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Burns: Everyone's Full of Confidence
Wednesday, 26th Jan 2022 12:00

Double-goalscorer Wes Burns says everyone at Portman Road is full of confidence after a run of four wins in five with the Welshman admitting the players are disappointed that the Blues haven’t won all five matches since new manager Kieran McKenna took charge in the middle of last month.

Burns netted his seventh and eighth goals of the season in the 61st and 86th minutes to see Town to a 2-0 win at AFC Wimbledon last night.

“A good away performance,” the former Fleetwood man said afterwards. “It’s just about us building momentum, ticking off each game as it comes.

“I know I said in a previous interview that it’s all about us trying to catch that sixth spot at the moment and we’re going into every game just wanting to win, wanting to improve on our performances.

“I know at times tonight we probably weren’t at our best and weren’t firing on all cylinders, we were sloppy on the ball at times.

“The boss has said after the game that we’ll come in Thursday now, we’ll analyse the game, see where we can improve, but a sign of a good team is that when you’re not playing at your best you still manage get three points.

“I think we’re starting to show we can win in all types of manner. Accy [the 2-1 home defeat of Accrington Stanley on Saturday] was a different game to tonight.

“Wimbledon like to play a little bit of football, they’re a young team, they run all day, they didn’t stop running until the 95th, 96th minute, whatever the added time was, and they caused us issues.

“Another clean sheet away from home is good for us, it builds our confidence and we’re just looking forward to each game as it comes now.”

Reflecting on the form since McKenna came in on December 16th, four wins and the only blip a 2-0 loss at Bolton, Burns added: “We’re disappointed that we’re not five wins in five really. We’ve talked about the Bolton game.

“But we’re four wins in five, it’s a great bit of momentum, it’s a great little streak that we’re on, we just need to continue that now.”

Last night’s win moved the Blues up to eighth only five points from the play-offs with 18 of their fixtures remaining.

“I think we said before the new boss came in that if you put a win streak together and that gap closes very quickly,” Burns said. “It’s just about catching that sixth spot now.”

He added: “At the start of the season we were a bit ropy, we weren’t really getting the results we thought we could get.

“I think now we’re slowly building that momentum and are going into each game with the confidence that we can pretty much beat every team in this league when we’re on our game. It’s just a really nice place to be at the moment.”

The 27-year-old believes Town could be building their run just at the right time: “I’ve said it to all the lads in the dressing room, there’s the one team that always comes from nowhere.

“It was Blackpool last year, I think they were 16 or 17 unbeaten going into the play-offs, they had all the momentum and they’ve carried into this year as well. There’s always that one team that comes from nowhere - why not us?”

The one-time Bristol City youngster knows manager McKenna, who has already achieved back-to-back league wins twice, something his predecessor Paul Cook managed only once in his nine months in charge, won’t let them get carried away with their current form.

“Definitely not,” he said. “When he came in in one of the first meetings we had, he just said ‘That’s the objective, but it’s one game at a time’. I think he’s concerned about getting this team playing good football, getting good results, winning in all different types of ways.

“He wants to just win every football match, so if we keep doing that, Obviously we’ll get there in the end.”

Reflecting on his own recent form having scored three times in the last two matches, he continued: “It’s just the way we play, the way the boss has asked me to play. I know I’m playing in a wing-back role but JD [Janoi Donacien] is so good defensively one-v-one it allows me to continue to play almost as a right forward.

“I’m up and down all the time getting in the box. The boss wants me in on the back post when we’re switching play out from Kane’s side over to me. I’m almost getting fed goals on a plate really. I’m just happy to be able to put them away.”

Was 10 goals the aim at the start of the campaign? “I did set myself a target at the start of the season, that number is in there somewhere. If I can break that, brilliant.

“It’s the way we’re playing at the moment, we’re playing so expansively. The way the boss wants to play, he wants us to play through the lines, run aggressively forward, constantly threaten in behind, get into the dangerous areas.

“We’ve watched all sorts of videos about how to get in beyond the lines. We’re doing analysis all the time, so we’re trying to create as many dangerous opportunities as possible and I’m just happy to be on the end of most of them at the moment.”

Asked what it’s like when the ball hits the net in front of an away end packed with 1,200 Town fans, he added: “It’s indescribable really, it’s probably one of the best feelings you can get.

“Obviously it’s our job to play football and people ask me all the time ‘What’s it like to score?’ and I give the same answer, ‘It’s just one of the best feelings you can have’.”

Burns has become a fans’ favourite since becoming former boss Cook’s first summer signing from the Cod Army and he says he’s loving his time at Portman Road.

“I’m just really happy to be here, the fans have taken to me superbly, the were singing in full voice tonight, it’s just really nice to be a part of,” he said.

Having assisted several of top scorer Macauley Bonne’s goals, the striker repaid the compliment with a superb cross-field ball for Burns’s second last night.

“It’s nice, to be fair,” Burns laughed. “The way we’re playing at the moment, anyone can get an assist in this team and anyone can score. It’s just so expansive.

