Shackell backs Ings to hit peak form
Skipper Jason Shackell feels Danny Ings is returning to the sort of form which saw him acclaimed as the Championship Player of the Year.
Ings hit 26 goals on the way to promotion last season, but saw his introduction to the Premier League curtailed by a hamstring injury.
After a month out, Ings returned to score his first goal of the campaign in the 3-1 home defeat against Everton, and his performances since, at Arsenal and in the 1-0 home win against Hull City, suggest he is acclimatising well to the top level.
To emphasis the point, he netted twice for England Under 21s’ in their 3-1 win at Turf Moor against Portugal last Thursday, and, ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Stoke City, Shackell said: “He’s a fantastic player.
“You saw last season the amount of goals he scored, and he seems to be getting back to where he was at last year.
“He’s working hard, he’s incredibly sharp.”
The former Wolves and Derby man knows from experience how hard Ings can be to handle, as he added: “When he’s on his game, I know from playing against him day in day out in training, he’s a tough guy to mark.
“Hopefully his good form can continue and he can grow and get us a few more goals.
“He’s not far away at all.
“I’m sure the goals are going to come and if he keeps playing like he is and starts scoring, that’s going to give us more positive results.”
Shackell was speaking after that first win of the season against Hull, coming at the 11th attempt in the league.
And the 31-year-old is eager to build on that milestone at the Britannia Stadium tomorrow.
From the outside looking in, it would have seemed that the three points against the Tigers came as a relief, but within the camp, they felt it had been coming: “We like to think we’ve remained as positive as we can.
“Obviously it’s hard when you’re losing games, it affects everybody.
“The confidence might start to go, but everyone has tried to remain positive.
“It’s been a good place to work still.
“We knew we weren’t far off. We had a few poor performances, but on the whole, we’ve been happy with how we’ve played.
“It’s just nice to turn one of those performances into a win.
“If we can put two or three wins together, then it will be a different picture.
“Like I said, we’re positive, we’ll take one game at a time.
“The win came at a good time.
“We can regroup and look forward to the Stoke game.”
Stoke have doubts over centre backs Robert Huth (calf), Mark Wilson (hamstring), and midfielder Glenn Whelan (leg), with Marc Muniesa and Steve Sidwell expected to continue to deputise.