Joel Grant determined to make the most of chance to impress
Playing Queen’s Park Rangers will be both a “dream come true” and a chance for Joel Grant to show his gratitude to Yeovil Town for handing him a chance in the Championship.
The flying winger arrived at Huish Park in the summer and, after biding his time to make Gary Johnson’s first team, he is now keen to repay the faith shown in him.
He went some way to doing that at Ipswich Town on Tuesday night, rifling in a stunning first-half opener in a clash Yeovil eventually lost 2-1.
Despite starting the campaign on the periphery of Johnson’s side, Hammersmith-born Grant said the early stages of his Yeovil career could not have gone any better as he prepares to face a club that featured significantly in his upbringing.
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The Glovers are at home to the Hoops on Saturday, and Grant said: “I just try and repay the faith shown to me by the club and for me every day coming in is an exciting one.
“When you hear the likes of those teams [QPR], it’s a team from near where I’m from and a massive team when I was growing up, so to maybe get the opportunity to play them is almost a dream come true. If we can stay strong and keep believing, then we will shock a few people in this league.
“I wouldn’t say it’s been a frustrating start, although it is frustrating when you’re not playing as a footballer.
“It’s an opportunity that’s been given to me and I’ve been trying to learn and improve since I’ve been here. By watching the games, it’s probably helped me a lot more. I could have gone straight in, not been ready and not got that chance again for a few months.
“I’m delighted with how it’s gone and now that I’m in I want to stay in and I’ll be doing my best to make the manager pick me every week.”
Although undecided whether his Portman Road strike was the best of his career, Grant – who held talks with Ipswich in the summer – said the buzz was a highlight.
“I had a slow start to the game and I could hear the gaffer on the sideline telling me to get on the ball, which is really encouraging because he only seems to have a go at me when I’m not getting on the ball and that’s sometimes a good thing as a player,” said the 26-year-old.
“I was going around the pitch at times thinking: ‘If I can just get on it, maybe I can make something happen’.
“Andy Williams made a great run and gave to me, and my first thought was: ‘Could I face up to goal?’ I managed to do that quite well and then it was about hitting the target.
“I’ve had a few goals where I’ve dribbled past players, but in terms of long-range goals this was probably the best feeling, maybe because it was my first Championship goal.”
Now Grant wants to do more for the Glovers. He added: “With each game I go out there with the intentions of repaying the gaffer [Johnson], the staff and club in general for giving me an opportunity. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, I just want to impress and repay the club.”
Yeovil confirmed on Friday that on-loan Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey has extended his stay for a further month.
Yeovil Town (from): Hennessey, Dunn, Stewart; Ayling, McAllister, Edwards, Fontaine, Seaborne, Tate, Dawson, Upson, Ralls, Jones, Grant, Davis, Hayter, Foley, Ngoo, Williams, Hoskins, Ralph, Omuri-Twumasi.
Unavailable: Webster (suspended), Stech (hand), Madden (knee), Moore (hamstring).