Good time to score
TODAY would be a good time for Kevin Horlock to score his first Ipswich goal.If the left-footed marauding midfielder were to break his duck against Wigan it would be history repeating itself, after he fired in his only West Ham goal against the Latics too.
TODAY would be a good time for Kevin Horlock to score his first Ipswich goal.
If the left-footed marauding midfielder were to break his duck against Wigan it would be history repeating itself, after he fired in his only West Ham goal against the Latics too.
That fourth-minute opener in the Hammers' 4-0 win over Paul Jewell's side came on his birthday in November 2003 and was the last goal he scored.
Horlock said: “It was good to get that goal and it would be lovely to get my first one for Ipswich against Wigan, but it would only mean something if we get a result.
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“I'm sure I will get a goal before the end of the season and hopefully it will be an important one - and there are not many more important games than this one at Wigan.”
Horlock appreciates Town need to turn on the style after some poor performance and results of late, but believes even on the JJB's poor surface they can get their passing game going once more.
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He said: “We have not been at our best but you have to give teams credit. They wanted to beat us when we were top.
“Perhaps going a goal down so early has meant we have got frustrated and gone to the long ball up to Scowie (James Scowcroft) a little too quickly.
“After losing the last two going to Wigan is the ideal game to go and pick yourself up against the team that is top of the table. They are a good footballing side and that will suit us. They are at home and they have to put on a show.
“We need to impose our game on teams and we have the players capable of doing that.”
With three promotions under his belt already, Horlock knows that the season takes many twists and turns, and he is not overly concerned that Town have slipped from the summit after two defeats.
He said: “Ideally we would have liked not to have a blip at all but that would be too much to expect of any team. Hopefully that was ours and we have come through it. We have been the team to be shot at and that has been the case recently.”
The Northern Ireland international relishes the challenge each game throws up and admits nerves can be a good thing. He said: “There is no point in playing if you are not on the edge. That is what drives you on. I like to feel the butterflies, whether you are 32 or a young lad coming through.
“What you mustn't do is let it take over, otherwise you don't concentrate on your game.
“We know it is going to go to the wire so hopefully we can be mentally strong enough and our ability will be enough to get us up.”
Nor is Horlock naïve enough to fall for any wily old managerial tricks about illness or injuries after Wigan made public that six of their players were suffering from a chest infection.
He said: “We don't take any notice of that, we expect they will put out a good side. Whether they have illness or not is irrelevant and we will just get on with what we have to do.”
Horlock has accepted that football is now a squad game and changes are made from time to time, meaning he is left out on occasions.
He said: “I want to play every game but you have to be realistic and know that can't always happen. When I'm in the side I want to be ready to seize whatever chance comes my way.”
And the former Swindon, Manchester City and West Ham midfielder is realistic about supporters' expectations too and has no qualms about the Blues backing.
He said: “We have had games when they have been like an extra man for us but we can't complain about what the crowd are doing because it is us on the pitch that affect the game and we have to take full responsibility for that.”
If the strikers don't do the business at the JJB today then don't be surprised if Horlock doesn't take responsibility himself and find a rare gem of a goal.
Remember Leighton Baines had never scored for Wigan until he hit that wonder goal at Portman Road last December.