Diallo battling back

FEARLESS Drissa Diallo is ready to put his body on line for the Ipswich Town cause, writes Derek Davis.The Guinea international has returned after a nightmare season to put in some full-blooded performances for Ipswich Town, including playing a full part in a second successive clean sheet at Rotherham on Saturday.

FEARLESS Drissa Diallo is ready to put his body on line for the Ipswich Town cause, writes Derek Davis.

The Guinea international has returned after a nightmare season to put in some full-blooded performances for Ipswich Town, including playing a full part in a second successive clean sheet at Rotherham on Saturday.

The free signing from Burnley has, in the space of just over a year, had to endure:

n Four months out with knee ligament damage.


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n Missing out again on his return when he suffered a nasty head wound.

n Coming back to get a red card against Norwich City and a one-match ban.

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n Another bloody facial injury heralded his return.

n Being left out of the play-off games.

The 31-year-old has already been in the wars with his robust style, but has shrugged off the cuts and bruises.

He said: "That is the way I am. I like to defend. If we lose the ball I'm going to fight to recover it and I'm not going to change that just because I got a few knocks."

Diallo admitted he was worried about his future after such a disrupted season ended with him out of the squad and he asked for reassurance from manager Joe Royle.

He said: "I was in and out of the team and it was very difficult, so my agent spoke with the manager and asked if I was still in his plans and he reassured us both that I would be. That gave me a big boost and I went away on holiday and had a good break with my wife.

"I have come back stronger physically and mentally and now I want to show my desire to be in the team and do well. The season has started reasonably well for me but there is a lot more to come from me."

Diallo is so happy to be playing that he doesn't mind being moved to right-back.

He said: "I'm really enjoying my football and it is good to be in the team. First and foremost I'm a defender so it doesn't matter to me if I'm a full-back or centre-back. There is a little difference but also many similarities and I can adapt."

But Diallo does have one complaint about playing at right back – he fears he won't improve his goal ratio.

The smiling Frenchman added: "The only thing about being a right back is I have less chances to score. The manager wants me to stay back for corners so I don't have as much opportunity to get a header in. I will never reach my goal target like that."

His first priority remains keeping goals out but he admits it is not just down to the back line. Diallo said: "We have to defend as a team. If everybody lets the opposition play and just says the back four will defend, then we will concede goals.

"But if everyone thinks that when we have lost the ball they are going to defend then that will help. It starts from the strikers and then the midfield and it is something we have worked on and we are getting better at it."

He may not look the biggest but Diallo has shown he is ready to battle for the cause, so he doesn't think it is asking too much for others to do the same.

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