‘That’s the next thing to tick off’ – Hurst sets sights on securing first home win
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Next on manager Paul Hurst’s tick list... a home win.
Ipswich Town finally registered their first victory of the season, at the 13th attempt, when edging a five-goal thriller at Swansea City prior to last weekend’s international break.
Now they face five crucial looking fixtures over the coming three weeks – four of those games against teams around them in the lower reaches of the Championship table, starting with tomorrow’s visit of QPR.
The Blues have so far drawn against Blackburn, Aston Villa, Norwich, Brentford and Bolton on Suffolk soil, before losing 2-0 to Middlesbrough last time out at Portman Road.
In actual fact, the last time we saw the traditional post-match fist-pump celebrations from captain Luke Chambers in front of the Sir Bobby Robson Stand was the 1-0 victory against Leeds way back on January 13 due to the fact he was injured for the 1-0 win against Barnsley (Mick McCarthy’s last game in charge) on April 10.
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“That (a home win) is the next thing, in my mind, to tick off,” said Hurst. “We want to give the fans who turn out in their numbers something to cheer about. It’s about putting smiles on peoples’ faces and making it a better weekend for everybody.”
Town head to high-flying Leeds next Wednesday night, then face struggling Millwall (a), Preston (h) and Reading (a).
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“I’m not putting too much pressure on these games – genuinely,” said Hurst, whose side currently sit 23rd with nine points from a possible 36. “They’re important no matter who they are against.
“Absolute worst case scenario you have to stay in touch. Hopefully we come out better than that.
“As going to Swansea shows, it’s not just about beating teams in and around you. But it would be nice because it keeps some sucked in.
“The day we got the victory a lot of the bottom teams won and a few suddenly get dragged back in and are looking over their shoulders.
“It won’t be any more added pressure. My message to the players won’t be about that. We’ve hopefully gained the confidence to go and get some more good results.”
Town’s worst performance of the season came off the back off the first international break – a limp 2-0 loss at Hull City.
“We haven’t trained quite as hard,” revealed Hurst. “That might be in mind that we are a little bit further into the season, but it’s something we certainly looked at.
“Without having a definitive answer as to why it happened before we very much don’t want another performance like that because if we do then it will be extremely difficult to get a positive result.
“I’m fully aware of that and half expected that question. We’ve certainly got to look to do a lot better.
“There’s no absolute answer to it. Maybe the fact we conceded so early in the game from a mistake knocked the confidence of the players and that was the biggest factor, more than anything else, in that game.
“We want to make sure we perform better overall, irrespective of how the game pans out. We’ve got to be better than we were that day.
“The spirit does seem good on the training pitch, but it did before.
“At least now, if a game gets to a certain point, we know how to win. Okay, it’s happened once, but there’s now not that pressure of thinking ‘we haven’t won a game yet’. That’s been and gone now.
“Hopefully that can used to get some more victories.”