“We’ve constantly got runners from midfield, even you saw it, George Edmundson was in the corner doing step-overs for some mad reason!

“We’ve got players running from all areas and everyone’s enjoying themselves, everyone’s thriving, everyone’s full of confidence. Everyone can score, everyone can assist.”

Having been out with an injury for a month prior to making his return to the side during John McGreal’s spell as interim boss, Burns says he’s now fully fit.

“Since I’ve come back from my hamstring injury,” he said. “I know I was thrown in straight away when I came back against Sunderland.

“I’ve played the wing-back role for a few seasons back-to-back, so I suit it down to the ground. I know it like the back of my hand. It really does suit the way I play.

“I think it’s just settling into a rhythm and settling into a consistent playing style which has allowed me to thrive in the way we play and I am almost a full capacity now in terms of fitness.”

Looking ahead to Saturday’s visit to Sheffield Wednesday, one point and one place behind the Blues but with two matches in hand, Burns said: “I think most games for us now are massive games, they’re all cup finals really if we want to continue our ambition to get promoted this year or at least make the play-offs.

“Never say never and I guess Saturday is a six-pointer, we just have to make sure that when we go up there, we play our style, we impose our style on the game and the objective is three points.”

Town will again be playing in front of a big following with 2,500 tickets already sold: “It’s mad, even tonight you see the whole away end is packed out. They’re constantly singing all game.

“The support’s been brilliant this year. I know we had a ropy start and what-not but hats off to them, they’ve backed us all the way.”

Photos: TWTD/PagePix

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Barty added 12:22 - Jan 26
So much positivity at the moment - really great

buzbyblue added 12:26 - Jan 26
Turning out to be the bargain buy of the season

BlueandTruesince82 added 12:27 - Jan 26
Westley Burns, Westley Burns running up the wing!

pennblue added 12:55 - Jan 26
We are getting the rub of the green at the minute, that is helping, but we are also scrapping now. We need to scrap to get out of this league.

LimerickTractorBoy added 13:33 - Jan 26
Just to repeat.... I effin love Wesley Burns

cranky_old_tractor added 13:34 - Jan 26
Fabulous addition to ITFC Mr Burns

bluewarrior added 13:53 - Jan 26
Away support again superb - you can tell that it makes such a difference. More tickets now available for Sheff Wed - hopefully all will be taken up. The manager is getting improvement out of so many players - confidence is king but so is knowing the job that’s required of you and the discipline to play the formation. I think Bakinson is going to be a good addition. He has real presence.

1psw1ch added 14:12 - Jan 26
loveing this player at the moment,,, top top man

ValleyBoyBlue added 14:53 - Jan 26
I may cry. After so many false dawns if we avoid defeat on Saturday, I will allow myself to believe

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 15:06 - Jan 26
It's great! Just don't get over-confident. And yes, the support is fantastic.

Letchworth_Blue added 15:51 - Jan 26
Our best player by miles.....

ArnieM added 16:14 - Jan 26
The team is going to need every ounce of that new found confidence on Saturday I fear.


norfolkbluey added 16:42 - Jan 26
Still 54 points to aim for. With confidence growing and with every game won this could be our season to go up. The squad is beginning to believe in itself again and this has to be down to McK and his approach. Grounded positivity and excellent tactical thinking are a mark of a good manager and it looks to me he has the team fighting for him reading what Wes has said in this interview. COYB, keep playing the way you are and the sky's the limit.

dirtydingusmagee added 17:45 - Jan 26
Wes Burns is like one of our latter day legends ,best player we have .

Saxonblue74 added 18:06 - Jan 26
Best addition that PC made to the squad. Just look at the fixture list for the next few weeks. After SW on Saturday we've got a few basement dwellers ahead......this could be a huge run of points!🤞🤞

KernewekBlue added 19:01 - Jan 26
There's all still to play for and plenty of points on offer for Town to gate-crash the playoffs... or possibly more.

With the team in a good run of form, playing well and the results going our way, it's easy to get carried away with the romance of it all but remember, the law of averages suggests we won't always have it our own way, as the game against Bolton proved.

We're right to be upbeat about our chances and we should praise KMcK and the boys for doing a sterling job on and off the pitch but, we also need to remain aware that if/as/when a game or a result doesn't pan out the way we hope it does and we drop points, that our heads don't drop with them.

Keep the faith, keep supporting the team and give them all the impetus to go out and succeed, not get on their backs and bring down the mood... keep it positive folks and try to find the plus points... even in defeat.

It's important that we play our part in the success of our club going forward.


KiwiBlue2 added 23:11 - Jan 26
Burns is the best signing we have made for years. I think that whatever else we might think about Paul Cook's performance he did assemble a squad containing several gems and we now have Keiran working adroitly to bring out the best in them in addition to improving fitness and tactical adaptability..... coyb

Linkboy13 added 09:57 - Jan 27
Yes a bargain buy from Fleetwood and probably the player who impressed most when playing against us. He's also a player with a great attitude and very easy to manage and always gives one hundred percent without having have to be told. Big question is can he step up to championship level where defender's are much quicker and stronger and technically better.

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