MATT GLENNON believes playing mind games has helped Town win matches.
The Galpharm goalkeeper has revealed how manager Andy Ritchie brought in a sports psychologist after his side suffered a run of seven defeats in 10 matches in September and October.
The results have been dramatic.
Town went into today’s home clash with Leyton Orient aiming to make it a perfect November of five wins from five and put Ritchie in the frame for the League I manager of the month award.
“If some of the lads were a bit sceptical about the psychologist beforehand, I’m sure they won’t be now,” said Glennon, who has kept two clean sheets in his last three outings.
“The improvement isn’t all down to one factor by a long chalk, because the gaffer and his staff have been putting in long hours on the training ground and in scouting opposing sides in order to come up with gameplans which have been successful.
“But confidence and self-belief is a massive thing in any sport, and if a psychologist can give you that extra two or three per cent, it can make a lot of difference.
“I think our self-belief had suffered a little bit during that bad run, but he’s helped restore it by teaching us the art of positive thinking.
“While we know there’s a huge amount of work ahead, we’ve certainly got things back on track, and that win down at Swansea proved a lot to both ourselves and our supporters alike.
“Two months ago, it was a match we might well have lost, but we stuck firm against a good side and came up with a well-deserved 1-0 win.”
Before that Town had enjoyed home league wins over Port Vale (3-1) and Hartlepool (2-0), then a 3-2 FA Cup first-round triumph at Accrington Stanley, which set up a home second-round date with Grimsby a week today.
“I think those two home games came at the right time for us,” added the 28-year-old former St Johnstone. Dunfermline, Carlisle, Hull and Bolton stopper, who made his 68th Town appearance at Swansea eight days ago.
“There was a real will to put things right after a bad 3-0 defeat at Tranmere, and we had a good week on the training ground as well as that psychology session.
“We’d been saying for weeks we needed to make a really good start to a game, and against Port Vale we did, with three goals before we got halfway through the first half.
“They pulled one back, which was disappointing, but we were deserved winners and we carried that new confidence into the Hartlepool match, which we could have won by more.
“Accrington was a different sort of game, because we found ourselves two down and had to roll our sleeves up and battle our way back into it, which we did.
“We proved to ourselves that we can get back into matches, and again, that gave us a lift ahead of Swansea.
“That was a fantastic win, because we had a particular plan and we kept to it. Swansea played some good football, but so did we.”
Most in a 12,184 crowd at the smart Liberty Stadium thought Swansea skipper Garry Monk had salvaged a point for his side with a last-gasp header.
But referee Keith Hill disallowed the goal for a push and Glennon insisted: “Garry was climbing all over and he had blown his whistle before he even made connection for the header.
“It would have been a blow if he’d allowed it, because we deserved the win, having restricted them to sporadic bursts rather than concerted pressure.
“In fact the only real scare we had was when Ronnie Wallwork decided to test me with a weird backpass just after we had scored.
“I had to use the old twinkle toes to reach that one!”
Glennon declined to mention a couple of crucial saves, claiming: “The whole side played their part in the defensive effort, but I think David Mirfin and Nathan Clarke deserve special mention.
“After various injuries and absences, they’ve resumed their partnership in the centre of defence, with Mirf coming back in and playing really well, and they are providing a solid shield for me.
“Frank Sinclair and Joe Skarz are also doing their bit in the full-back slots, and from a goalkeeper’s point of view, it really helps to have a familiar back four in front of you.
“Winning matches is the most important thing, but as a goalkeeper, you obviously want to keep a clean sheet.
“It’s not just for the benefit of my ego.
“Goal difference could be a crucial factor in the final table, and after ours took a bit of a battering (minus seven before today’s game), we want to get it back down.”