Joe McDonnell said he is always ready to take his opportunity after stepping in at short notice to produce an assured display in the draw at Milton Keynes.
The 23-year-old, who had not played a first-team league game since the end of last season, received the call-up that he would be playing just before the warm-up with regular number one George Long struck down by illness.
“When the opportunity comes, I’m always ready,” Joe told our iFollow channel. “After today, it has proved to myself that I can put in a performance like that to help the team out. About 10 minutes before the warm-up, ‘Longy’ said ‘I can’t do it’, so that was when I knew I would be going out for the game. You always have to be ready, we get that drummed into us by Bayzo. We have a tight-knit group; every day me, ‘Longy’, and Nik (Tzanev) work hard. ‘Longy’ has messaged the group to say well done. We’ve kept a clean sheet and got a point, but we could have nicked it at the end. Now, we have to keep pushing on and trying to climb up the table. We have to keep bringing in points together, keep doing it steadily, and do it our way.”
Following a good start to 2018 with four points out of a possible six, Joe believes the team ethic within the group will be an asset for the final 20 games of the League One season.
“The team works hard from front to back,” added Joe. “From Lyle and Cody up top to the back four or three, it shows that we are always going to work hard as a unit. With the game last week (against Spurs), it did not take the shine off today, but we’ve had big games to prepare for. This one came along and it was almost like we only had a week to think about it, rather than two. I think we’ve coped with the games well.”
The full interview with Joe, plus Neal Ardley’s post-match thoughts, are on iFollow. Extended highlights of the game will feature from 12 noon today.