Home   Ipswich   Sport   Article

Subscribe Now

Ipswich Town super-sub Marcus Harness praises character and belief in Kieran McKenna’s squad following Birmingham City comeback

Super sub Marcus Harness lauded the squad’s character and belief as Ipswich Town came from two goals behind to draw 2-2 with Birmingham City at St Andrew’s.

Harness struck twice from the bench in the final 11 minutes to ensure Town continued their unbeaten away start to the season and move within four points of leaders Leicester City in the Sky Bet Championship table.

Kieran McKenna’s substitutions appeared to reinvigorate Town, who had looked second best for much of Saturday’s game before growing in the latter stages.

Marcus Harness now has four Championship goals this season Picture: Ady Kerry
Marcus Harness now has four Championship goals this season Picture: Ady Kerry

And Harness believes the spirit shown in the group is one of the key factors in the excellent start that has featured the Blues coming from two behind on three separate occasions.

“It was a difficult game,” he said.

“Obviously any game in this league isn’t meant to be easy. To manage to bring it back and get a point from it says loads about our character and our quality. It’s a great point, but lots to work on as well.

“I think it says a lot. Even at times when we were struggling, everyone kept their head down, kept running and working hard to make something happen.

“No-one gave in and started pointing fingers, we just got on with it. That’s what we’re all about and that’s why we push the standard we hold for each other.

“It’s not the first time we’ve come back from behind and got a good result, so we’re happy with that.

“It was just to keep the belief, be positive, brave and believe we can get a goal back. And if we did the game will change, which it did.”

Wayne Rooney had lost his first three games as Birmingham manager, and Harness says that meant the Manchester United and England legend’s tactical set up was difficult to predict.

The 27-year-old said: “A lot of the talk in the build-up was on how they’re trying to figure out what they’re doing themselves. We were expecting a few different things and were trying to be ready for a few different options that they could have gone with.

“But we’re ready to play against any type of opponent, it’s just trying to be clean, finding our connections and figure it out quickly. It maybe took us a bit longer than usual but after half-time we came out much better, even before the subs came on we were the more dangerous team.

Marcus Harness in action in the pre-season friendly at Felixstowe & Walton United Picture: Mecha Morton
Marcus Harness in action in the pre-season friendly at Felixstowe & Walton United Picture: Mecha Morton

“As the manager said after the last game, if we’ve got nothing to go away and work on and get better at then we may as well go home. It’s just another thing to make us stronger as a group.”

Ipswich were on the back foot for the first half, and were behind thanks to a goal from Fulham loanee Jay Stansfield.

While he was not on the field at the time, Harness says the intense press was one of the reasons why Town were not clicking in the opening stages of the game.

He said: “They were having a right press off and the crowd was right behind them. It wasn’t easy on a slick pitch, we just didn’t manage to make our connections on the build-up and didn’t manage to give them much of a threat in behind either.

“They were just full on pressing and it made it difficult for us. That hasn’t happened a lot so I’m sure the manager and the group will go away and have a look at what can be worked on and we’ll be better off and stronger for it going forward.”

After an unfortunate Cameron Burgess own-goal had doubled the hosts’ lead, Harness brought Town back in the game by hammering home the rebound after Freddie Ladapo’s close-range effort was parried by John Ruddy.

“Freddie’s chance was the harder one,” Harness said. “I was standing behind him thinking ‘I hope Freddie puts this in’. It just landed right in front of me so it was an easy tap in, one of the best goals you can get.”

On his equaliser, Harness said: “Cam’s done really well to get in at the back post and it’s just landed around me again and I just swung at it, really. Obviously I’m happy to do that but the point is the most important thing.”

Harness is a man inform having now scored three in the last two league matches to take his tally to four for the season, but the former Portsmouth man hopes scoring from the bench does not become a running theme.

“I hope not,” he said. “I’m not just here to make up the numbers. I’m happy to contribute and happy to always do my best and work for the team, but I want to be more than just a super sub.

“I’m happy with how it’s going at the minute and I’ve just got to keep building and keep putting my name forward. That’s all I can do, hopefully the team can keep doing well as well.

“The lads are all doing so well, all I can do is keep doing my best and be ready when I’m called upon.”

Attention now turns to Tuesday night’s televised clash at Rotherham United, where Town will look to extend their seven-point lead over third-placed Leeds United.

“All we can do is concentrate on the next game, as cliché as it is,” Harness said.“That’s how we go about it and that’s what has worked well for us so far. That’s what we’re going to keep doing.”