'An amazing squad' - Chaplin says Blues will sacrifice playing time for success
- Credit: Ross Halls
Ipswich Town star Conor Chaplin believes the new five substitutes rule is great for the Blues - but not so good for the club's arsenal of talented attacking players.
Town showed last weekend how their depth of squad can and will change games this season, with Greg Leigh, Tyreece John-Jules, Kayden Jackson and Sone Aluko all coming on in the second half of the draw with Bolton as the Blues dominated.
And Chaplin, one of those replaced as Kieran McKenna's men went in search of a winner, said that individuals are willing to sacrifice playing time for the greater goal.
"It's good but maybe not so good for forward players," he laughed, when asked about the new rule. "I don’t think we will all be playing 90 minutes every week!
“In terms of the whole squad, everyone realises they will have to make sacrifices for each other.
“We’ve spoken about it in pre-season that there’s one common goal and that’s all that matters. Everyone is on board with that and it’s such a good feeling to have within the squad. I don’t think there’s anything stronger than that.
“I think we have an amazing squad that’s right up at the top of this division, whether it’s the starting line-up or the calibre of player we have to come off the bench.
“We even have players here who can’t get in the squad and would be starting for any other club in the league. It’s very competitive and that’s a good thing.”
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Something else that worked well for Town last weekend was set-pieces. Chaplin's clever drilled corner set up Lee Evans' leveller, and the two also combined from corners in the second half.
It was a major improvement from Town's poor set piece play last season, with Evans revealing after the game that the move which brought the goal had been added into the gameplan on the Thursday before the game.
"We worked on attacking set plays in training and it was definitely very pleasing that it worked out so well on that particular occasion,” Chaplin said.
“There was a big focus in pre-season about improving our record from set pieces, at both ends of the pitch.
“The most pleasing thing for me wasn’t just that we scored a goal from one of our set pieces, it was that we looked dangerous from all our set pieces on the day.
“I really felt we looked a threat from every single one of them, which was a big difference from last year and something we need to make sure we keep doing.”
Chaplin and the Blues go from playing in front of almost 27,000 at Portman Road last weekend to a sell-out of just over 5,100 at Forest Green Rovers this weekend.
But Chaplin said the Blues are expecting a real challenge at the New Lawn, as well as a crackling atmosphere.
He said: “I think it’s going to be a really tough game and in addition to that it could also be a tough atmosphere because this will be their first game at League One level and a massive occasion for them and their fans, which means plenty of excitement and expectation.
“We’ll be favourites because we are one of the teams fancied to win promotion, while they have only just won promotion to this level, but we have been watching a lot of video clips of them and it’s clear they are a good side.
“I watch a lot of football anyway and I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen of them and I know what sort of team they are.
“I also know their assistant head coach, Michael Doyle, really well because he was my captain at both Coventry and Portsmouth.
“I know they play a brilliant brand of football, attacking and expansive, and they have good players as well. I can see it being a tough afternoon."
Chaplin added: "I couldn’t tell you what it’s like there because I’ve never played there. I haven’t even been there before so I’m really excited about playing at a new ground.
“Some of the lads have already played there but it will be a brand new experience for me and a few of the others too. It’s a modern club that has had a lot of success to get to where they are now and they are clearly ambitious.
"If you don’t look forward to these occasions you are in the wrong game. It’s fine getting yourself up for 27,000 at Portman Road but Saturday’s game is every bit as important and this sort of game could be a test for any team.
“If we are going to have any success this season, we must have the right approach going into every game. That’s something we are really homing in on this season and we’re all excited about this one."
Chaplin concluded: "We have a clear identity in terms of how we want to play and I don’t think we will go away from that.
“If that doesn’t work it will be a case of trying harder at it to make sure we improve. When you go to places where it can be tough at times you’ve just got to keep trusting the process in terms of the way that we play.
“We know we will have more than enough quality on the pitch, as well as on the bench, to win the game, so it’s just about implementing that out on the pitch.”