‘Individuals have got to do better’ – Chris Hutchings
Cut out the individual mistakes and the Blues will rise up out of their slump.
That is the message today for Town’s under-performing stars who have fallen 10 league places in five weeks during a barren four-match winless run.
Now Paul Jewell’s number two Chris Hutchings has given an insight into the work on the training ground aimed at improving Town’s defensive problems.
Hutchings said: “We all know it is a team games but individual mistakes have cost us in recent weeks. It is something we are trying to eradicate while at the other end, still being clinical.
“Individuals have got to do better as well, whether it be the keeper, the back four, the designated markers from set pieces.”
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The three goals conceded against Forest, which saw the Blues lose the lead and then the match in the final seven minutes, means they have the equal worst defensive record in the whole Championship.
Only bottom-of-the table Doncaster Rovers – who themselves plundered three past David Stockdale earlier this month – have not conceded less.
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At the City Ground, David Stockdale rightly took responsibility for Robbie Findley’s equaliser, but the two late goals conceded owed much to the fact that crosses were not dealt with – either out wide or in the area.
Hutchings said: “If balls come into the box, we expect our defenders to deal with it – that’s what they are paid to do.
“We expect our keeper to come from crosses – that is what he is paid to do.
“We need to make sure we get better blocks before the ball comes into the box. It is as simple as that. There are a lot of combinations. We will keep working on it and working on it.”
Hutchings believes Town need to start playing the percentages rather than hoping things will happen, adding: “Even if you are 10 yards off somebody, why not jump? Make a jump and you might get a deflection that stops it going into the box – as that is where most goals are scored from.
“If we can do that, even stopping one in ten, it might stop a goal. Percentage-wise, that is what we have to work on.”
But the Blues assistant manager did have some words of encouragement for the two men at the heart of the defence – Danny Collins and Ivar Ingimarsson – after the pair showed signs of forging a decent understanding before the late horror show at the City Ground.
Hutchings insisted: “Ivar was looking back to his best after missing so much football. It takes games to get that match sharpness and understanding. On Saturday I thought those two played well as a partnership. Apart from Danny’s goals, I thought he got some really important blocks in and Ivar was very accomplished in his performance.”