In-form Wallace toasts four-star displays

Ricky Holmes celebrates his goal with Jed Wallace, left, and Johnny Ertl. Burton Albion v Pompey. September 14, 2013. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ricky Holmes celebrates his goal with Jed Wallace, left, and Johnny Ertl. Burton Albion v Pompey. September 14, 2013. Picture: Joe Pepler
Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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THEY are the magnificent four which have announced that Jed Wallace is back to form and revelling in his football again.

The teenager’s cross in the 33rd minute at Burton was met by a Patrick Agyemang header which was initially saved, although Ricky Holmes followed up to net.

That helped put Guy Whittingham’s men on the way to a 2-1 Pirelli Stadium success on Saturday – the first on their travels in the league season.

Wallace has now had a hand in a goal in each of his past four league starts.

The midfielder scored against Morecambe and was also involved in the build-up to Connolly’s goal, while he pulled the ball back for Andy Barcham to net at Mansfield.

At Cheltenham, his clever run down the right resulted in a low cross which Johnny Ertl tapped home.

Then there was, of course, Burton.

Having endured a spluttering start to the season, Wallace feels full of the self-belief and confidence which last season saw him score six times and grab five assists.

And it’s a timely contribution with Connolly straining at the leash to return having now served his three-match suspension.

Wallace said: ‘When I come off and know I have contributed towards a goal I feel a bit happier.

‘When Premier League strikers like Jermain Defoe score a hat-trick and say “it’s good we’ve won, it doesn’t matter who scored it”, he is lying, of course he is. I am an attacking player, so for me I want to score goals and assist goals and help the team win.

‘It does look better when you have contributed towards goals rather than just doing the defensive role I felt I was doing in the first couple of games.

‘I was staying so wide and found myself playing so deep.

‘In the first four games I don’t remember Yassin (Moutaouakil) having to defend a one-on-one because I was so deep.

‘I thought games were passing me by, I felt I was not doing anything and playing a bit safe.

‘So against Morecambe I decided to just go out and express myself – and had about 20 stone of weight lifted off my shoulders when I did. Now I am enjoying the football again.

‘Sometimes you can get too overworked and go home thinking about it all the time.

‘I thought I needed to chill out, there are 15 years ahead of me yet. I am going to have bad times.

‘Last year I got six goals and five assists and I am hoping to get back to that this year. I just want to contribute to goals.’

There is a fascinating selection quandary on the horizon with Connolly now available.

And Wallace is likely to find himself vying with Holmes for a spot against Fleetwood.

He added: ‘Everyone in the changing room was great for me and, you may not expect it, Ricky was as well.

‘When he wasn’t playing – and even when he was playing – he was always putting his arm around me and saying “don’t worry, it will come”.

‘I’ve really appreciated that from him.’