Wilson: Set-Piece Work With Gilly Paying Off
Wednesday, 10th Mar 2021 10:20
Centre-half James Wilson says work with first-team coach Matt Gill has been behind the Blues’ recent run of set-piece goals.
Wilson netted Town’s equaliser in last night’s 1-1 home draw with his former club Lincoln City, the Blues’ sixth goal in a row which has come directly or indirectly from either a corner or a free-kick.
James Norwood's winner at Hull is Town's only goal from open play in their last seven matches.
Wilsom felt Town deserved the point against the Imps and might even have won it in the second half.
“I think on the balance of play maybe a point was a fair result but I think we could have edged it at some point, I think we played some really nice football in the second half,” he said.
The draw moved the Blues up a place to seventh, only a point off the play-offs ahead of Saturday’s home game against Plymouth.
“I didn’t know that, every point is important and I think we’ve got 14 games left, so that’s plenty of time,” the Welshman continued. “If we can carry on from the second half performance, I think that’s only a positive.”
Having struggled against sides towards the top of the division for most of the season, in recent weeks Town have beaten Hull, Doncaster and Accrington before drawing with third-placed Lincoln.
“It gives you confidence,” the 32-year-old reflected. “I think we’ve still got a lot to work on. I think the gaffer is trying to change a few things, which is great, it’s what we needed.
“It’s going to take time to implement everything exactly how he wants but I think the second half was a good start.”
New manager Paul Cook has been at the club for a week and Wilson says the switch of boss has brought a change of approach.
“Every manager you get is completely different, so it’s been a lot different,” he said.
“We’ve just got to try and take on board everything he’s saying quickly because we haven’t got many training sessions this season really, it’s all about games. Every time we work with him, we’ve got to take a little bit extra.”
Having been out since the Lincoln away game in October due to a knee injury which required surgery, Wilson has played every match since returning for the Oxford match on February 20th. But he says he’s OK physically despite having played six games in that time.
“Fine, I feel alright,” he said. “Aches and pains but you just about recover before each game. They’re giving us plenty of time and looking after us, so it’s good.”
Until last week’s match at Accrington, Wilson hadn’t scored since October 2018 - in a 6-2 Lincoln win at Port Vale - but now he has bagged two in three games.
“Yes, I don’t think there’ll be a lot more,” he reflected. “But hopefully I can get a few more.”
He admits his celebration needs a bit of work: “It’s hard, you usually run off to the fans but there’s no one to run to! I don’t really know where to get, I just get back into my position, to be honest. I probably do need to work on it. Next time I’ll do a front flip or something!
Wilson knows the importance of central defenders scoring and says work on the training field is playing off.
“It’s been brilliant the last few weeks especially,” he said. “We’ve worked a lot with Gilly on winning first balls in the box and I think I’ve got a couple, [Luke] Chambers got one and and Toto [Nsiala] nearly got one in the first half, so everyone’s getting closer, which is good.
“Before the gaffer came in, we started doing these new set pieces and I think it’s been really good. We feel like we can score from every set piece, and we got loads in the first half, got a few in the second, so it’s positive.
“I think we’ve tried to score off the first ball, which puts them on them on the back foot, which means we’re getting chances after that if we don’t get the first ball, so it’s been really good.”
Cook has said he wants Town to play on the front foot, which Wilson says feels will take a little while for the team to adapt to.
“I think so, I think he wants us passing the ball, stepping in more, keeping the ball for longer, completely different style of play,” he said. “I think we’ll get there but I think it’ll probably take time.
“It’s been really enjoyable so far. Everything’s been really positive, which is good.”
He says manager Cook is a bubbly character on the training field: “He is, yes. He’s different to before, so it’s a welcome change.”
Wilson has been partnered in the recent good run by Toto Nsiala with the pair also the centre-halves during the positive early-season form.
“I like playing with him. I think at the end there it showed what a good defender it is, an unbelievable block. It’s been good and I’m enjoying it,” he added. “It’s a good base [for the team] to build on.”
Cook stressed the importance of partnerships at his press conference on Monday and Wilson agrees that they are key to a successful side.
“One hundred per cent,” he said. “But saying that, I think the boys that aren’t playing are working really hard. He’s working with everyone to know how we’re going to play, so if anyone steps in it’s going to be the same thing I think.”
Wilson knows he and Nsiala will be kept on their toes by Luke Woolfenden and Mark McGuinness.
“Yes, and at full-back we’ve got options as well. I think it’s going to be a good run-in, hopefully.”
Meanwhile, Sheffield Wednesday sources have played down a claim Town boss Cook is eyeing a reunion with his former Wigan midfielder Josh Windass.
The 27-year-old was claimed to already be on Cook’s summer wish list late last week only a couple of days after he had taken over at Town.
However, the Sheffield Star reports that the Owls have indicated that as things stand Windass, who has previously said he and Cook didn’t always see eye to eye while with the Latics, won’t be going anywhere and that there’s been no interest from the Blues.
Photo: Matchday Images
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