Confident Davis returns

KELVIN Davis returns in goal for Ipswich today sensing a new air of defensive confidence, writes Derek Davis.The Blues keeper ended his run of 46 consecutive games last week when a stomach bug forced him to miss the 2-1 win at Gillingham.

KELVIN Davis returns in goal for Ipswich today sensing a new air of defensive confidence, writes Derek Davis.

The Blues keeper ended his run of 46 consecutive games last week when a stomach bug forced him to miss the 2-1 win at Gillingham.

He gets his place back, although debut-making Lewis Price did very well last week, and Davis is looking to add to his rather meagre clean sheet tally.

He said: "You can feel that air of optimism now where you feel we are going to keep a clean sheet, whereas maybe four weeks ago you didn't.

"This is the prefect time to have that feeling just as we approach the play-offs. We always know we can score goals and it has been the other end that has been disappointing.

"We are in a strong position and every team below us would like to be where we are."

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While Davis is back, one enforced change is likely to be Tommy Miller, who has a tight hamstring and will not be risked if it is felt the injury would be aggravated.

His place will be taken by either Georges Santos, who would sit in front of the back four and add a bit more defensive steel, or Martijn Reuser, whose attacking flair may be more suited to a home game.

Up front Darren Bent is likely to be paired with the pacy Dean Bowditch if Town take the adventurous approach, otherwise Richard Naylor will probably dislodge the disgruntled Shefki Kuqi.

To achieve his aim of a clean sheet, Davis will have to deny former Town favourite David Johnson, but he warns there are other dangers as well.

Davis said: "I have played against David Johnson a few times and he is a lively player. His record speaks for itself, he has a few goals under his belt, including a couple past me.

"He is not the only one to look out for; they have good players, like Andy Reid, who scored a good goal during the week.

"They have a new manager and have pulled themselves round. They will enjoy the pitch, enjoy the surroundings and will be looking to put one over on us."

Davis was sent home ill last week and believes it was a wise decision, which paid off.

He said: "I didn't put myself at risk at Gillingham whereas in the past I may have tried to be over-brave and played.

"In the end I felt I had played my part by not playing because Lewis went in and did well and we won the game."

Davis made his own debut for Luton against Stoke City at the old Victoria Ground 10 years ago and although he didn't see Price's bow he had confidence in his understudy and has high hopes for the young Wales international.

He said: "Lewis held his own and that is the biggest thing you want to do on your debut. He didn't make any mistakes or cost the team any goals and he showed what a capable keeper he is.

"He excelled in every department. He is a tremendous prospect. His biggest strength is his will to work. He is not afraid to do that and he is fully committed to being a good keeper.

"He shows his confidence in the right way on the pitch either with the ball in his hands or at his feet."

Although a large crowd is anticipated, tickets for today's game are still available at selected turnstiles.

n Two EADT readers have each won a pair of ticket to this afternoon's Ipswich Town versus Nottingham Forest match at Portman Road, courtesy of the club's main sponsors Powergen.

Jonjo Stollery of Felixstowe and Nick Strawson of Debenham were picked out as the winners after correctly answering the question in Wednesday's EADT that the City Ground is the name of Forest's home ground.

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