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Ward: We Have to Be Really Positive and Believe We Can Make Play-Offs
Monday, 19th Apr 2021 10:40

Town veteran Stephen Ward insists that he and his colleagues must remain positive going into the final five games of the season because there is still a lot at stake for the club.

Four points is all that separates the Blues from the League One play-offs and Republic of Ireland international Ward remains confident they can claim a top-six slot, despite a run of just two wins from the 11 games since manager Paul Cook took charge.

Left-back Ward, 35, said: “It will hurt everyone if we don’t win promotion because this is a club that wants to get promoted. We understand that more than anyone. It has been a tough year, both off and on the pitch, for everyone and for every team.

“Other than probably the two teams who go up automatically, I think most teams will have had dips here and there, plus injuries, and it has been difficult with the amount of games. Everyone has been in the same boat.

“Yes, I came here to try to help the team get promoted and I still believe we can. I feel we have enough in the dressing room to get into the play-offs.

“Hopefully it’s going to go down to the wire and we need to stay in touch right down to the last day of the season.

“Tomorrow night’s game at Northampton is huge and we need to go there and get a positive win. Then, hopefully, come back to Portman Road and be ready to go again on Saturday against Wimbledon.”

Nobody needs reminding how Town fared at Wimbledon last midweek, losing 3-0, but there was an upturn in their display in holding Charlton, another team looking to secure a play-off place, to a goalless draw at The Valley at the weekend.

Ward added: “We were disappointed not to win after the performance on Saturday. We knew we needed a reaction after Tuesday night – that was obviously a tough night – because everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong.

“It was important that we showed a reaction, firstly as players in terms of our performance, and I thought we did that. I thought we played well on Saturday and were unlucky not to win the game. In the end we’re probably disappointed we didn’t take all three points.”

Town have failed to score in any of their last four games – and six of their last eight – but on the plus side they have kept four clean sheets. So, despite the obvious lack of a goal threat that has seen Cook’s men average a goal per game over the course of the season, bizarrely the very same ratio applies to goals conceded.

“We were especially disappointed at Wimbledon to concede from a set piece because other than that, except maybe against Portsmouth, we’ve been really solid in that area,” Ward continued.

“The clean sheets not only come from us and we can see a lot of the work that goes on ahead of us a lot of the time, like the press we have from the top end of the pitch and in the middle third as well.

“Of course we’re happy with the clean sheets and hopefully it’s a foundation that we can build on. Hopefully, in the coming weeks and the next five games, we can start putting the ball away. That will give us a nice balance and hopefully bring some positive results.”

Ward admitted he is disappointed not to have contributed at least one goal to the cause and added: “I probably haven’t had too many chances if I’m being honest but we know we need to have goals coming from all areas of the pitch. We need to create more and we can’t just rely solely on the centre-forwards.

“We’re all disappointed that we haven’t dug in more and scored more goals but we are working hard at it. Sometimes it can be a confidence thing when we’ve not scored as many as we’ve wanted.

“We can sometimes try too hard to create that chance and get the goal, so we maybe just need to relax and get back to the basics. Hopefully it will be the case that when one goes in it will open a door.”

Does he believe anything less than six points from tomorrow’s visit to Sixfields and the home clash with Wimbledon at the weekend is likely to finally end their play-off hopes? He said: “Listen, that’s what we want but we’re not looking any further than tomorrow night. We know we have to win that one.

“It has been a tough season, a tough few months for everyone, and we’re still right in there. We have to be really positive and believe we can get in the play-offs, and then do something in the play-offs. First and foremost that starts tomorrow night.

“If we can get a win away at Northampton it sets us up for a home game that we will look to go and win. It’s a massive week in our season and we believe that if we get two positive results we will be right in and around it come the last three games of the season.”

Town’s automatic promotion hopes realistically ended several weeks ago and it seems the current top two, Hull and Peterborough, are well placed to stay there for the remainder of the campaign, especially since Sunderland are eight points adrift in third.

Ward was asked about the difference between the top two and Town, to which he replied: “It’s difficult to say really because when we played them I don’t think there was that much between the teams. I think it’s the same with a lot of the teams up there.

“Sometimes, when teams have got on a good winning run, they have been able to keep them going longer than we have. We’ve probably dipped in and out of winning games, getting back-to-back wins and then not picking up such positive results.

“Sometimes in this league, when you’re winning and you keep winning it’s a lot easier to keep going. But when that stops and you lose one or two it can be difficult to get back on that run. They’ve probably done that better than other teams.

