitable ''league gets stronger year on year'' and ''half the division aiming for top 6'' excuses when we get stuck in League 1 for years to come.

BeattiesBackPocket added 19:00 - Feb 20
God if you think this division is strong I really give up or it means you’ve found your level! This division is pretty poor only Rotherham for me looked good so far but I’m not sure whether they are good or we are just more average than we all thought. It’s competitive yes because most the teams are average. I’d love nothing more than for us to go up but we only have five players with any quality for the championship and would need to spend on fees or at least wages if going up and not make the same mistake as last 3/4 seasons.

ITFCsince73 added 19:37 - Feb 20
Look at the current Championship table. All 3 promoted L1 clubs in the bottom 6.
L1 winners and runners up currently sit in bottom 2.
That’s the step up.

Saxonblue74 added 19:52 - Feb 20
Agree it would be tough 73, but would take promotion then 4th from bottom next season! Sheffield utd 6th in the prem after promotion last season, no bigger step up than champ-prem. There's often an exception to the rule. Might just be blind faith on my part!

TimmyH added 20:24 - Feb 20
Stronger?...maybe it's a case that we aren't as good as Shrewsbury when they made the play-offs, food for thought - but after seeing them in that final I'd say we probably are.

dirtydingusmagee added 08:48 - Feb 21
Saxon agree,but a lot of money been invested in the Blades to get them there, we wont get that.

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