JORDAN RHODES is looking firmly to the future as Town aim to bounce back from their fright night at Carlisle by beating Colchester in this afternoons League I clash at the Galpharm.
Lee Clarks men might have headed back down the M6 on Tuesday licking their wounds after a 4-0 defeat in their Johnstones Paint Trophy Northern final first leg.
But because Bournemouth were held goalless at Rochdale the same evening, they remain in the automatic promotion places and thats where Rhodes and his teammates intend staying.
Towns Brunton Park blip might have left them with a distinctly uphill task when Carlisle come for the second leg on Tuesday, February 8 a week after they visit the Galpharm for a league game.
But its worth remembering Clarks men will tackle Colchester on the back of three successive league wins, over Sheffield Wednesday, Plymouth and Walsall.
Top scorer Rhodes notched his 16th goal of the season to seal last Saturdays 4-2 victory at the Bankss Stadium, where he came off the bench for the ninth time this term.
And while, like any player, he would understandably prefer to start matches, Rhodes who turns 21 a fortnight today, when Town visit Exeter says he understands his managers desire to keep his star striker fresh.
You look back to how David Moyes handled Wayne Rooney when he was first coming through at Everton, said Rhodes, who has made 24 starts and was on target when Town won 3-0 at Colchester back in October.
He often used to bring him off the bench, because he was trying to develop him but protect him at the same time, and however the manager uses me, its all part of my learning curve and development.
Its been emphasised that matches last 90 minutes, and of course a goal scored in the last minute can be just as valuable as one scored in the first.
Substitutes have a big contribution to make, and when the time comes that the manager says youre going on, you have to be ready both mentally and physically.
As a striker, I know theres likely to be at least one chance that comes along, and I have to be ready to put it away.
That means you have to get into the pace of a game from a standing start, and players like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when he was at Manchester United and Tore Andre Flo in his Chelsea days had it down to a tee.
The game might have been going on while they were on the bench, but Im sure they werent relaxing. They were ensuring they were ready to go on when asked.
Boss Clark has also underlined Rhodes desire to develop his game, and the former Ipswich man, who notched 23 goals for Town last season, explained: Im still only 20, Im still very much learning, and Im the type of player and type of person who always wants to pick things up.
Ever since I was a young lad at Ipswich Ive been trying things on the training ground, trying to make myself better and make sure I learn something every day.
When I came here, I knew the manager and the coaching staff would go out of their way to help make me a better player, and that process will always be going on because there are always areas you can improve. Im working on the physical side of things, trying to make myself a bit stronger, and Id like another yard of pace and quicker feet.
Most professional footballers want to improve their weaker foot, and I dont think I score enough goals with my left.
Seeing Anthony Pilkington firing all sorts of shots with his left foot gives me that bit of inspiration to practice more.
While he made 51 starts and just two substitute appearances last season, Rhodes added: At this stage, Im probably ahead of where I thought Id be both in terms of games and goals.
I would have taken my current total at the end of this season, but of course Ill keep going and try to get as many as I can.
My aim is to give 100% and do as well as I possibly can every day, whether its in a match or a training session, and make sure I keep on improving.