Wilson: If We Keep Playing Like We Did Against Oxford We'll Be There or Thereabouts
Sunday, 21st Feb 2021 11:18
Centre-half James Wilson insists the Blues are in “a really good place” and believes that if they carry on performing as they did in yesterday’s 0-0 home draw with Oxford United they’ll be “there or thereabouts” come the end of the season.
The Blues dropped a place to 12th as a result of their second successive home stalemate, now six points off the top six and 14 away from the automatic promotion spots.
Asked whether the draw with the U’s was a point won or two lost, Wilson said: “It’s a tough one. I think we deserved to win the game, to be honest. We had some really good chances. But a point’s a point, it’s something to build on.
“I think they’re the in-form team in the league, I thought we had the best chances, so I think that says a lot.
“It’s a bit frustrating but it’s a stepping stone. We’ve just got to take each game as it comes. There’s a lot going on about the place, I think you can all see that. But we’ve got a lot of young boys and we’ve just got to keep going.”
As a centre-half, the Welshman was pleased with the clean sheet: “Yes, of course. That’s exactly what I wanted from today’s game, so really happy with that.”
The 31-year-old was among a number of surprise recalls as manager Paul Lambert made seven changes, the central defender having been out since the Lincoln City trip in October due to a knee problem.
“I’ve been back training for a couple of weeks after my injury,” he said. “I was enjoying training and doing as much as I could in training, so I was hopeful of playing.
“I feel really good. I’ve done loads of fitness work with the physios, so I had two weeks on the grass running and doing fitness work and two weeks’ training, so I was good to go.”
Wilson, who joined the Blues in the summer of 2019 after leaving Lincoln City, revealed he needed surgery on his knee.
“It’s been really frustrating,” he admitted. “I did five or six weeks of rehab and my knee wasn’t right so I had to get an operation, so I had to do the same again, rehab after that.
“It’s been really frustrating but we’ve still got so many games to go, which is lucky, we’ve got 19 games left, so I just want to play as many as possible.”
And he says watching games has been even tougher for injured players this season than it usually is.
“It’s been really hard, even more so this season,” he reflected. “We can’t even come to the games, we’re watching it on iFollow.
“So it’s been frustrating but I think we’re still in a really good place, I know there’s a lot going on, a lot being said but I still think within the dressing room we’re in a really good place.”
Wilson, who says he is “definitely” ready to go again at Hull on Tuesday, says he enjoys playing alongside Toto Nsiala, who also returned to the side yesterday following his hamstring injury.
“I enjoy playing Totes,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ve played with anyone else this season out of the other centre-back boys. But I enjoy playing with Totes, I think we have a good understanding.”
While he, Nsiala and skipper Luke Chambers, who was also back in the side at right-back, added experience to the team on Saturday, Wilson had praise for youngsters Luke Woolfenden, Mark McGuinness and recent new loanee Luke Matheson for their performances.
“I think they’ve done great defensively,” he said. “I think [having] a lot of games has been really tough for them this season, so I think they’ve done great and I think they’ll be back in before long.”
Looking at Town’s current position, despite being six points off the top six, Wilson believes they’re very much in the running.
“We’ve got two games in hand, we need to make them count,” he said. “I think we’re in a really good place, I think if we carry on playing like we did today, we’ll be there or thereabouts.”
He believes one or two wins could really kickstart things and help the Blues to build up some momentum.
“I think so,” he said. “With the number of games we’ve got on Tuesdays, points can quickly tot up. We’ve got to put ourselves in a good position coming into the last five or six games of the season, and I think we can definitely do that.”
Wilson wasn’t overly impressed by Monday’s Blue Action protest, which led to an inadvertent fire caused by a flare and training being suspended for 10 minutes.
“I think it was completely unhelpful, to be honest,” he said. “Obviously the fans have got their opinion, that’s great, but I don’t think that’s the way to go about it.
“Before the Northampton game, I think we had the youngest side we’ve had out all season, so it’s not helpful.”
As that demonstration illustrated, manager Paul Lambert has been under significant pressure, although appears to have been given some breathing space by yesterday’s result and performance against the division’s form side.
Wilson says the players know they have a role in easing that: “It’s our responsibility, we’re the ones out on the pitch. I don’t see anything changing, we’ve just got to keep going, we’ve got to stick together.”
Asked to comment on Kayden Jackson and Jon Nolan being frozen out and made to train with the U23s, he said: “To be fair, it’s nothing to do with us, the decisions that get made like that, it’s nothing to do with us. They’re still our team-mates so we’ve just got to stick with them.
“We’re all in it together, I think they might get a chance later on down the line, you never know.”
Looking ahead to Tuesday’s game at Hull City, who were pegged back to a 3-3 draw in the 12th minute of injury time at Doncaster on Saturday, he said: “They’ve got a lot of talent, so we’ve just got to take it to them and see how we go.”
But he believes if the Blues replicate the display against Oxford then they’re capable of claiming all three points.
“Yes, I think so, I don’t see why not,” he insisted. “Anyone can beat anyone in this league on their day, so if we turn up like we did today, then we’ll have a good chance.”
Photos: TWTD/Matchday Images
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