BIG INTERVIEW: Paul Anderson on confidence in the camp, the January transfer window and his own form

Paul Anderson in action at Bournemouth recently

Paul Anderson in action at Bournemouth recently

It’s a fourth versus second Championship clash between Ipswich Town and Middlesbrough at Portman Road tomorrow. STUART spoke to Blues winger Paul Anderson about the importance of festive period, the January transfer window and his own form.

Q: Hi Paul. You’ve been in and out of the side this season, but that’s now four games in a row you’ve started. How do you assess your form?

A: Once your out the side for two or three games come you get a little frustrated. It was tough for me because I was involved in the first few games, bar Fulham, and they were the toughest games we’ve had. Results weren’t quite going our way, even though performances were solid.

It’s disappointing to be left out, but we’ve been doing so well. Anyone who’s been left out has come back in and done unbelievable for the team.

You just have to be patient. If it means you come and off the bench and play a part then I’m happy to be part of the squad. As you say, this is four games I’ve had in a row now. I want to keep my place.

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Q: You always work your socks off, but you said in a recent interview that you’d like to get back to being the more traditional, attack-minded winger you were as a youngster at Liverpool. Is that still the case?

A: The way the gaffer wants his teams to play means I’m narrower. It’s two banks of four in a 4-4-2. Even in a forward three he wants you to track back. That’s my game, I’m very good at that, I know I’m a good defensive winger.

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There are times when I have more time (on the ball) then I realise. It’s still something, coming towards 27, I’m still learning. I want to give more goals and more assists and create more opportunities for the team and myself.

I’m giving everything I’ve got every single game and hopefully that shows and people appreciate that. No matter how well I’m playing I always give 100%.

Q: You scored five goals last season and are yet to get off the mark this campaign. There have been a few assists though and the set-piece deliveries have been good...

A: It’s been a little frustrating, because I want to score goals, but I’m up there with five or six assists, which I’m happy with considering I’ve only started nine games. If I remember rightly, when I did my last interview, I said I’d be happy not to score all season if we went up – so if that happens then happy days!

Q: Every player I speak to says this is the best group of lads, spirit and personality-wise, they have been involved in. Do you agree?

A: Absolutely. The manager has been amazing at getting the group together that we now have. Everyone’s top-drawer, everyone’s confident and positive, no matter who is playing and who’s not.

Obviously there are some more disappointed faces then others, we all want to play, but there’s this real togetherness. There’s not a single player in the squad who is bringing the others down. Everyone’s really positive and glad to be part of the squad.

Q: You can certainly see the spirit in the performances. Be it a loss or a going a goal behind, the heads never seem to drop in this side.

A: The game wasn’t great against Norwich and we gave away a silly goal. The first five games we were letting in sloppy goals. We’ve cut all of those out and gone on a great run. All the lads are working really hard.

If you see the huddle before matches then you can see everyone is up for it. There’s not a single player with negative thoughts going into a game. It’s a great feeling to be involved in a squad with such togetherness and going in the right direction.

Q: Captain Luke Chambers obviously leads those huddles, but there seems to be a lot of leaders and big personalities in this squad.

A: Every team will have some vocal players and some quieter ones. We’ve got a good number of big characters here. Even the quieter ones, and I include myself in that, I’m not really a talker, will speak up when it’s needed.

“If I’ve got to speak up and say something I’ll do it. No-one’s scared to have their say in this team. It is a real good group to be a part of.

Q: With success comes interest in players and the club have already turned down offers for David McGoldrick and Tyrone Mings...

A: Of course. Look, they’ve done unbelievable. Every single season, when someone performs well, then that happens. That was the case with David McGoldrick last year. Tyrone’s done amazing this year and Murph (Daryl Murphy) as well.

They deserve every single bit of credit they get. There’s going to be speculation, but there’s a great togetherness, the owner is behind us and has shown he can afford to turn whatever amount of money down for whoever. He wants us to be successful and I wouldn’t be surprised if maybe there are a couple of additions in January as well – not that I know anything!

I’m sure the owner and the manager will be desperate to keep this squad together and maybe add one or two to strengthen things.

Q: Middlesbrough at home, Brentford away, Charlton at home, then Derby at home. How crucial are the next four league games?

A: Yeah, it’s a tough-looking run, but these games might suit us. Middlesbrough are very similar to ourselves, they’ll probably line up in a very similar formation and play in a very similar way. It will probably be a toss of a coin and whoever blinks first really.

We have full confidence in ourselves. Derby are one of the best teams in the league and we outplayed them by a long way in the second half at their place. We’re not scared of anyone.

We’ve opened up a little bit of a gap to seventh. We can afford to lose the odd game and not have any negativity creep in. We know we can bounce straight back.

Q: How far can this team go?

A: We are aiming for the top two. We probably wouldn’t have said that at the start of the season, but now we’re in this great position.

We could probably lose our next four games and still be in with a good shot at the play-offs. I don’t think the next few games will define where we’re going to end up.

You want to take as many points off the teams around you though, of course. If we win all four we’ll probably be top of the table.

They’re all tough games and if we can pick up a couple of wins, a couple of losses, we’ll probably still be where we are now.

Come the third of May, that’s when league positions matter. If we have to play a few more games in the play-offs then we’ll take that. If we’re higher then there will be a very nice celebration going on.

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