Keeper coach Adam Collin has been one of the stand-out performers since coming into the side the last time the Blues played Crewe at the end of August.
Summoned from the bench, following a nasty injury to Joe Fryer, he has set about making the number one shirt his own with some eye-catching performances and breath-taking saves.
We caught up with him ahead of training on Thursday to talk about his own form, and about what has been an interesting few months in the goalkeeping department.
Speaking first about last weekend’s dramatic victory, he told us: “It was very important for us to win that game. It put us back up in the top half of the table, but mainly it got that thing off our backs where we hadn’t scored at home.
“We did that and we got the victory as well, so that was good for everybody.”
“I don’t think the run was affecting us, but it has been one of those things,” he added. “It’s been more annoying than anything else because we’ve had a good run of games away from home where we’ve picked up a lot of points.
“We all know that if the home form had matched it we’d probably be in the play-off places now, and possibly even in the top three. That’s why it’s been frustrating.”
On the manner of the win over Newport, he told us: “There isn’t really a better way to do it. It was last minute, the place erupted and it’s great for us and the fans, especially with a strike like that.
“I must admit I didn’t celebrate too much at the time because I’m thinking about the fact that they’re about to kick off again and there could be time left. I was obviously pleased that Danny got the goal, but I knew they were still going to come at us.
“I was still frustrated from having conceded their equaliser as well. We’d given a sloppy free kick away and that allowed them to put the ball into the box. The wind was blowing at us and he got a good contact on it, so it’s one of those you don’t know much about.
“It hit my hand when I stuck it out and that’s when you’re looking for a little bit of luck or for a defender to help to bail you out. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and you do start to wonder if it’s a case of here we go again. That’s why it’s good that we came out of the other side of it with three points.”
On his own impressive run of form, which has seen him start the last 14 games, he said: “I’m pleased with how I’m playing but I’m aware that it can easily change quickly being a goalkeeper.
“You just have to make one mistake and you’re the bad guy again. I’m happy with how it’s going and I’m just trying to be as consistent as I can be. I know when I’ve made a mistake, and in the past I’ve probably mulled over it for too long.
“I’m definitely a bit more chilled out these days and I know you have to take the rough with the smooth. I still want to play at 8, 9 or 10 out of 10 every week, if I can, but if I’m not then I won’t beat myself up as much. You look at it, but you have to concentrate on the next game, because that’s what’s important.”
With injuries in key positions meaning that defensive personnel and formations have had to change, he admitted that can bring its own challenges as the team as a whole looks to out a good run of results together.
“It’s been interesting because we’ve had a few injuries in the back line and that obviously means you’re playing with different players and having to get to know how they work with each other,” he commented. “We’ve haven’t really been able to get a consistent back four but there’s a lot of experience in there, and that helps.
“Whoever plays it’s about getting the consistency we all keep talking about. It’s a shame we haven’t got another league game this weekend, to be honest, because I know we’re all thinking about carrying on from that we’ve just done.
“However, Saturday is a good game in its own right and we’re all looking forward to it.”
Having played and beaten Crewe two months ago, we wondered if that would have any bearing on this weekend’s outcome.
“I don’t think it will,” he said. “They seem to be a club who can beat anyone in the league one weekend and then they can suddenly be potential relegation candidates. It’s just how they are year in and year out by the looks of things.
“It’s a cup game and that brings a different sort of atmosphere. Some teams have players who are cup-tied, as we do, so that can have an impact as well. We’ll go there worrying about ourselves and I know we’ll have the game plan ready come Saturday.”
“The FA Cup is a brilliant competition and it needs to be treated with respect,” he continued. “Our aim is to get into the next round but we know it’ll be a tough game. For the team who progresses it can become very exciting.
“I have some great memories of the FA Cup from when I was here last time. We went to Everton in front of a packed house, which was fantastic, and we almost came away with a result as well.
“You just need a couple of good rounds and you’re in with a chance of experiencing days like that with the big boys and the glamour ties. That’s why it’s important to treat this game with full respect, and then it’s straight back to business at Swindon the weekend after.”
With former-Stirling and Arbroath stopper Craig Wight confirmed as the club’s new keeper coach this week, we also wondered how the last few weeks had been without a lead figure in the keeping department.
“I’m a qualified coach so I’ve stepped in and taken a few sessions, and I’ve quite enjoyed that,” he said. “I think if we had two young keepers here it would have been a different situation, but I do coach so I take any sessions when needed.
“We trained with Craig on Monday and he’s very energetic and keen and very passionate about his role. He came over very well and I think he’ll be good to work with in the future. It’s about building relationships now because we have to work together every day.
“He’ll come in with his own ideas and I know Louis [Gray] is behind me and pushing me all the time. That’s what the manager wants, and it all makes for a healthy working environment.”
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