Darren finding out the painful way

DARREN Ambrose is finding out the painful way about life in top-flight football.Goals, assists, sublime skills and headline-grabbing man-of-the-match displays have left the tricky midfielder a marked man in Division One.

DARREN Ambrose is finding out the painful way about life in top-flight football.

Goals, assists, sublime skills and headline-grabbing man-of-the-match displays have left the tricky midfielder a marked man in Division One.

The England Under-21 international was left in agony within 10 minutes of the win at Norwich on Sunday when Craig Fleming caught Ambrose with a full-blooded studs-up challenge. Fleming escaped punishment by the referee but natural justice caught up with him in the second half when he limped off with a damaged ligament in a foot and faces a lengthy lay-off.

Not that that has helped Ambrose who faces a fitness test today to see if he can be involved against Wolves at Molineux.


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The 19-year-old exciting talent has no doubt he will once again be in the sights of the Wolves hard men as they try to stem his flowing attacks, just like the meeting two weeks ago and the Grimsby game in between.

He said: "I have been targeted for the last three games. I have been in pain and perhaps I should have gone off earlier but I want to stay and do the best I can.

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"If I had gone off earlier on Sunday it might have been easier for me to recover in time for the Wolves game.

"I'm trying to play through the pain to help the team but sometimes I just have to come off so I hope the fans understand that I'm trying to stay on and do my best."

In a bizarre way it is a compliment that Ambrose attracts such attention from petrified defenders but it is something he could do without and is learning how to deal with.

He said: "Perhaps it is a back-handed compliment but it is really annoying. I'm aware of it now and perhaps I shouldn't be doing the juggling too early but that is part of my game. Maybe I should be a bit more patient before really getting into the game then I won't be singled out.

"I would like to see more protection from referees. Most have been good in looking after the players and hopefully that will be the case against Wolves. Certainly the one on Sunday was not helping and even when I was being sick on the pitch through the pain he was shouting at me to get off and I couldn't move."

Ambrose has not been able to train since the win on Sunday but is hoping to have a run-out at Ipswich's West Midland base this morning.

He said: "It is touch and go. I will have a fitness test and see how it goes."

Ambrose feels he has something to make up after a below-par performance in the 4-2 loss to Wolves at Portman Road.

He said: "It was a disappointing game for us. I was certainly disappointed with the way I played but then I did get a knock in the first 10 minutes – again."

And he is backing 'twin' Darren Bent to add to his tally of 10 goals in nine games.

Ambrose said: "Benty let himself down earlier in the season but now he is flying. He is a natural finisher with pace and you can get him in all the time.

"But, as you have seen with Fabian Wilnis, we have people who can score from all over the pitch. We know that youngsters like Dean Bowditch and Matt Richards are also capable of doing something a little special."

The body may be in the firing line a lot more before the season ends but if Ambrose can carry on providing the assists and banging in the goals it will dull the pain no end.

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