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Penney: We Should Be Able to Beat Anybody in This League
Tuesday, 28th Sep 2021 06:00

Town new boy Matt Penney believes the Blues are capable of beating any side in League One – even if the current table, in which they occupy a place in the drop zone, suggests otherwise.

Rock-bottom Doncaster Rovers are the visitors to Portman Road this evening and few, if any, supporters will be satisfied with anything less than victory as manager Paul Cook and his players go in search of their first home win of the season.

Richie Wellens’s team looked as if they might drag themselves away from the foot of the table at the weekend when they led 1-0 at Plymouth midway through the second half but the home side equalised and then snatched all the points when ex-Town loanee Conor Grant converted a last-gasp penalty.

Rovers’ only win this term was 10 days ago when they defeated Morecambe 1-0 at the Keepmoat Stadium and they are still seeking their first away point after losing all five games on the road, scoring just twice and conceding nine goals.

Penney said: “With the standard of players we have in our dressing room we should be able to beat anybody in this league. It doesn’t change anybody’s mindset that we are playing the team at the bottom because we approach every game wanting to win and this will be no different. The only thing on our mind going into the Doncaster game is that we want the three points.”

Asked if the league table was a concern at the moment, with 38 fixtures yet to fulfil, the defender replied: “We have had a lot changes and brought 19 new signings into the club so it might be closer to Christmas before we start looking at the table and where we are.

“At the moment it’s just about performances and getting points on the board. Pre-Christmas we’ll have a proper look at the table and start concentrating on that.”

Penney is a likely starter after coming into the side at the weekend for the injured Hayden Coulson, when he was in the strange position of having family and friends in both the home and away sections of the crowd, which was the biggest at Portman Road so far this season.

He explained: “My family have been down to a few games, particularly my little brother. He was down at the weekend with some mates and I had mates who are Wednesday fans there as well.

“They were in with the away fans and I could actually hear them during the game. I found it so funny in the first half when I was on their side of the pitch and it gave me a real buzz.

“The others were in with the home crowd and I met up with them all afterwards so it was a good laugh.”

Penney believes the presence of new signing Samy Morsy, eligible after completing the three-game suspension that accompanied him from Middlesbrough last month, will provide Town with a welcome boost and it is likely that the Egyptian international midfielder will also take over the captain’s armband.

He said: “I’ve played against Samy a couple of times in the Championship and he’s a great player. He’s a great lad as well and he would make a difference to any team so we’re lucky to have him.

“He’s a great competitor and I’m grateful he’s going to be kicking other players and not me, that’s for sure!”

Penney has started half of Town’s eight league games this season and featured off the bench in another two. It is largely a consequence of injuries, plus Cook’s varied team selections, that not one single player boasts an ever-present record, while goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky and midfield pair Lee Evans and Scott Fraser lead the way having all missed out once.

Delighted that he made the switch to Portman Road in July after turning down a new deal at Hillsborough, Penney also has a spell in Bundesliga 2 on his CV after he spent the whole of the 2019/20 season on loan at St Pauli and even scored in their biggest game, the local derby against Hamburg, to help his team to a 2-0 win.

He added: “Basically, it was the old Sheffield Wednesday manager, Jos Luhukay, who got me out to Germany. He was head coach of St Pauli and he rang that summer and said he would like to take me on loan for a season. He told me it was a great opportunity, that I would play regularly and that I would love it.

“I had always said to my family and friends that I would love to go abroad for a spell, not just to experience a different way of football but to sample the culture of the place.

“So when the opportunity came along I went with it and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my career. It was really, really good and it’s the highlight so far.

“I learned so much and at the age of only 21 it was a phenomenal experience for me. I knew zero German when I went out there but after a difficult couple of months I started taking German lessons and I was soon able to get by.

“That was all part of the experience and I soon began to understand what was being said in the team meetings.

“Would I do it again? Absolutely, I would and it’s always a possibility in football. I think it would be easier for a single guy, rather than someone who is married and has children, to move abroad.

“That was why I bit the bullet and went out to Germany. I didn’t have any baggage – it was just me and a willingness to go to a foreign country and learn how they did things differently.

“I had never been to Germany previously and I didn’t really know what to expect, but I found Hamburg a beautiful city and really enjoyed my time there. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to any young players who get the chance that I had.

“The football is less physical than it is in England and I think it is easier for young players to break through to the first team over there.”

Penney also explained how he had changed his position over the years, adding: “I started as a left winger and I played there right through to when I was 18. I filled in at left-back and left wing-back for a few games and it kind of stuck.

“I’m still operating down the left side but these days I’m regarded as a full-back or a wing-back and when I’m playing my relationship with the player ahead of me is hugely important.

“Scotty [Fraser] has been in that position alongside me on a few occasions and we are good mates off the pitch as well. I think it shows on the pitch when you have a good connection with a teammate off it – on the same wavelength you could say – and I do enjoy playing alongside Scotty.

“But I’ve played with Bersant [Celina] and Kyle [Edwards] as well and they are also great players.

