Defender looking to build on first three point haul
Anthony Gerrard believes the squad needs to use Saturday’s win at Millwall as a springboard for greater things – starting at this weekend’s home clash with AFC Bournemouth.
The 27 year-old Liverpudlian is happy with the start the team has made to the season, particularly from a defensive standpoint.
“Getting the first clean sheet so early on in the season is a bonus,” Anthony told htafc.com. “Although we want to keep clean sheets in every game we play, Nottingham Forest and QPR have a lot of firepower and that was a tall order. I still believe we’ve started off in positive form.”
The former Cardiff City man has been deployed in the central role of the defensive three by Mark Robins in a 3-5-2 formation recently, which he is thoroughly enjoying.
He continued: “I’m getting a lot more of the ball, but you also have to cover a lot more of the pitch when the wing-backs push on. We’re fit enough to do that and the players have shown they are more than capable of adapting to the shape.
“The more we pass it, the more we control the game, which lets us control our own destiny. Being in possession reduces the amount of chasing you do off the ball and that improves your concentration.
“We’re trying to build through the phases of the pitch this year. Last year I think we opted for route one a little too much, which wasn’t ideal; I don’t think any footballer likes to play that way. I think we’re doing things the right way this year and more positives are to come.”
From a personal standpoint, Gerrard is delighted to have broken into the team so soon after injury disrupted his pre-season build-up.
“Nobody wants to get injured, but it was even worse for me that it was within the first two days of pre-season. I did a lot of work on the bike and the runner to keep my fitness up, but I still didn’t play any games over pre-season.
“I managed 80 minutes against Bradford and I’ve backed that up with two 90 minute games, so I’m more than pleased with how my fitness is holding up. I’ll keep building on it.”
Now Anthony believes the team have to kick-on and build momentum following Saturday’s win at the Den – starting with the visit of AFC Bournemouth to West Yorkshire on Saturday:
“The QPR result was a positive, although conceding so soon after taking the lead was a kick in the teeth, but I see the Millwall win as a catalyst; we want to build on that result and record more wins.
“Bournemouth play good counter-attacking football, but hopefully we have the players to unlock their defence. We’ve got great fitness and a lot of pace in our side through the likes of Jake Carroll and Adam Hammill, who motor up and down the wings. When you combine that with the graft, guile and clever players we have, it bodes well.”
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