‘I believe I am good enough to play in the Championship’ – Nolan determined to prove himself after injury
- Credit: Picture: Steve 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.
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.
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“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.
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“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).
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.
“I don’t think I was expected to come in and rip up trees straight away. It’s a new league, better quality.
“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.”
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.
“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.
“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.
“Starting Saturday, hopefully things turn.”
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.
“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.”