Donacien: We're Still Only in November
Saturday, 27th Nov 2021 06:00
Janoi Donacien is refusing to join the doom and gloom merchants who see Town’s season as good as over with the halfway stage of the season still four more games away.
Fans would expect nothing less of a player who has won them over with a series of impressive displays, while also demonstrating his versatility by appearing in both full-back positions as well as in central defence and occasionally as a right wing-back.
Tuesday’s 2-0 midweek home defeat by Rotherham, which took the South Yorkshire club to the League One summit for the first time this season, dropped Town down to 13th place – a classic mid-table position as they sit 13 points adrift from the top two and eight points off both the play-off places and the drop zone.
Clearly, having taken just four points from five games against teams above them in the table, boss Paul Cook must somehow instigate a change of fortune, not just when bottom club Crewe are at Portman Road on Sunday but also into subsequent fixtures as his side plays catch-up in the table.
Asked if the players still retain the belief of at least being involved in the end-of-season play-offs, Donacien responded: “We’re still only in November, aren’t we? There are teams who are flying right now but I always feel there are at least some who will suffer a drop in form and we are capable of putting a good run together, so let’s see where we are then.”
Donacien agreed he and his colleagues could take heart from their displays against Wycombe Wanderers, Oxford United and Sunderland, despite taking just four points from the nine on offer. “Against Sunderland we bossed the game for 85 minutes,” he said, “and it was a tough one to take.
“On Tuesday against Rotherham it felt as if the game didn’t really show how far we have come as a team. I think we just had a bad night. I think we dominated in the previous games but against Rotherham we didn’t show that dominance and didn’t step up to the plate in that game.”
After meeting Crewe the Blues take on Arsenal’s U21s on Wednesday in the Papa John’s Trophy round of 32 and their fourth home game in a row sees them face Barrow for the very first time the following Saturday in the second round of the FA Cup.
On paper, it’s a hat-trick of fixtures Town look capable of winning, which would bring some much-needed momentum to the season. Donacien said: “Every game should be seen as a chance to build momentum and I feel as if everyone wants to play and show what they can do in every single game.”
With his main rival for the right-back berth, Kane Vincent-Young, experiencing a few injury problems this season, it has given Donacien an opportunity to become one of the club’s most popular players and he added: “I’ve been feeling the love from the fans, especially online with people messaging me.
“It’s been good and of course I feel it at the ground as well. People have been welcoming me with smiling faces and there’s a good, positive atmosphere around the place.”
Manager Cook demands a lot from his full-backs – he has consistently spoken about wanting them to be flying forward – and Donacien has bought into getting involved in the final third of the pitch on top of his defensive responsibilities.
“Yes, I feel I have, but I also feel as if I still need to show more,” he said. “I want to show a lot more going forward and attacking but I know I need to also show how good I am at defending as well.
“It’s something that everyone works on in training, no matter where you are, whether you’re a Premier League player or not. It’s all about timing your runs forward, the timing of the attacks and making sure you make the perfect attack.”
Has bedding down in the right-back role, rather than carrying the label of a play-anywhere type of player, benefited him? He added: “It is nice at times but I’ve always genuinely said where I wanted to play and that I will always give it my best shot, no matter where I’m asked to play.”
Boss Cook recently described Donacien as the club’s best one-to-one defender, a tag he clearly appreciated. “It’s always good to hear praise from the gaffer,” he smiled, “but we all need to show more. We need to back up our good performances with goals as well.
“I would like to get among the goals if possible. Closing in at the back stick is something the gaffer wants us to do. If I can get there I will but generally I’m just there to help the team in any way I can, at both ends of the pitch.”
Finally, asked about the pressure to win on Sunday following the 6-0 thumping of then bottom Doncaster Rovers two months ago, he added: “I think the fans are the same for every home game in that they are looking for a win.
“It won’t just be because it’s Crewe. They may be bottom but they are still a good side and they are in this league for a reason.
“I genuinely think the fans just expect us to do our best and want us to get the points. I don’t think the opposition matters and we put pressure on ourselves to get three points as well because we go out aiming to win every game we play, regardless of who our opponents are.”
Photo: Matchday Images
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 285 bloggers
The Swinging Sixty by ElephantintheRoom
Sixty years ago this year Town won the top division, so if you look upon your relationship with Ipswich Town as some sort of marriage this year marks the diamond jubilee of that remarkable achievement.
Five Reasons to Be Optimistic and Five Reasons to Remain Cautious by adamisablue2
Just after Conor Chaplin crashed home his penalty and Town's fourth against Gillingham on Saturday, I turned to my friends in the stand and uttered the [probably] famous last words of “the road to Wembley starts here boys!”
Big Club, Little Club by ElephantintheRoom
When I first started regularly going to Portman Road, Town had recently won the league as ‘upstart country cousins’.
Moans About Loans by ElephantintheRoom
Christmas came early for Town supporters with the surprising appointment of a manager who may actually have a future in the game.
Can Ipswich Town Still Make the Play-Offs? by Mac10
The big question that seems to be on the minds of most Town fans at New Year is if the play-offs, and by extension, promotion, are out of reach for Kieran McKenna’s team.
Ipswich Town Polls
[ Vote here ]