Ahead of Saturday’s fixture with Lincoln City, we spoke to Joe Jacobson about the start of the season, the wealth of set-piece talent in the squad and attempting to better his scoring record against the visiting Imps side.
“We’ve got some points on the board and it’s always good to get your first win, which we did in the first game of the season. We want to be successful this season and the start is important, for example, like the season before when we did get promoted, we had a great start and went unbeaten for a long time - a good start is really highly thought of when we’re looking ahead for the season. We’ve had a great start and we need to use that and find things to improve on.”
Reflecting on Tuesday night’s game at Wigan, JJ was clear that the Chairboys could do better, but he was impressed by the resolve of the team and the last minute winner.
“I don’t think we played as well as we could - actually not just this season, but last season as well - there’s that cliche that it's good to even get a point when you’re not playing well, but it’s true. We didn’t panic and I think that was one of the positive things we looked at. Maybe over the years, we’d have gone a goal down and probably gone a bit gung-ho to try and win it, and maybe conceded a goal on the counter, but I thought we stayed solid, we waited and created opportunities. We weren’t just lobbing the ball into the box, we were getting the ball out wide and getting good crosses in. It was nice to finally get the equaliser - it’s always nice to score late on. Afterwards in the changing room, it almost felt like a win - it was a nice way to finish the game.”
The Wigan game was also a great example of the pool of talent in terms of set piece deliveries, with youngsters Olly Pendlebury and Sullay Kaikai both stepping up on Tuesday night. Has JJ been giving them tips?
“I spent hours with him this week! No, look, Sullay’s got a really good delivery on him and it’s nice to have someone in the squad who can bring that into the game. We’ve got Josh as well who likes to get on free kicks and set pieces, so it’s just a case of horses for courses, really - for different games the manager will want inswingers and outswingers depending on how the opposition set up. Thankfully, that allows me to go a little bit further forward on the edge of the box or sometimes even in the box.
“Sullay provided a great corner and we nearly scored with the one before as well - Tools got on the end of it and it was a great finish. You can see in the video that I ran straight to Sullay, because I know that people head straight to the goalscorer but sometimes it's nice when people run to the person who set the goal up with a great ball.”
Lincoln City at home was a special day for JJ as he scored a hatrick of set-pieces in 2019. He’s hoping that this fixture will be one to remember too.
“Well, three last time… I’ve got to try and get better! I’ll have to try and get four this time! Last time was special, not just for me, but for the club - there was a bit of occasion around the game because I think we went top of the league that day which was awesome. We played really well that day. The gaffer set us up in a different, specific way which worked well. The goals helped me with my performance that day, but like anyone says, as long as we get the win and we keep that momentum going, that’s the important thing. Regardless of who gets the goals, as long as we get the win, we’ll be happy.”
Chairboys fans have been supporting the boys every step of the way since their return, seeing Gareth Ainsworth’s side remain unbeaten and JJ highlighted how much that support meant.
“The fans are incredible. At the Accy game, coming out gave us goosebumps - walking out again and seeing all those fans. The Leicester game in pre-season was the same - having the atmosphere with the fans was incredible and then we went to Cheltenham, and the fans behind the goal almost made it feel like a home game. Then you’ve got the fans away at Wigan in midweek who travelled all that way up on a horrible evening. It’s incredible to go to them after the game, and we spent a while thanking them and clapping them off, because they play a huge part in our success. We’re looking for another great atmosphere and that starts with us putting on a great performance. Hopefully we can all have a good day on the weekend!”