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INTERVIEW: Real competition to get back into the team

20 November 2015

Luke Joyce on his return from suspension

We spoke spoke to midfielder Luke Joyce on Tuesday afternoon about his return from a three-match suspension following his red card against Wycombe in October.

"I've watched the tackle a number of times," he said. "I watched it on the bus on the way home, then again on the highlights, and I still can't get my head round how it's a red card if I'm being honest. I was happy with the tackle because I won the ball.

"I admit I went in aggressively but I think that's part and parcel of the game. I wanted to win the ball more than him and it's just a shame the referee and the powers that be deemed it to be a red card. It's frustrating but it's one of those things.

"Part of my game is tackling and even in the reserve game against Fleetwood I was putting tackles in and trying to win the ball back for the team. It's an instinct. If the ball is there to be won you go in for it and I'm not going to change that." 

Speaking about the frustration of missing out of the last three weekend fixtures, he said: "It's been very frustrating because it's been three consecutive Saturday games. If there's a Tuesday game your suspension can be over in a week or two, but it's been almost a full month without a game for me now. 

"I couldn't have timed it any worse really but the lads have done well. They picked the win up against Yeovil and got a good result at Plymouth. We were disappointed at the weekend but hopefully I can come back in and help the lads.

"I don't think good results help with the feelings of frustration because it's just tough to have to miss out. The lads came back from 2-0 down to win against Yeovil and even though I was in the changing room after the game I didn't really feel part of it because I hadn't played. It's great for the lads when we do well. Hopefully I can get a full week of training this week and see what happens on Saturday. 

"The gaffer has been great. He gave me a little bit of time off which meant I could have a week at home. Lee [Fearn] gave me a training programme to keep my fitness up and I'm just ready to get back at it now."

"I've been back in and training with the lads for the last week or so," he told us. "We had the game at Fleetwood and it was good to get 45 minutes under my belt in that. It's important you don't have too much time off because you can lose a bit of fitness and match sharpness. I think it's done me good to rest my legs and recharge my batteries, but I'd much rather be playing.  

"There is real competition to get into the team and that can only be a good thing for everybody. We've got a couple of players who can play in each position throughout the team. We had a few lads missing at the weekend so hopefully everyone will be back fighting fit and we'll give the manager a few problems." 

On the good start to the season, he commented: "We all hoped to be in this kind of position. We wanted to be in the top half, at least, and we wanted to improve on last season. We're doing that at the moment.

"We seem to get right on the edge of the play-offs without being able to break into them. It's so tight and changing week to week, but we've got three games next week so if we can find a bit of consistency and pick some points up hopefully we can break in there and keep our place. 

"On a personal level, I've obviously been disappointed to miss the last few games but I was enjoying playing week in, week out and keeping my place in the team. Hopefully I can come back and get my place back then try and keep it."

"Portsmouth will be a great game," he agreed. "We're both big clubs for League Two who are expecting to do well. They're up there at the moment, and I've played for Paul Cook and Liam Richardson before so it will be nice to play against them and hopefully get a positive result.

"They'll be a good passing team because their manager likes to get the ball down and play football. He'll be very vocal on the sidelines and he's a good football man who likes his teams to play the game in the right way.

"I think we do have a point to prove after the disappointment of last weekend. We went away from home and lost 2-0, even though we had a good record of scoring in pretty much every game we played in. 

"Saturday is a massive game. It will be a great atmosphere and it gives us the chance to get back on the winning road." 

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