Banter spurs the Blues on

BLUES defender Alex Bruce has revealed how dressing-room banter played a big part in inspiring Ipswich to a superb start to their Championship campaign.

By Derek Davis

BLUES defender Alex Bruce has revealed how dressing-room banter played a big part in inspiring Ipswich to a superb start to their Championship campaign.

Town players perked up Alan Lee by jokingly buying him a crash helmet in reference to his accident earlier in the week with a cyclist.

Bruce had spoken before the game how Francis Jeffers had been trying to wind the Town players up by saying he would set new records if he played against them every week.


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Jeffers barely got a sniff as Bruce snuffed him out of the game, backed by a vociferous Town support that let the striker know how they felt about him turning down the chance to join them, opting instead for Saturday's opponents Sheffield Wednesday.

Bruce did an excellent job in marking Jeffers out of the game but feels the striker will cause other defences more problems when he gets match fit.

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He said: “We had a bit of banter before the game but during the game we were concentrating on our jobs and there was not much talking.

“Franny didn't have much of a pre-season as he was still at Blackburn and didn't play much. It will take time for him to get his sharpness but he will score goals this season because he is a quality player.

“We were disappointed that Franny didn't come but that happens in football. We now have Pablo [Counago] instead and he has done very well.”

Lee scored twice in the 4-1 victory despite being shaken up by Tuesday's accident. Bruce said: “We had a whip-round to buy him a crash helmet and that helped lift his spirits. Alan was a bit down about it but the cyclist is getting better so that helped Alan too.”

The fine start, helped by a first-minute penalty, was exactly what Town were looking for after returning to pre-season in mid-June and Bruce believes other initiatives have helped too, including afternoon training sessions and munching on jellybeans during matches.

He said: “We did come back very early and maybe that has helped us. Our form towards the end of last season was very good.

“The manager is full of bright new ideas and training at 3pm is one of those and I feel it has helped us.”

And he joked: “But of course it is all down to the jellybeans.”

Town go to Plymouth next week after a Carling Cup trip to MK Dons tomorrow, looking to maintain their good start.

Bruce added: “The Championship is all about consistency and if we can achieve that consistency then we will do well.”

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