“It’s a credit to them that they are where are for a reason and we’re where we are, knowing we have to work hard to get into those play-offs. We’ve got to be positive. I’ve been in dressing rooms throughout my career where I’ve missed the play-offs on the last day and on other occasions I’ve qualified for the play-offs on the last day.

“There’s plenty to play for – there’s still 15 points out there that are up for grabs – and we’ve got to start by getting three points tomorrow night.” 

Photo: Matchday Images

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runningout added 10:43 - Apr 19
When we are likely to score 3 plus goals a game. Then we can be more positive

runningout added 10:43 - Apr 19
When we are likely to score 3 plus goals a game. Then we can be more positive

runningout added 10:44 - Apr 19
oops! Phones knackered

bluelodgeblue added 10:44 - Apr 19
Jeez not another one????

Pencilpete added 10:47 - Apr 19
id love to know what they are putting in their tea ..... we can't score a single bl00dy goal but suddenly think we can put 5 wins on the bounce together


jas0999 added 10:50 - Apr 19
Not going to happen. Squad nowhere near good enough.

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 10:53 - Apr 19
All we need is for Oxford, Portsmouth, Charlton and Doncaster to all lose most of their matches, while we win all our remaining five and add something like 15 goals to our goals difference column. Should be easy.

ArnieM added 10:55 - Apr 19
Tbh I’m past caring what this bunch of loser feel and think now. They have a losers mentality, and if they can’t gee themselves up to beat teams around the bottom half of division THREE, then they are a sorry collection of so called “ professional footballers”.

Just leave now and shut the door behind you on your way out. You’re DONE at ITFC.

saffers12 added 10:57 - Apr 19
Bore off Ward

northernblues added 10:59 - Apr 19
Notice to all our players, we need to stop talking and start scoring!
I'm sick of hearing this bull!

TractorFrog added 11:03 - Apr 19
Good theoretical attitude from Stephen Ward, but I'm not sure it is really the attitude of the entire team. Confidence is what they need, and I really hope they can get some with a win tomorrow because, incredibly, it's not over yet.

grow_our_own added 11:03 - Apr 19
"Four points is all that separates the Blues " - No, the four other teams with a better chance of reaching the playoffs is what separates us.

Timefliesbyintheblue added 11:05 - Apr 19
If you are so fed up reading what the players say, then why bother to read it. Doing something you do not like voluntarily says more about you than it does about them.
Try and grasp that they HAVE to do these interviews; I guess they don't particularly like giving them as much as we don't need them. We are all upset, angry etc about our team, but let's try and maintain some dignity.

WeWereZombies added 11:07 - Apr 19
I never thought I would say it but I do miss the soundbite era...

DutchTractorboy added 11:12 - Apr 19
In a way I feel sorry for the players that are on press duty, because they probably get pre cooked drivel on a piece of paper and then have to serve it up. You can say a lot of things of the players we have right now, I sure don't believe that there is much quality around. But I am convinced they are well aware of the fact that this team can't score goals and that it therefore means you're nowhere near a promotion push. Sad really.

Billybobblue added 11:17 - Apr 19
Oh come on.....

Last 10 games
Won 2, Drawn 5, Lost 3
Scored 5 goals, conceded 9

Drew 0 - 0, 4 times and 2 of these teams are in the current bottom 6.
Lost 3 - 0 against Wimbledon currently 19th

Some how we are still in with a chance of mathematically making play offs but we all know, fans and manager that we arent good enough.

minesapint added 11:17 - Apr 19
For as long as it is mathematically possible to sneak into the play-offs, the players' are duty-bound to give it a go. I can't see it happening to be honest but stranger things have happened.

Woodbridgian added 11:23 - Apr 19
yep i really thought i could win the lottery this week, got 2 numbers !

CheffyCooky added 11:30 - Apr 19
Please, no more

90z added 11:31 - Apr 19
Nearly nodded off reading that. Same message different player. All talk no action

BlueBlood90 added 11:36 - Apr 19
The only thing I really believe is that you are one of the worst full backs to ever wear the shirt!

BettyBlue added 11:48 - Apr 19
How do you feel playing rubbish in League One?

Do you sleep at night?

Is it just for the money? No shame? No self respect?


wkj added 11:49 - Apr 19
Then play like it.

BettyBlue added 11:50 - Apr 19
Expelliarmus!!! ( sorry)

BlueArrow added 11:51 - Apr 19
If you can't blind them with science baffel them with b--ls--t

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