Burns: No One's a Certain Starter, Except Maybe Macauley
Friday, 8th Oct 2021 06:00
His appearance record this season may suggest new signing Wes Burns is a certain starter for Town but the player admits he cannot afford to see it that way.
Burns, 26, arrived from Fleetwood in the summer as the first of manager Paul Cook’s 19 new recruits and has started in eight of the Blues’ 10 league fixtures, only missing the defeats at Burton and Cheltenham through injury.
The Welshman admitted: “I would never consider myself as a certain starter. We picked up some better results but then lost at Accrington so we’re not yet operating at 100 per cent so until we start winning on a regular basis I don’t think anyone – okay, maybe Macauley [Bonne] because he has scored so many goals – can say they should definitely be starting.”
Burns has impressed in his role on the right and is likely to one of the first names on the team sheet for Saturday’s visit of a Shrewsbury Town side sitting second bottom of League One having taken just one point from a possible 15 on the road in the current campaign.
Town, who are only two points better off than the Shrews and sit four places higher in the table, will be looking to put last week’s bitterly disappointing 2-1 defeat at Accrington Stanley behind them.
Cook and his players headed north last week looking to build on a three-game unbeaten league run that had seen them bank seven points but even on the back of a 6-0 thrashing of rock-bottom Doncaster, and despite taking the lead at the Wham Stadium, they succumbed to a 2-1 loss.
Burns added: “Obviously, it wasn’t the result we wanted on the back of our three previous results. We started our run at Lincoln then the draw with Sheffield Wednesday and the win over Doncaster, so we were going into the Accrington game full of confidence.
“We had started to take small steps in terms of improving our league position, building momentum and going in the right direction. But pretty much echoing what the gaffer said afterwards, we never really got a foothold in the game so it was quite disappointing to be honest.”
Some reports suggested Town had been bullied into defeat in Lancashire and had appeared a soft touch, but was that an accurate assessment? Burns said: “We touched on that after earlier performances, before Accrington. Maybe we are lacking a bit of fight, the physicality really, but it’s something we have addressed and we will be putting right.
“We had a debriefing on Monday, staff included, and dissected the game in terms of what we did wrong and what we could have done better.
“But we had a game at Gillingham in the [Papa John’s] Trophy on Tuesday so we didn’t have too long to sulk because we had to make sure everyone was ready for that. The lads did well and got a great result there, which was brilliant.
“That result proved we have strength in depth and competition for places, which is another reason why every player has to focus fully on every game they play.
“Joe Pigott and Conor Chaplin got the goals so that puts a little bit of pressure on the front players, including me.
“Macauley has had an unbelievable start to the season so the likes of Joe has to score when he gets his chance if he’s going to put pressure on him for a place in the team, which is exactly what he did the other night.
“Players are looking over their shoulder and that’s good for the team because you need competition for places within the squad if you are going to be successful.”
Apart from scoring once himself this season, the understanding between him and eight-goal leading marksman Bonne has been one of the main plus factors for Town.
Burns revealed: “We talk about it quite often really. I’ve told him that if I get beyond the left-back he shouldn’t come too close to me because I’m going to try to whip the ball as hard as I can towards the back stick.
“I think he’s learned to literally lurk around that area so he can get a nice tap-in from two yards!
“That’s the kind of relationship you need to build with teammates and it’s not just me and Macauley. Sam [Morsy] has come into the side and he needs to build relationships with Lee [Evans] and the other players around him.
“Janoi [Donacien] has come in at right-back and we played a lot of games together at Fleetwood last season, so that relationship was already there.
“Cameron [Burgess] and The Fridge [George Edmundson] are still building their partnership after just a few games together. The relationships between players all over the pitch are so important.”
Asked how Edmundson had earned his nickname, Burns added: “I don’t think he minds being called that. He’s just so wide that it’s a very fitting nickname. I don’t know if someone here gave him it, I think he brought it with him from Rangers.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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