Dobra: I Can’t Wait to See What Next Season Holds and Push On
Wednesday, 5th May 2021 10:34
Blues forward Armando Dobra says he can’t wait to see what next season has in store having broken into manager Paul Cook’s team in the final few games of this campaign.
The 20-year-old was the Blues' standout performer in last night’s 0-0 draw at Shrewsbury in which he felt his team did well enough aside from not finding the net.
“I think it was a good performance from the boys,” he said. “I think we dominated the game from start to finish.
“They had maybe a few chances on the counter-attack but apart from that I thought we were the better team. It’s just about being more clinical in the final third.
“It’s something we have to work on in the training ground. The manager’s come in and talked about how stats are important if you’re going to be playing in attacking roles, that we need to get goals and assists, and that’s something we need to work on.”
Dobra has started the last two games, adding to one earlier appearance in the XI since Cook took over, and has been regularly used from the bench by the new Town boss. The Londoner is pleased to have been given the chance to show what he can do in the last couple of fixtures.
“I think for me it’s been very good,” he continued. “The manager’s come in I’ve done alright in training and he’s given me an opportunity, and I’m grateful to him for giving me an opportunity because without him giving me that I can’t show what I can do on the pitch.
“He just said to go and express yourself, enjoy yourself, get in those pockets. When I get turning at defenders I think that’s when I’m at the best of my ability.
“I’m really enjoying my football at the moment, hopefully I can continue it next season and see where it goes.”
Dobra’s role on the right has allowed him the freedom to drift inside and he says he enjoys the way Cook sets his team up.
“I think the manager’s style suits the way I want to play,” he said. “It’s more like attacking, pressing football and I really enjoy that type of football. I’ve done it throughout the academy as well.
“He’s given me a few tips on positions I need to take up and I think he’s really helped me improve as a player and hopefully I’ll improve next season as well.
“My preferred position is the number 10 but the way we play that right-side is more like drifting inside so it suits me, so I don’t really mind playing on the right, left or in the middle, I can do all three.”
He says Cook has spent individual time with him and with other players despite life at the club having been very hectic since he took over at the start of March.
“I think he’s spoken to everyone, trying to help all the players, trying to improve all the players,” Dobra added.
“I think he’s been very good for me, he’s been very good for some of the other players as well. I’m just thanking him for helping me and hopefully he can continue to do that and I can continue to get better.”
Dobra believes he can contribute goals with his league account yet to be opened despite notching once in the Carabao Cup - on his senior debut at Luton in August 2019 - and once in the Papa John’s Trophy.
“I just need to keep getting the right positions and I know I can score. It’s just about keeping getting in those positions,” he said.
Despite his diminutive stature, the youngster isn’t afraid of the physical side of the game and has already picked up one senior red card on his League One debut at Accrington last season, in addition to dismissals in the U23s, but he says he’s not quite so impetuous these days.
“I think the manager’s also noticed that as well, so he’s just told me to keep my head and I think that’s the way to do it,” he said.
“If they see me shouting to the ref it’s just going to make me play bad. So if I keep my head and keep going then that’s the only way to do it.
“I think the red cards that I got last season and the yellows as well, I’ve got to keep calm so the manager trusts me that when I’m on the pitch I won’t lash out. It’s also good not to lose it, it’s about containing it.”
However, he believes it’s important to keep that fire in his belly: “I think that’s what’s got me to where I am right now. If I lose that then I’m going to lose what I’m about. It’s about keeping it and about controlling it.”
Dobra was one of five academy graduates to start against the Shrews - along with Myles Kenlock, who was making his 100th senior appearance, Luke Woolfenden, Andre Dozzell and Flynn Downes - with Teddy Bishop among the subs.
“I think all the academy boys, it’s good to play with them because I’ve seen them come through,” Dobra reflected.
“You’re playing with them in the U23s as well and it’s good to be playing with your mates and it’s a good experience.”
A big disappointment at Shrewsbury was Kane Vincent-Young suffering a late shoulder injury and Dobra wished his team-mate well for a swift recovery: “Since he’s come back he’s been very good. Hopefully he gets well so and he’s back next season.”
Asked if he had any concerns with the number of players who are expected to come in this summer and where that might leave him in the pecking order, he said: “I just think whatever happens is good for the club and it’s just healthy competition.
“If there are players coming then it’s just going to make me better and make the team better and hopefully push for promotion.
“I think whoever the manager brings in I think it’s just going to be good for the club and it will help me develop because more experienced players coming in will help me.”
Dobra is pleased that Kieron Dyer, his manager with the U23s and prior to that the U18s, has been working with the senior side since Cook took over.
“He’s been very good, he’s given me a few tips on positions I should take. It’s nice to have him around,” he said.
“He’s a very good coach, I think. And I think he’s only going to get better. With his contributions I think he’s a really good coach and he’s good to have around.
“He’s had a very good career and he’s played in a similar position to me, so I can take tips from him and he can tell me what to do. He helps me all the time and that’s really good.”
Turning to Sunday’s final game of the season at home to Fleetwood, Dobra says it’s important to go out on a high: “That’s the aim, to get the three points, play how we played today and just add that little bit of end product and I think we’ll get the win.”
He says it’s not been the same without supporters present this season: “Without the fans there’s no atmosphere, there’s no buzz in games. Home and away if the fans are booing you it spurs you on to do better. If the fans are cheering you you want to do something when you get the ball. They’re a big miss.”
While Sunday will see the season end for most of his team-mates Dobra’s campaign is likely to continue for a few weeks with the Albanian U21s for whom he has previously won three caps.
“I think there are a friendly and a European qualifier [away in Andorra on June 4th], but I’m not sure if I'll get called up.”
Asked about the potential for breaking into Albania’s senior side, he added: “I’m just focusing on the U21s, then hopefully I’ll get a call-up for the first team.”
Looking ahead to 2020/21, he added: “I’m really happy, I can’t wait to see what next season holds and push on from there.”
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