Cornell: Who Will Be in Goal on Sunday? You'll Have to Ask the Gaffer
Wednesday, 9th Sep 2020 12:23
Keeper David Cornell says he has no idea whether he or Tomas Holy will get the nod between the sticks when the Blues start their League One campaign when Wigan Athletic visit Portman Road for Sunday’s live-on-Sky clash.
Holy kept a clean sheet in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Bristol Rovers in the Carabao Cup, while Cornell could be attributed little blame as the Blues were beaten 2-1 by Arsenal’s U21s in the EFL Trophy last night.
Cornell, who joined Town after leaving Northampton last month, was pleased to make his debut against the Gunners youngsters but disappointed with the result.
“It was OK, I think if we’d have won the game it would have been a bit better,” the Welshman said.
“At times we played really well, we worked the areas nicely, which is what we’re trying to do this season.
“As I said, it was disappointing to lose the game in the end. But I think we’re still building and fingers crossed we can keep building ready for Sunday.”
He says which of the two impressed manager Paul Lambert the most in those two matches is likely to start against the Latics.
“I wasn’t 100 per cent sure, but I think that was the plan and whoever caught his eye will play at the weekend,” he continued.
“Obviously we’re both fighting at it every day for the shirt for the first game.”
Cornell says he doesn’t have a clue who Lambert might select on Sunday: “I haven’t, no, to be honest with you. You’ll have to ask the gaffer that.”
He admits that if he doesn’t get the nod then he might have to wait for his chance in the league with Lambert having stated his intention to stick with the same side if they’re getting results.
“I think everyone wants consistency and hopefully that’s the plan,” he said. “And that obviously whoever gets the shirt goes in and is consistent, helps the team as much as possible and gets the team as high up the league, and fingers crossed for a second promotion.”
The 29-year-old says he’s settling in well and was pleased to get into action quickly in pre-season.
“It was nice to be chucked in straight away, disappointing for the first game [Tottenham away], but I’d only had two or three days’ training before that,” he said.
"But I’m feeling good, I’m getting sharper every day, which what I want and, as I said, pushing for that number one shirt every day and fingers crossed that things go my way at the weekend.”
How far off full sharpness is he? “I think it takes time, it takes a couple of games in the season to get fully up and running, I think it’s the same with everyone. With the way we train, that will help me do that pretty quick.”
Cornell says he and Holy have a similar attitude to the game: “First of all, he’s a great guy, he’s been really welcoming to me. He’s similar to me in the sense that we go at it 100 per cent every day. It’s great to share a pitch with him doing that. That can only bring good things for the goalkeeping unit this season.”
The Waunarlwydd-born keeper says he needed a change, despite his former club Northampton having won promotion to League One via the play-offs this summer.
“I think it was the right time for me to move on,” he reflected. “I had a good ending there to get promoted and play a lot of games that season.
"I obviously wish them all the best other than the two times we play them. I’m grateful for the opportunity to come to this great club and fingers crossed we can push on and be where we want to be.”
Now his target is to add a second successive promotion to his CV: “Last season, the boys started fantastic and, fingers crossed, the boys have learnt the lessons from January time and we can carry that on and be high up the league for as long as we can.”
There were plenty of familiar faces in the squad when Cornell joined up last month with five Welshmen in the squad: “I’ve played with Gwion [at Swansea and with Wales teams], I’ve followed Gwion around a little bit.
"Ems [Emyr Huws] is from not far from me and I also played with Willo [James Wilson] in the Welsh U21s, so there’s a good Welsh contingent here.”
He says he’s comfortable with the ball at his feet, which is something manager Lambert requires of his keepers: “I was lucky to have been brought up at Swansea where from a young age you took the ball and you passed the ball.
"And that’s helped me to this stage now, even though I haven’t done it for a couple of years. It’s going to take me a couple of games to get used to playing that properly, but I’m excited to play this way and fingers crossed we can be successful.”
Have Town got the defenders to play that way? “Yes, I think so, from what I’ve seen anyway. I don’t see why not.”
However, he feels the approach might take a little time to be bedded in: “Yes, of course, it’s a process. Especially the way we want to play, it doesn’t happen overnight.
"If you watch the last two games we’ve played some really good stuff and I think it’s only going to get better, to be honest.”
Looking ahead to Sunday, Cornell says getting a first win on the board would be a big positive: “It’s really important winning your first game and getting three points on the board.
"But at the end of the day, if we don’t win the game, it’s not the end of the world. Obviously, we’re all going in to win the game and obviously that would be great going into the second game, so fingers crossed we can be sharp and ready to go.”
Once again that game will be played at an empty Portman Road and Cornell is looking forward to seeing the stadium with 20,00 fans present at some point in the future.
“It’s just not the same, is it? Obviously the build-up and everything is a lot different," he said. "I am really looking forward to that. When it will be I’ve no idea, but it does excite me to have this place bouncing.”
Has it been strange joining the club at a time when he can’t meet the fans? “It is different, but everything is different, isn’t it? Training seems to be normal on the pitch, but a little bit different off the pitch.
“Even this evening, it would have been nice to have people here. Pre-season games, it would have been nice to have fans in. It’s just one of those things at the minute and everyone’s safety is the most important thing.”
Has the situation made it more difficult to get to know his new team-mates? “I wouldn’t be going in hugging everyone anyway! Look, it’s normal on the pitch which is where you build your relationships.
“I’m lucky because there’s a really welcoming group of lads here, so I’ve settled in with them off the pitch quite easily, which is nice. But everything’s just weird, I guess.”
Keepers tend to come in for more than their fair share of barracking from opposition supporters, but he says he takes that in his stride: “Sometimes it’s a bit of a pain when you’re getting hammered by the away fans but I tend to enjoy it.”
Does it spur him on if he’s getting stick? “I wouldn’t say it spurs you on because you’re fully focused on the job in hand.
“I tend not to really give anything back until the whistle’s gone and we’ve won the game, and I might have a little chuckle or something. I’m not one to wind them up during the game because it might bite you on the backside.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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