Matt Connolly was one of the scorers in City’s victory at Hillsborough on the eve of the international break. With two weeks of recovery under his belt, he spoke to the press ready and waiting for the final nine games of the season.
“I think the two week break has been of benefit to us," said the defender. "Obviously we had a great result before it so I think it was nice to just recharge and rest mentally more than anything. Now we’re ready to kick on. We’re a hardworking and honest group of lads and, even though we’ve had days off, we’ve all worked hard on the training days. It’s a very big game on Saturday, and Monday as well, so we’re all ready and looking forward to it.
“When I came here at the start of the season I spoke to the manager and he said it was a great group of lads – and when I turned up he was spot on. Everyone helps each other out and there are no egos in the team. I think that spirit to win every game, even when we don’t play well, has been a big help. We know we’ve just got to keep winning games and things will sort themselves out.”
Matt is expecting another tough game against a good Peterborough side, but the squad are more than confident with their form on the road having already earned 10 victories away from home this season.
“We didn’t play well last time we faced them, we all know that," he stated. "But to be fair, Peterborough are one of the better teams that we’ve played this season. They turned up with nothing to lose, they attacked us, kept the ball and I thought they were a very good side. We may have to weather a bit of a storm at the start as they are fighting for their lives, but we’ll go there and look to counter attack and hold a lead.
“Earlier in the season there were away games that we should have won that we threw away and I said at the time that we were really close to getting those wins. I think playing away from home might suit us a bit better as there’s a bit less pressure to go and win. Even when we don’t play well we go there and work hard, keep clean sheets and nick goals.
“Both teams I was promoted with before (QPR and Reading) were very good at that – both seasons were tremendous but we did grind out a lot of results. Any side that keeps a clean sheet in this division deserves it. It’s not luck, we work a lot on our shape during the week and of course you also need to put the ball in the net.”
With just nine Championship matches remaining, Matt is fully aware of the importance of this final stretch of games as the squad aim to achieve their ultimate goal.
“This is it. Nine cup finals remain. But until there’s a C or a P next to our name we’ll keep working hard. I’m not really nervous - I’m more excited, looking forward to all of these tough fixtures in a short space of time. We’re lucky we’ve got a big squad as everybody may need to be used. The fans have been tremendous this year and they’ve been amazing on the road in particular. I think after the last few years they deserve to go up.”