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Woolfenden: It's Now Or Never
Thursday, 20th Jan 2022 06:00

Town defender Luke Woolfenden agrees it’s a case of now or never in terms of mounting the level of challenge necessary to capture a play-off place and keep alive the dream of promotion back to the Championship.

Despite the disappointing 2-0 loss at Bolton last week, as the Blues suffered their first defeat since new boss Kieran McKenna took charge last month, Town remain eight points adrift of sixth-placed Oxford United but insist they can be caught.

Victory on Saturday over an Accrington Stanley side currently one place and point ahead of them in the League One table looks like a must for McKenna’s men as they seek to close the gap between them and the play-off zone over their 20 remaining fixtures.

But Woolfenden knows that to have any chance they must achieve the sort of consistency between now and the end of April that has deserted them so far in the current campaign, the Blues’ best run of league form this season seeing them unbeaten over four games in October last year while Paul Cook was still in charge.

“The inconsistency is something we have been desperate to put right,” said the 23-year-old defender.

“It has happened a few times this season, where we’ve thought ‘Now we’ll kick on’ and it just hasn’t happened like that.

“But we need to keep working on it, although to be fair the Wycombe and Gillingham games were good signs and while the Bolton result wasn’t a good sign I thought there were parts of the performance that would be encouraging for the manager.

“It was probably a game that, if anything, it should have ended nil-nil. I don’t think it was a game that either team really did enough to win and probably neither team really deserved to lose, the way it was going.

“If anything, we probably controlled the game better in the second half, which was what made it frustrating because we conceded two really poor goals.

“We have to go on a serious run now because the games tend to fly by at this stage of the season.

“It’s pretty much Saturday-Tuesday for the rest of the season, so we need to get the results and the consistency we need to go on a run.

“We’ve got eight points to make up to get into the play-offs and the only way we can do it is by putting a run together.

“I haven’t given any thought to next season and what happens if we miss out this time round. Right now I think everyone is fully focused on this season because we all believe we can still do it. It’s been done before and the way our performances have been going I don’t think there’s any reason why we can’t do it now.”

Life under new boss McKenna is going well for academy graduate Woolfenden, who was enlisted at the age of 11 when he was attending East Bergholt High School. He progressed to make his senior debut in August 2017 in a 2-0 win over Luton in the League Cup and in April the following year he made his first Championship appearance in a 4-0 victory at Reading.

He added: “I feel it’s been going really well with the new manager and I really enjoy the way we play. The training sessions are really good, as are the gym sessions, which are well worked, and the strategies towards the game plan as well. It has been really enjoyable.

“I think he believes in everyone and with the way we play out from the back he’s told me that I suit the way he wants us to play.

“I think there are times when it opens up for me to go forward, which is something that when I first came into the team it was probably taken away from me as I went on to make more appearances.

“I had to be more of a defender than concentrating on trying to get forward but hopefully I can now get back to playing how I was when I first got into the team.”

Asked if former manager Cook maybe didn’t fully believe in him, Woolfenden replied: “I don’t think it was that. When results aren’t going well and you’ve spent a lot of money on centre-backs you are going to have to play them at some point. He made that pretty clear to me, to be fair, and I had no problem with it.

“When he took me out of the team he said I was playing well but results weren’t going well and we were conceding a lot of goals, so he had to try something else, which was fair enough.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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Fat_Boy_Tim added 06:05 - Jan 20
Ha! Under Paul Cook he’d have been mysteriously dropped for the next match after an interview like that. Let’s hope KM sees it like us and keeps him in the team, he’s playing well and cutting out the errors right now.

BlueySwede added 07:01 - Jan 20
I´ve been a Woolfie fan since he first broke into the 1st team. He has the foundations to be a top player, just need to be switched on all the time and not be TOO cool in some situations. Thought he was our best player Saturday.

Bazza8564 added 07:29 - Jan 20
now or never is correct, win the next two and that’s a bit of pressure off the wednesday game, win all three and beat gillingham again, who knows

Suffolkboy added 07:45 - Jan 20
Hindsight is wonderful— but it sounds as if P C. was covering for deficiencies ,either by W or his own self doubt !
Whichever ,and it might be neither, LW has the potential to become a really good defender ,and encouragement and a bit of self- belief will do no harm ! Keep focussed and press on lad !

Barty added 08:14 - Jan 20
We will need to average around 2.25 points per game [ for the remaining 20 games ] to get into the play-offs. Currently we are averaging 1.35 points per game. Massive task and still possible but we cant afford many more defeats that's for sure. Still feeling reasonably confident. COYB

ArnieM added 08:17 - Jan 20
It’s all about real desire to go and beat what’s in front of you instead of taking the easier option of passing it sideways or backwards . ATTACK the opposition and FORCE THEM back , not back off yourselves . Have belief , and go out to win like your lives friend on it. It’s mental approach problem , not quality or ability !!

Letchworth_Blue added 08:19 - Jan 20
Bit early to be drinking isn't it Wolfy?

dirtydingusmagee added 08:47 - Jan 20
im sorry , i just cant believe we will do near enough to make playoffs, and we are going to have to hope others in top six have a bad run too, its just a bridge too far imo, But i certainly will be expecting it to be a better season 2022/3 .

carlgibbs13 added 09:03 - Jan 20
Unfortunately, I cant see it happening this season. Too little too late.
Lets give KMc next season to get a full transfer window, build and work with his own team, and have a proper push for promotion, not just the play offs!!!

Mac2812 added 09:06 - Jan 20
We hear this every January. We're all bored of it now

runningout added 09:11 - Jan 20
every game is a “must win” Doesn’t matter who you are or where you are in any league. Shouldn’t ease off whilly Blooming whilly! Nuff said

DifferentGravy added 09:11 - Jan 20
Problem is.....we deservedly beat Wycombe (top - home and away) and comprehensively dispatch Gills. But then we play against a Bolton team languishing beneath us....struggling for a win....and we get beat! Was so disappointed, felt like the end of our chance this season.

Something is missing. We just dont seem to have that desire and strength needed.

Bluearmy_81 added 09:17 - Jan 20
Next season Derby will more than likely fill one of the top 2 spots so we better make sure we fill the other. As we know the playoffs are a lottery and we MUST go up next season

Kirbmeister added 09:30 - Jan 20
Forget it, we’re not getting promoted this season. No where near good enough.

chepstowblue added 09:33 - Jan 20
When he first came in I thought him a great prospect. Blackpool away just before the pandemic put paid to that, and until recently I'd have offloaded him to Colchester also. It's no surprise that he's been left out as he was truly shocking,so docile and switched off. I hope he's gone full circle. Was one of our better performers at Bolton, though I still don't trust him !

JewellintheTown added 09:55 - Jan 20
At the moment, we still seem to be surprised if we win, and that mentality and confidence
needs to change to winning being the norm. Seems a lot of talk by players about that being the case but I'm not convinced all the players actually feel that way off camera. They've bought into the dream but some forget they are the ones making it happen and not just talking about it.

runningout added 10:39 - Jan 20
Soon as you start over praising players or team, there’s a boo boo to follow

TimmyH added 11:16 - Jan 20
We say the same thing each not make the play-offs at this level for 3 years running would be appalling!

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 14:59 - Jan 20
"It's now or never." You're right there, Woolfy!

shakytown added 18:56 - Jan 20
Unfortunately you and several other players are just not good enough for this league based on current performances. Unless we get some real quality in we are not going to be anything other than a mid table average side.

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