Lankester: I'm Ready to Show What I Can Do
Sunday, 25th Oct 2020 19:04
Blues forward Jack Lankester made his first league start since January 2019 at Lincoln on Saturday and says he’s now ready to play his part following his lengthy injury absence.
The progress of Lankester into the first team was one of the few bright spots in the 2018/19 relegation season but having made five starts and six sub appearance the Bury St Edmunds-born academy product suffered the first of two stress fractures to his back which put him out of action until the start of this season.
Having made two League One sub appearances and played his first full 90 minutes in the recent EFL Trophy victory over Gillingham, the 20-year-old made another significant step at Lincoln when he made his first league start in 21 months.
“I’m ready to go and I’m ready to show what I can do in the league,” Lankester said following Saturday’s match.
Does he understand why manager Paul Lambert might have been holding him back after his long spell out?
“I understand where he’s coming from but in a game like this he’s put his trust in me and I’ve shown what I can do, so hopefully this is the first of many,” he added.
“I can go again Tuesday, I’m feeling fine. They took me off after 80 minutes and I felt fine, so I’m ready to go again Tuesday.”
Reflecting on his performance against the Imps, he said: “I think I did well, I think I showed the bits I can do when I get in dangerous positions, killer passes and stuff.”
Did he feel he grew into the game? “Once you get the first few minutes out the way, you can definitely grow into the game, and I think I did that.”
Perhaps the highlight of his performance was a superb second-half through ball for Gwion Edwards which fed the Welshman in on the left of the area in a dangerous position.
“Me and Gwion have been working so that if one of us is cutting in the other one will always be on, so it was nice for it to come off,” he said.
There was also one stylish turn away from his man in the centre circle: “That’s what I try and do as a player, I’m always trying to go forward with it and take players out the game.”
Having made his first league start, a second senior goal - the first came against Millwall at Portman Road in January 2019 - is his next target.
“It’s coming! It’s just a waiting game now,” he insisted. “I’ll get chances and hopefully I’ll take them.”
And he’s keen to be given the opportunity from free-kicks with a number of other players having had a go in the opening fixtures but so far with little success.
“I’d have liked the one today but let Gwion take it,” he said. “I’ve been practicing every day so when one next comes on the left side, I’m taking it.”
Lankester says he likes playing on the right of the front three in the 4-3-3 system the Blues are currently utilising.
“I love it,” he enthused. “I love playing on the right and being able to get into pockets and coming in on my left foot, I think that’s where I’m most dangerous, so I do enjoy it.”
He says he’s not just there to play out on the touchline but to tuck inside: “Definitely because the manager knows I can cause trouble in there.
“And especially now with Chambo playing right-back on the overlap, I think we can be quite dangerous down that side.”
He says skipper Chambers talks him through games: “It helps massively, he’s always talking, always in your ear, defensively and in attack, it does help.”
Lankester is aware that there is plenty of competition for places in his role with Edwards, Freddie Sears and Keanan Bennetts all fighting for two spots in the side.
“There’s healthy competition, all of us we get along together, are always helping each other all the time in training,” he said.
Turning to the 1-0 defeat at Lincoln, who now top the division, Lankester felt the Blues were unfortunate not to take something from the match with a controversial 77th-minute Jorge Grant penalty the difference between the teams.
“I thought we were very unlucky, I thought we dominated possession of the ball and played some really nice football, and just think the decision went against us,” he said. “But that’s football and we’ve just got to move on.”
The performance was far better than at Doncaster, where Town lost 4-1 on Tuesday, despite the result ultimately being the same.
“It was a great reaction, I thought we played with great style,” Lankester continued. “We kept the ball and showed a physical side and, like I said, I think we were unlucky.”
Was the referee’s performance a frustration? “I think that’s just football, you’re going to get games like that. I think the boys dealt with it well. Things went against us and we carried on and we kept going right to the very end.”
Lankester believes that Town will bounce back from the back-to-back defeats: “We played the football, we were probably the better team and showed everyone what we can do, and that will pay off again like it did in the previous six games.
“I think we all know that it’s just a bump in the road that happens in football and we’re all in it together and we’ll go again on Tuesday.”
The Blues attacker knows that following those two defeats, which have seen Town drop from top to fourth in League One, fans will expect six points from this week’s two home games against Gillingham and Crewe Alexandra.
“Yes, and that’s what we’re going for,” he said. “Every game we go out there, we go to win and we’ll be doing exactly that.”
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