This interview first appeared as the Five Minutes With feature in the Chelsea matchday programme.
It’s been just under a year since Jordon Mutch signed for the Eagles and whilst first-team opportunities haven’t been as regular as he would have wished, he is hoping a new year provides him with a change of fortune.
The midfielder has been used off the bench for the majority of his time in SE25 so far, but with the fixtures piling up in recent weeks plus the potential for a cup run, Mutch is doing everything he can to make sure he’s ready to take his chance when called upon.
“I want to play more, every player does, but we have got a lot of players in that central area and I want to be playing in that number eight or 10 role,” he said. “I’m happy here; I’m sure as the season goes on more opportunities will come but, at the moment the team’s doing well and everyone is doing their bit."
“I’ve been keeping fit and on top of my game as much as I can. I’ve been doing extra work with the fitness coach Scott Guyett as I’ve got to strike that balance of getting my body in shape for playing 90 minutes which you don’t get from matchdays. As the season goes on hopefully I can keep that fitness up and when the opportunity does come to make an impression, I’ll take it.”
The former Birmingham City and Cardiff City man was Alan Pardew’s first permanent signing as Eagles boss last January as he arrived from Queens Park Rangers, but a search for full fitness and a couple of niggly injuries interrupted his start in SE25.
However Mutch feels as though he is very much still in the boss’ plans, adding: “When the manager brought me in I think he wanted competition for places. He made a lot of signings last January and that’s helped us as a team moving forward in the second half of last season.
“I have regular chats with him and even though I haven’t played that much I feel I’ve grown as a player over the last year and have learnt a lot in a general sense of growing up and maturing. I hear what the gaffer says on and off the pitch and it gets me thinking about how I can improve myself, so when I do play I make an impression.”
The FA Cup third round tie at Southampton is one game that the 24-year-old will be hopeful of being handed a chance to do just that, and with the club aiming to surpass their achievements of 1990 once again, he is excited about the emphasis the Eagles are putting on the competition.
He said: “We’ve got the FA Cup to play for and I see every game as a chance to show the manager what I can bring to the team. The FA Cup is the traditional cup, maybe some clubs don’t take it as seriously but for me it’s special and I know the manager will be taking it seriously.
“As a team we want some silverware and I think the FA Cup is a great chance to win something. If we can get past Southampton and get a good couple of draws then who knows.”