Date: 5th December 2023 at 10:24am
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The 3-0 weekend defeat for Millwall to Coventry City was a tough one for fans to take, particularly as it was Joe Edwards’ first home game at The New Den since taking over as gaffer, but at this time of the year the Championship fixture calendar is relentless and it will only get tougher as we progress through December and towards the New Year and the second half of the season. In knowing that though, it means we also know we have a swift opportunity to somewhat offset that defeat as we travel to second placed Ipswich Town on Wednesday evening.

37 year old former Chelsea assistant, Edwards, was far from downbeat at the result, believing the scoreline did not really reflect the game he saw. The Championship relegation odds still don’t look too bad as we have quite a comfortable gap to the bottom three places, but we obviously need more points on the board and with only one win in the last five games, the sooner we can get a string of successive wins, or even a small unbeaten run with the odd three points, the better as it will make us far more comfortable heading into the second half of the year.

Reflecting on the game, Edwards restated that he wanted the squad to continue building from the back, keep the ball on the deck, and ultimately control the game and our opposition through a possession style of play. For Coventry specifically, he felt that we had done that pretty well, but the part of our play that was severely lacking was in the final third, where ultimately it counts if you want to win matches.

“We looked like we were running out of ideas in the final third, which is kind of understandable, for a new coaching team and group of players working together. We lacked that imagination and that quality in the opposition’s half.”

The players will no doubt appreciate his acknowledgement that at this stage it is to be expected as new ideas and plans are taken on given how new he is to the role, in his view, and unfortunately for us, he also knew the story was different for the opposition as they were better drilled and ultimately capitalised on the mistakes we made and the holes we left.

Whilst 3-0 showed how clinical they were, he did not feel that the scoreline reflected the game or our efforts in it.

On loan Hull City midfielder, Ryan Longman, was singing from the same hymn sheet as he looked back on the game and then on to our next fixture, stating that there would be a period of inconsistency as everyone adjusted – he also felt that when the team did click properly under the new gaffer, we would see more results like Edwards’ opening 4-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday.

“We’re going through a transition period and not everything is going to be perfect. We need to regroup, take the positives out the game. Because I think there were moments in the game, especially in the first 15, 20 minutes when we played really well, really good football and you can see the style the gaffer is trying to implement on the team.”

Longman went on to say that despite the disappointment at the result, everyone knew the changes would not click overnight, so they just had to double down and work harder to make it work and ensure results turned in our favour. But he did hope fans could at least see what they were working towards.

With the 23 year old having started the three of the last five matches, he was looking forward to making more of an impression on the side, and he hoped he could make a mark on Wednesday evening, but he had particular praise for Edwards putting faith in him to perform, and he felt in time it would help to bring the best out of him.

“As a player, all you want to do is play. And to get that opportunity to start is a great privilege and it’s obviously nice for the new manager to put his trust in me for the last couple of games.”

It will not be an easy game, but Ipswich are on the back of a defeat themselves so hopefully we can make their race for promotion a little more tricky, and in the process improve our own position so we can begin looking forward again and get back onto what would be more of an upward curve where we can start dreaming about maybe a bit of a Play Off battle.

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