Change in position of no real concern to Mpanzu

Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu in action against Plymouth recently
Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu in action against Plymouth recently

Town midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu was more than happy to drop into the holding role during Saturday’s 2-2 home draw against Gillingham.

With Alan McCormack absent after injuring his hamstring in the 1-0 win over Bradford City last Tuesday, Mpanzu got the nod to move to the base of the diamond.

We’re a point better off than we were before the game, so it keeps the unbeaten run going and we’ve got to look forward to next Saturday.

Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu

On his different position in the side, the 24-year-old said: “The switch I think is easy for me.

“I played there the season before, January to the end of the season.

“We feel it went well, the gaffer wanted me to play there, so I played there, it’s no effect on me. I’ve just got to keep disciplined and keep moving on.”

Although Mpanzu had to suppress some of his attacking instincts, he was still able to have a big hand in Town’s opener, bursting forward to win a corner that saw Danny Hylton eventually find the net.

He continued: “I had to stay disciplined, I thought I could drive, I won the corner and we scored from it.

“It was good start from the boys, but you’ve got to be disciplined.”

After lengthy trips to Plymouth and Bradford, Mpanzu felt the journeys did have something to do with the level of his side’s performance.

He said: “The boys, I think felt all right.

“We started well and then maybe got a bit leggy, but there’s no excuses.

“We’re top of the league for a reason, we’ve got to keep going, keep battling and unfortunately we drew the game.

“We’ve got to take the positives out of the game and it’s a point more than we were.

“All the lads are disappointed, we led twice, maybe we could see the game out better, but we’ve got to respect the point.

“We’re a point better off than we were before the game, so it keeps the unbeaten run going and we’ve got to look forward to next Saturday.”

Gillingham’s leveller when it came saw the imposing Tom Eaves out-jump James Justin at the far post to head home an 18th of the season.

Mpanzu said: “When you’re playing the diamond, always say stop the cross, but they put the ball in, pulled down on JJ and headed it in.

“Sometimes you could say we could defend a bit better, but he’s a big target, he’s got a lot of goals for them.

“He’s keeping them afloat and just a good goal for him.”

Town’s longest serving player with 198 appearances now, also thought that the second equaliser from Luke O’Neill’s set-piece, could have been a free kick to Town instead.

He said “The referee’s given it and then he’s whipped it in the top corner.

“You’ve got to say quality to him, he’s put it in the top corner and we’ve got to live with it.”

Mpanzu was part of a midfield that saw Andrew Shinnie impress once more, with a starring display, as he added: “He’s been on job for most of this season and thankfully he’s on my team and not anyone else’s. He’s playing well and hopefully he can continue his form.”