“Partnerships and team chemistry are massive in today’s game. It is developing all the time and I think you could see positive signs of that in our recent games. I’m sure it will continue to get better right across the side in all the key areas.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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Chondzoresk added 06:35 - Sep 28
We should, but we aren’t. Our season has to kick on soon, otherwise we will be in serious trouble.

Dissboyitfc added 06:58 - Sep 28
yes we should, but we have been listening to players for too long saying that things need to improve on the pitch, so less talking and more action please!

slade1 added 07:16 - Sep 28
I'm hopeful we will win tonight, we should.
But what if we don't?

Dissboyitfc added 07:19 - Sep 28
a lot of upset if we dont thats for sure!

rfretwell added 07:32 - Sep 28
Remember Swindon at PR last season. Bottom but gave us a real fright.

Europablue added 07:37 - Sep 28
I for one am happy that the players are not feeling desperate. If a team accepts that they are in a relegation battle often it becomes and negative spiral and you get relegated. Four points in the last two games is great seven from three would be excellent and would be a really solid base to start from. Obviously, results have just not been acceptable so far, but I don't think the players need that baggage to have them playing in fear and probably aking the same kinds of mistakes they were making to get them in this mess.

BossMan added 09:18 - Sep 28
3 nil would be a par score

Karlosfandangal added 09:34 - Sep 28
I agree with Bossman as I can see a 3-0 tonight.

With Sheff Wed they kept going till the end and could have won it, Town are getting better.

I think a lot of Fans expected us to win every game and walk this league which I never thought we would, however I expected Town to be to be further up the League wit h a few more points on the table. Hopefully team we stop looking at money bags Ipswich.

Surely this can’t be another false dawn like the take over by Mr Evans can it

bluewarrior added 09:50 - Sep 28
With total confidence I predict that the momentum will continue to pick up and the results will follow and we will be promotion contenders come the business end of the season. Talk about tonight being a make or break match is for the birds. Cook was hand picked for his role, I don’t care what anyone says and he isn’t going anywhere. I will say that I do think the club expected to get Richardson as well and not doing so was a disappointment but not a disaster. Quite why some ‘fans’ appear to take a certain amount of satisfaction in taking such a downbeat position is beyond explanation to me but in reality the comments are irrelevant since nobody of any consequence is paying attention. Guys, if I were you, I’d be putting my mental energy to better use because all this negative vibe that ultimately serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever is seriously bad for you.

Edmundo added 10:38 - Sep 28
Well said, Blue Warrior. If you want to panic, go and get some more petrol!

Monkey_Blue added 11:15 - Sep 28
Anything less than a win will be shocking and a defeat? The you know what would be hitting the fan. I think Penny should be aware that if we are bottom 4 just before Xmas Cook will be packing his bags. We’ve after tonight played 11 games and 8 of them at home. We’ve had a pretty easy run of opponents and still looked poor. At some point we’ll be playing the better teams away. We need points now.

ldnj added 11:49 - Sep 28
... but we can't.

ldnj added 11:55 - Sep 28
I hope he's wrong about Morsy kicking the opposition. Please stick to the ball, another sending off won't help !

Mariner1974 added 12:44 - Sep 28
Comes across as a pretty switched on kid. Not scared about spreading his wings to go over to Hamburg and play for St Pauli, and face a challenge. Like the cut of his jib!

Billysherlockblue added 13:12 - Sep 28
This game could be a banana skin but i hope not... we are starting to believe in ourselves more as the games go on but to win games youve got to give it 100 per cent for the 90 plus mins like against Sheffield Wednesday. And we could have won it if harper looked up. So as for tonight lets keep momentum going and the best of luck to the guys... remember 100 per cent wins thru no matter what format we have... super blues forever 💙

OzzyBlue added 14:16 - Sep 28
100% with bluewarrior and Edmundo on this one. Couldn’t have put it better myself.

ButchersBrokenNose added 16:18 - Sep 28
I like Penney. He's played well when I've sen him and he comes across here as an intelligent young man and a focused professional. I'm glad he said what he did here, but he had to really, didn't he?

I hope the players aren't feeling the pressure, because that will affect their performances on the pitch, but the fact is if we aren't in the top half of the table by Christmas the owners will make major changes. Remember, when Gamechanger came in , they said promotion was the goal this season. They won't tolerate anything less than the play-offs. Cook is becoming increasingly adversarial with the press, and that I believe is because he has either been told or he has figured out that he is running out of time. Someone else on here said that he was chosen for this position by the new owners; that's not true. Evans hired him after spending several months looking for a replacement for Lambert. The story was that Evans ran it by Gamechanger as part of the takeover and they approved of the appointment. But that doesn't make Cook their man, and they will be casting a critical eye over his performance right now. His bull in a china shop opening act at the end of last season has only made a rod for his own back.

The fact is every game is a must-win now, and while we should get three points tonight, I wouldn't be surprised if we get stuffed.


barrystedmunds added 16:48 - Sep 28
Recent history tells us that we probably shouldn't be building our expectations up as this match has all the ingredients for another totally demoralising outcome, adding to an already growing list of abject failures in recent times. Yes, Doncaster may be rock bottom but lets not forget we currently occupy one of the other relegation positions. Cook has to start delivering. COYB

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