Bartosz Bialkowski pays tribute to his ‘hero’ father and has no gripes about losing his place in the Ipswich Town team

Bartosz Bialkowski

Bartosz Bialkowski - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town keeper Bartosz Bialkowski has no gripes over the way he lost his place in the team.

The Polish custodian started the season as No.1, but then missed a couple of matches on bereavement leave after his father – the man he calls ‘his hero’ – sadly died following a lengthy illness.

Dean Gerken impressed in Bialkowski’s absence and has kept his place ever since, producing a string of man-of-the-match displays in recent weeks.

Bialkowski, who has handled the situation with good grace and decorum, is now set to get his chance again as Blues boss Mick McCarthy prepares to make his traditional wholesale changes for knockout football, Town hosting League Two side Portsmouth in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.

“The team hasn’t been announced yet but the fact I’m here speaking to you (the media) means I guess I’m playing!” said the 28-year-old. “It’s been a difficult time for me, a frustrating time, but I’m just happy to be playing again. I’m really looking forward to Saturday.”

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He continued: “Obviously I lost my dad and was in Poland for a couple of weeks. Deano came into the team and he has been in absolutely fantastic form.

“It was exactly the same, well, not exactly the same, but it was a similar situation last season when Dean got injured (he was knocked out in a game at Middlesbrough).

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“He was out for just a few games, I played well and kept my place and now he’s playing well and has kept his place. That’s just the way it is. It’s the manager’s decision and he has been up front and honest with me about it, which is all you can ask for.

“At the time I was obviously not happy, but there is nothing you can do. I’ve just kept training hard and kept supporting Dean because we are really good mates.

“Last season I was playing and he was there for me and supporting me. Now I have to do exactly the same because I truly like Deano. He’s a really good guy.

“Fair play to him, he has been absolutely amazing so far this season. That makes it even harder for me, but I have accepted that. I’ve just got to be ready to take my chance.”

On his father, Bialkowski said: “He’s been a massive part of my football career. Losing him was really tough. Dad was my hero and I know that playing well gave him joy. I’m still very emotional about it.”


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