9:00am Wednesday 13th February 2013
By Marc Iles
STEVE de Ridder hopes an influx of fresh faces in the Wanderers dressing room will help finally rid the club of their relegation hangover.
The Belgian winger, on loan from Southampton, made his full debut in the weekend’s 2-1 victory over Burnley alongside fellow new boy Craig Dawson.
That result – the first league win of 2013 – proved a massive shot in the arm for Dougie Freedman’s side, who had been a bit too close for comfort to the bottom three in recent weeks.
Indeed, some Whites fans are now looking up the league table, and potentially reeling in a 10-point gap to Middlesbrough in the final play-off position.
For that to happen, Wanderers will need to start stringing results together. They currently boast the division’s worst away record ahead of their trip to Nottingham Forest this weekend, and have not put together back-to-back victories since last March.
But De Ridder believes his own fresh perspective, along with that of January signings Dawson, Medo and Craig Davies, could shake the squad into gaining some consistency.
“I’m not going to cure it, but I hope I’ll be a part of it,” he said.
“We need everyone now getting confident for the next game.
“You never know, if you get a few wins the table quickly looks very different.
“It is all about confidence because we have got a very good squad with some unbelievable individual skills – it’s just a case of putting that all together now. I hope we can do that in the next few games.
“I think it has already showed. Craig put in a great performance (against Burnley) and there is more to come from Medo as well – he’s an international player and what I have seen from him, he’s a good player.
“Obviously, we need everyone in the squad to help us if we’re going to win a few games.
“Once you get into a flow, you never know where you could end up.”
De Ridder is pleased to see Wanderers get a new goal threat in Craig Davies, who chalked up his first strike against Burnley since arriving from Barnsley last month.
“Craig is an unbelievable threat up front,” he said. “He can hold the ball up and you can play off him because he’s a strong lad. It was good to see David Ngog get a goal as well.
“That will boost their confidence as well and that’s what we need. Everyone needs to be confident.”
De Ridder’s start against Burnley was his first in the league since last March, when he turned out for Southampton in a 2-0 win over Doncaster Rovers.
His substitution at the weekend prompted a negative response from some supporters – but the winger admits he would have struggled to last the 90 minutes.
“I think I did okay but my match fitness needs to grow,” he said. “I do understand why I got subbed because obviously it was my first league game and I need to build it up.
“It was tactical and I think the gaffer wants to bring me on slowly. It has been a year since I started my last league game, so injury-wise, we are just being careful.”
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