Chambers: Great Start, One We Need to Build On
Sunday, 20th Sep 2020 17:20
Skipper Luke Chambers is delighted with the Blues' start to their League One campaign, which sees them top the table after two matches, and says they must now build on that and continue to improve while implementing the approach they have been working on in training since the start of pre-season.
A Max Ehmer own goal and Jon Nolan’s second of the season saw Town to their second 2-0 League One victory in seven days against Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday and to top spot on goal difference.
Speaking after the game, Chambers felt it was important to add to last Sunday’s 2-0 home win against Wigan Athletic: “It’s a great start for us. One that we want to build on, one that we want to continue to improve on.
“I think today we showed signs of implementing what we want to do, what the manager’s setting us up to do.
“In the first half I think it was pretty even, we were just lacking a little bit of tempo and I think we definitely stepped it up in the second half.
“The three players we brought on today [Flynn Downes, Oli Hawkins and Jack Lankester], and even the lads that didn’t come on, having that calibre of back-up player coming into a system that everyone knows is night and day for me, you win the game from that position.”
The 34-year-old was pleased that the defence claimed their second League One clean sheet of the season and their third in five games in all competitions.
“I think you look at that back four, it’s got height, strength, power and pace,” he said. “It’s got everything you need at the moment, especially in this division.
“We’ve started out well, another clean sheet and we’re just looking to build on that. The big man in goal [Tomas Holy] is doing his bit and we’ve got another guy behind him in Dai Cornell challenging him every day, and we’ve got a squad of players that the manager [Paul Lambert] can change at any moment.
“Whether we make changes or not, he knows the lads coming in know their jobs and they’re going to perform for him.”
Is that much of a change from what Lambert required of you last season? “No, I think it’s always a difficult thing when you’re trying to look for a winning formula, but we’ve worked on this for the last 10 weeks, we did it when he first came in and we started really well in the Championship with it, but we just couldn’t score enough goals.
“Today, we’ve scored goals from different areas of the team again. Jon Nolan’s got another one. For me, he’s been absolutely unbelievable since he’s come back.
“For some reason I don’t think he’s rated as highly as he should be at this club, I think he’s a fantastic player for us with the way he dictates the play.
“A lot’s been made of Andre Dozzell, who is flying at the minute, but Jon is making a real difference for us and drives us forward and he’s got another good goal for us today. He’s one that deserves a massive amount of credit.”
Does the captain, now in his ninth season at the club, believe the squad is better set to go the distance this season than they were last year?
“We’ve got a helluva lot of injuries at the moment again,” he reflected. “A lot of them are freak injuries that you just can’t legislate for.
“Aaron Drinan, for one, he’s played a lot of games, a lot of minutes, he’s put so much effort in and he’s picked up what he thought was a little niggle at half-time that turns out to be something more sinister.
“But that’s the way football is. We’ve got two strikers now, Kayden Jackson’s come back this week and will hopefully step into the void for us.
“Oli Hawkins came on today, Nors [James Norwood] worked his socks off but again they’re creating space for the other boys to get themselves on the scoresheet.
“Gwion Edwards could have had a hat-trick today and was a little bit apologetic in there but I think he’s put a right shift in playing right and left and I think he did really well for us today.”
Due to Kane Vincent-Young’s achilles injury Chambers has returned to right-back this season having spent the previous few campaigns in his preferred centre-half role but the former Nottingham Forest and Northampton man says he has no issue with that.
“I’m enjoying playing,” he added. “I just want to play football, I just want to enjoy it. There’s been a lot of noise around the football club for the last few years and we just want to concentrate on what we’re here to do and that’s to win football matches.
“We need to turn around the fortunes of the club because for the last two years it’s not been anywhere near up to the standard that’s expected of the place. We’re just looking to do that and focus on every game as it comes.”
Chambers insists he’d be up to playing the whole season at right-back, despite his years: “You tell me! I am one of the fittest at the club. I think the age I am doesn’t really matter, I can do that week in, week out.
“I did three games in a week in the first week of the season and I’ll do whatever’s required for the team, as I always have done.
“I’m enjoying my time out there, I think I’m making a difference to the team in playing that role, getting us high up the pitch and trying to create some space for our better players. I think it’s working at the moment and long may that continue.”
The Kettering-born defender has already scored once this season, a header from a corner in the Carabao Cup tie against Bristol Rovers, and he’s eyeing more, particularly when breaking into the area at the far post.
“Searsy knows I’ll always be there,” he laughed. “I’m sure that will happen over the course of the next few weeks.
“Listen, I’ll play wherever I’m required, whatever’s needed for the club. I just want want play and enjoy my football for as long as that continues.”
Chambers had praise for centre-half pairing James Wilson and Toto Nsiala: “They’ve done great. I think Willo has taken his opportunity well, injuries have allowed him to be in the team.
“Every time he’s been called on for me for the club since he’s signed, he’s been fantastic. He’s got everything you want as a centre-half, he’s no-nonsense.
“And Toto as well has come back and he’s been [very good]. I think I read an interview he did the other day and if he can just ignore everything other than football he’s going to be fine.
“He’s a very good player and he’s another one that relishes the physical side of the game which we’ve had to deal with in the last few weeks, Joe Garner and the boy Brandon Hanlan up front today, who is a seasoned campaigner in this division, they’ve had them in their pockets.
“We gave away a couple of chances against Wigan from set pieces and second phases and we’ve looked at that this week and they put in some dangerous balls today, but they’ve not had a shot on our goal again really, so we’re delighted with the way that’s started.”
Town have hit the summit early on with expectations and scrutiny already high but Chambers says that comes with the territory,
“There will be pressure from playing for Ipswich Town but we’ll have to handle it, we’ll have to learn from last season and if they want to talk about us, let people talk about us,” he said.
“I think a lot of us have learnt in lockdown that there’s a helluva lot of nonsense that gets written and said, so it’s just water off a duck’s back now I think.”
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