Penney: Over Time We Will Get Better
Tuesday, 28th Sep 2021 06:00
Despite Saturday’s draw with his former club, Sheffield Wednesday, defender Matt Penney is convinced the boost provided by the previous week’s first win of the season at Lincoln will see Town continue to improve in the current campaign.
Penney, 23, was one of boss Paul Cook’s 19 signings in the summer transfer window and owed his place in the starting line-up against the Owls to the fact that his main rival for the left-back berth, Hayden Coulson, was ruled out by an injury picked up in the game at Sincil Bank seven days earlier.
“In football confidence is massive so as soon as you get your first win it just spreads through the team and when you get into a winning streak it’s the best thing in football,” said Chesterfield-born Penney.
“You could tell from the Lincoln performance that the boys felt a bit uplifted in themselves and a bit better and I think you can see in our performances and the way we play that gradually over time we will get better.”
Penney’s early-season displays were impressive, even if Town were not achieving the results they wanted and were expected to gain. He even netted his first goal for the club in only his third senior outing, the narrow 2-1 defeat at Cheltenham, but the arrival of long-term target Coulson on loan from Middlesbrough saw him excluded from the starting line-up.
He added: “Competition for places is massive in the game and everyone wants to be playing, so obviously I was very disappointed when I dropped out of the side.
“But in football, as in everything else, you just have to work harder, do better and make sure you always try your best.
“I was just working hard on the training pitch and I got my chance on Saturday. I’m relishing every chance I get and every time I get a chance to pull on the shirt I’ll be doing my best to do what I do. I’m enjoying playing here at Ipswich.”
Asked if manager Cook had explained his reasons for leaving him out, Penney continued: “We spoke about bits and bobs. We all know there is competition for places after all the signings that were made in the transfer window and the manager can’t guarantee us anything.
“With me and Hayden both being left-backs we are going to push each other for a place in the side but when one player is picked he knows he has the support of the other.
“Hayden and I get on – there’s no bad blood – and we both want the best for Ipswich. When we pull on the shirt we both want to win so it’s all good.”
Penney came in for praise from Cook last week in the build-up to the game against Wednesday and he is keen to ensure that if he is not in the starting line-up it will not be because of a lack of fitness.
He added: “The sport scientists want you to work as hard on your fitness but it has to come from you as well. Everyone knows that in football today it’s all about fitness and you’ve got to be ready to take your opportunity when it comes along.
“You never know from one week to the next what’s going to happen in football because it’s a strange game. You’ve just got to make sure you keep yourself fit and be ready for when required.
“Then, when your chance comes along, play well and try to keep your place in the side, and try to climb the table with the rest of the boys.
“The manager has made it clear what he expects from his full-backs – a lot of running, to be very solid defensively and to get forward at every opportunity.
“It’s pretty much my game to a tee so I am relishing playing under the gaffer and enjoying every second of it.”
Penney grabbed the opportunity to move south in the summer after joining the Owls’ academy at the age of eight and making his senior debut at the start of the 2018/19 season, by which time he was 20 and had been on loan at both Bradford and Mansfield, making only three substitute appearances in total.
He admitted: “I saw it as a massive move for me. I’d been at Sheffield Wednesday for a long while and I’d been out on loan a couple of times. In my last season there I was in and out of the side.
“I was looking for a move to a club where I would settle down and, hopefully, play week in, week out.
“I had spoken to a few managers and some different clubs but when I came down here and spoke to Paul Cook it kind of all made sense.
“I came down and chatted to him for most of the day then I had a couple of days to think about it and it just made sense to come here. I’m really happy with the choice I made and I am convinced it was the right one.
“It felt as if I needed a fresh start somewhere, at a club where I could refresh and go again. I genuinely enjoyed my time at Sheffield Wednesday but it felt like my time there was coming to an end and I’m delighted to be here now.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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