James previews tonight’s game vs Wolves
Town striker James Vaughan is keen to look up the Sky Bet Championship table ahead of Tuesday night’s game at home to Wolves (7.45pm kick-off).
Vaughan played a talismanic role in Saturday’s 3-1 win at Millwall, leading the line superbly following the dismissal of fellow forward Nahki Wells.
“We obviously didn’t feel it was a sending-off, but when the ref gave it we had to stick together as a group. We all knew that we had to do two jobs, so everyone played as hard as they could. We’ve got good team spirit, so we all rallied together and managed to get the win,” James told htafc.com.
The former Everton striker got the goal his performance deserved late in the game at the Den, converting a penalty.
He explained: “I missed my last penalty and I wasn’t happy with how I took it, so I’ve been practising for a while now. I’ve worked hard on it. I took three in training on the previous day and put them in the same place, so I was quite confident stepping up.
“Nahki and I had agreed that he would take them as he’s been scoring them, but as he wasn’t on the pitch I was back on them. I was delighted to take it and score!”
The 26-year old has played in a protective mask during Town’s last three games due to the facial injury he sustained in the away game at Middlesbrough; something he has quickly grown accustomed to.
“It’s fine now; after a couple of weeks I’m used to it. I’ll have it on for a few more weeks yet, but I’m looking forward to getting it off.
“It’s not been too painful to be fair; in the last week or so it has really settled down. I’m now wearing it just in case I get another bang.
“I took a knock in the first game at Wigan and it gave me more confidence, because it didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would! I’ve just got on with it.”
The fact that Vaughan’s weekend penalty was only his third goal of the season was down to an injury-hit first half of the season, with a calf problem limiting him to only four fleeting appearances before December.
James admitted: “It’s been quite a frustrating year. Over the years, when I’ve been injured, I’ve managed to get back to the level quite quickly whereas this season it’s been a lot harder; it took a lot longer than I would have liked.
“Thankfully I’m starting to feel more like myself over the last couple of weeks. I still feel like I’m some way off, but I’m building week by week and getting back to where I want to be.
“I have to play at 100% to be effective. One of my early youth team coaches told me I should expect to be injured a lot because of the way I play and unfortunately he’s been right. I’m not good enough to back off though; I have to play like that!
“Hopefully now I can stay fit for as long as possible and keep my place in the team. I just want to play as much as I can and help the team out, because if that happens I’m sure the goals will come.”
Now the Birmingham native is looking to make up for lost time, continuing with the game against Kenny Jackett’s Wolves team tonight.
“I’m looking forward to it, because the games are what it’s all about. I train to play games, so I love these three game weeks. If I’m playing, I want to help the team get another three points.
“Confidence is always high with us; we know that we can give anyone a game if we play well. That has shown over the last few weeks, but equally when we haven’t played well we haven’t won.
“As a Club, we know our home form is going to be important over the season and this is another game in which we’re definitely looking to get three points. There’s a job to be done.
“We’re staying positive and looking ahead rather than behind. We have a little gap between us and the bottom three, so now is the time to start looking forward. When you do that, you find yourselves going on a run – if we can do that, who knows where it will take us?”
With Wells suspended, Vaughan could play alongside January recruit Ishmael Miller tonight – a player he knows well. However, he believes that isn’t the only option:
“Like Ishmael said, we’ve played against each other for as long as I can remember and he’s always been a threat.
“He’s a big striker with a big presence, so if I am playing with him I can probably show the other side of my game. Rather than being the target I can run off people, which is actually how I prefer to play. I’ll obviously do whatever the manager needs me to do though.
“Nahki, Ish, Bunny – who can also play up there – and I all bring something different and I honestly think any two could form a partnership. That competition for places will keep us all on our toes.”
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