RYAN Brunt is playing with confidence, and that can only be good for the Pilgrims’ promotion chances.
The 22-year-old netted twice in Argyle’s consummate 3-0 Sky Bet League 2 victory over Mansfield Town at Home Park to keep Derek Adams’ side on the tails of leaders Northampton Town.
It took his total for the season to nine, seven of which have come in his last 11 games. The watershed moment, he thinks, was the first of those strikes, a blistering long-range last-minute equaliser at Dagenham & Redbridge.
“I’ve started a good percentage of the games between Dagenham and now,” said Ryan, who was preferred to Reuben Reid, Jake Jervis and Daniel Nardiello for the central striker role. “The confidence is a massive thing. I’m going out on to the pitch thinking ‘I’m going to score, I’m going to score’ whereas, before, it was ‘I’ve got to get my touch and lay it off’. That’s now secondary. That’s the frame of mind I’m in, I guess.
“Obviously it is about the hold-up play and bringing other people in to play, but it’s the confidence to think ‘I’m going to score; I’m going to head that in’. I think that’s a massive change in me.
“I was not afraid to shoot, but I would always pass [the ball]. I haven’t scored a worldy goal today but if you don’t shoot, you don’t score. That’s something I was a bit unselfish with and that’s changed. I’m shooting from different positions and trying to get shots off, rather than lay people off in the right areas.
“People saw me as a workhorse and getting into defensive roles, shutting defenders down and being a team player, but I am now showing a bit more than that: I can score goals and play up there on my own and do well.”