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'I believe I am good enough to play in the Championship' - Nolan determined to prove himself after injury

PUBLISHED: 17:12 13 December 2018 | UPDATED: 18:01 13 December 2018

Jon Nolan has made 10 league starts for Ipswich Town since joining from League One club Shrewsbury. Photo: Steve Waller

Jon Nolan has made 10 league starts for Ipswich Town since joining from League One club Shrewsbury. Photo: Steve Waller

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Jon Nolan is back in the team under Paul Lambert. STUART WATSON spoke to the midfielder about Paul Hurst's sacking, stepping up to the Championship and the visit of Wigan.

Jon Nolan is replaced by Andre Dozzell against Middlesbrough. Photo: Steve WallerJon Nolan is replaced by Andre Dozzell against Middlesbrough. Photo: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town midfield Jon Nolan is determined to prove he is good enough to play in the Championship.

The 26-year-old joined the Blues in a £2m double deal along with defender Toto Nsiala back in the summer as the duo were reunited with their former Shrewsbury and Grimsby boss Paul Hurst at Portman Road.

Hurst was sacked in October though and a number of his lower league recruits have slipped down the pecking order.

Nolan didn’t make the bench for Lambert’s first four games in charge, but stepped off the bench in the 2-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest and then started last weekend’s 2-0 loss at Stoke.

Prior to joining Ipswich, Jon Nolan spent seven years in the National League and two years in League One. Photo: Steve WallerPrior to joining Ipswich, Jon Nolan spent seven years in the National League and two years in League One. Photo: Steve Waller

MORE: Who might Town turn to in January? – Part two: Strikers to cure Lambert’s lack of goals

“The manager came in, I trained four times and then got a dead leg which kept me out for three weeks,” explained the Liverpudlian. “It was a phantom dead leg. I don’t even know who done it to me. When I went home it just ballooned.

“It killed me because I wanted to impress straight away. All the lads were working on his new ideas and becoming more accustomed to it.

“Lately I’ve been doing well in training though, I played against Stoke, thought I did alright and hopefully I can get more games now.”

Released by Everton as a youngster, Nolan has made 11 Championship starts now having previously spent seven seasons in the National League (with Stockport, Lincoln, Wrexham and Grimsby) and two in League One (with Chesterfield and Shrewsbury).

MORE: Who might Town turn to in January? – Part one: Midfielders with Championship experience

Asked how much more there was to come from him, Nolan replied: “Too much. It’s obviously my own doing as well, but collectively we haven’t been good enough. I wouldn’t say I’ve been good enough for the majority of the season.

“You definitely haven’t seen me anywhere near my best.

Jon Nolan played under Paul Hurst at both Grimsby and Shrewsbury before being reunited with him again at Ipswich. Photo: Steve WallerJon Nolan played under Paul Hurst at both Grimsby and Shrewsbury before being reunited with him again at Ipswich. Photo: Steve Waller

“I don’t think I was expected to come in and rip up trees straight away. It’s a new league, better quality.

MORE: Town committed to signing Donacien for £750k

“I believe I am good enough to play in the Championship though – if I didn’t I’d be finished.

“I played in the Conference for a few years. My first season in League One wasn’t the best, but the next season I got in team of the year. Hopefully I can get a run of games now and still prove myself in this league.”

Toto Nsiala and Jon Nolan joined Ipswich Town in a £2m double deal from Shrewsbury. Picture: ITFCToto Nsiala and Jon Nolan joined Ipswich Town in a £2m double deal from Shrewsbury. Picture: ITFC

Reflecting on Hurst’s sacking, Nolan said: “I was obviously disappointed to see him go because I’ve always had a good relationship with the gaffer. But we obviously weren’t doing well enough and that’s football.

MORE: ‘I’m healing quicker than they thought’ - injured Skuse hopes for early return

“Why didn’t it work out for him here? It’s a tough question, honestly. It’s probably one for Paul Hurst. I don’t think I can really answer that one.

“I sent a text message wishing him all the best. Fingers crossed him and Doigy (Chris Doig) get another job soon because I have no doubt they’ll be a success again.”

On the impact Lambert has had since arriving, Nolan said: “Everything has been spot on. We’re bottom of the league but you’d never think it.

“The training is good. He’s got a clear way he wants to play and all the lads are buying into it.

“We’re watching the analysis of the games and he’s showing us, compared to the opposition, how well we’re doing.

“We’ve just got to put the ball in the back of the net. We’re creating chances. When the games are tight we’re conceding sloppy goals from mistakes. We just need to stay in games for as long as possible and the wins will come.

Jon Nolan started 10 of the opening 12 games of the season for Town. Photo: PagepixJon Nolan started 10 of the opening 12 games of the season for Town. Photo: Pagepix

MORE: ‘January’s just around the corner... we need more goals’ - Sears on striker search

“Putting the ball in the back of the net is the hardest thing but once that clicks there will be no stopping us.”

He continued: “Chambo (captain Luke Chambers) said something the other day. He said ‘if you were eight points off the play-offs at Christmas you’d be thinking you could get in them’. It’s not over. We’ve got loads of games left.

“The gaffer has said he’ll be bringing a few in January to help us out and I think we’ll need that.

Jon Nolan is hoping to keep his place in the Town team after starting last weekend's 2-0 defeat at Stoke. Photo: PagepixJon Nolan is hoping to keep his place in the Town team after starting last weekend's 2-0 defeat at Stoke. Photo: Pagepix

“Starting Saturday, hopefully things turn.”

MORE: Town scouting French leagues ahead of January transfer window

Town host Wigan tomorrow, last season’s League One champions having slipped to 16th after winning just one of their last eight games.

“We’ve got to win every game we go into now,” said Nolan. “Wigan haven’t been doing too well recently, so with the fans behind us as they have been – at Stoke they were singing all game, I’ve never seen anything like it – this has to be viewed as a must win.

Jon Nolan heads a good chance wide of the target during the first half at Hull City. Photo: PagepixJon Nolan heads a good chance wide of the target during the first half at Hull City. Photo: Pagepix

“We’re looking at every game as must-win with the position we’re in. We’ve got to start picking up points.

“Wigan are a good team, I know all about them from last season, but we’ve just got to concentrate on our own game.”

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