Chaplin: Squad is Very Competitive and That's a Good Thing
Thursday, 4th Aug 2022 18:54
Town not only have one of the strongest squads in League One, they also have players who might not make the matchday 18 but would be guaranteed a game for any of the other 23 clubs in the division.
That’s the view of attacking midfielder Conor Chaplin, now in his second season at Portman Road following his move from Barnsley last summer and having scored 11 goals in 48 appearances in all competitions last term.
Referring to a change in the rules that allows clubs to field five substitutes, from the seven named on the bench, the 25-year-old said: “It’s good but maybe not so good for forward players. I don’t think we will all be playing 90 minutes every week!
“In terms of the whole squad, everyone realises they will have to make sacrifices for each other.
“We’ve spoken about it in pre-season that there’s one common goal and that’s all that matters. Everyone is on board with that and it’s such a good feeling to have within the squad. I don’t think there’s anything stronger than that.
“I think we have an amazing squad that’s right up at the top of this division, whether it’s the starting line-up or the calibre of player we have to come off the bench.
“We even have players here who can’t get in the squad and would be starting for any other club in the league. It’s very competitive and that’s a good thing.”
Saturday’s trip to newly-promoted Forest Green Rovers breaks new ground for Town and a number of the players, Chaplin included. He added: “I think it’s going to be a really tough game and in addition to that it could also be a tough atmosphere because this will be their first game at League One level and a massive occasion for them and their fans, which means plenty of excitement and expectation.
“We’ll be favourites because we are one of the teams fancied to win promotion, while they have only just won promotion to this level, but we have been watching a lot of video clips of them and it’s clear they are a good side.
“I watch a lot of football anyway and I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen of them and I know what sort of team they are.
“I also know their assistant head coach, Michael Doyle, really well because he was my captain at both Coventry and Portsmouth.
“I know they play a brilliant brand of football, attacking and expansive, and they have good players as well. I can see it being a tough afternoon.
“I couldn’t tell you what it’s like there because I’ve never played there. I haven’t even been there before so I’m really excited about playing at a new ground.
“Some of the lads have already played there but it will be a brand new experience for me and a few of the others too. It’s a modern club that has had a lot of success to get to where they are now and they are clearly ambitious.”
A capacity crowd of just over 5,000 will watch the game and Town know what to expect, having played at venues like Accrington and Morecambe in front of small, but nevertheless enthusiastic, crowds.
Chaplin added: “If you don’t look forward to these occasions you are in the wrong game. It’s fine getting yourself up for 27,000 at Portman Road but Saturday’s game is every bit as important and this sort of game could be a test for any team.
“If we are going to have any success this season, we must have the right approach going into every game. That’s something we are really homing in on this season and we’re all excited about this one. We have a clear identity in terms of how we want to play and I don’t think we will go away from that.
“If that doesn’t work it will be a case of trying harder at it to make sure we improve. When you go to places where it can be tough at times you’ve just got to keep trusting the process in terms of the way that we play.
“We know we will have more than enough quality on the pitch, as well as on the bench, to win the game, so it’s just about implementing that out on the pitch.”
Meanwhile, Chaplin joined the chorus of congratulations for the England women’s team after they were crowned European champions at the weekend, defeating Germany 2-1 after extra time at Wembley to claim the title for the very first time.
He said: “It was amazing, absolutely brilliant. On Saturday, once our own game against Bolton was over, I was immediately looking forward to it and genuinely excited about watching it.
“I think everyone was probably a bit worried when Germany equalised but they came back well from that setback and deserved their victory. But it’s not just about them winning it, the big picture is what they have done for the women’s game in general and it’s sensational.
“Here at Ipswich our women’s team had a good run in the cup last season and I know how much they enjoyed being in the spotlight with their game against West Ham going out live. I didn’t just watch the final, I watched quite a lot of the tournament. I saw all England’s games and watched others as well.
“The quality was really good – players with great individual skill – and you could see the quality of the coaches in the way the teams performed.
“Overall, the level of football was very high and the tournament, not just the fact that England won it, was a great advertisement for the women’s game. It’s hot right now and there are bound to be spin-offs and benefits, the main one probably being a huge increase in the number of girls taking up the sport at grass roots level.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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