Don't call me Jack - Bam Bam

RICHARD Naylor will be happy going on as either a striker or a defender at Stoke City tonight but doesn't want to be pigeonholed a 'Jack of all trades'.

RICHARD Naylor will be happy going on as either a striker or a defender at Stoke City tonight but doesn't want to be pigeonholed a 'Jack of all trades'.

Naylor started out as a defender when he joined Ipswich but was switched during his teenage days. After coming back from injury last season, Joe Royle stuck him at the back and he has not looked back since, and has even weighed in with six goals so far this season.

But with Georges Santos and John McGreal preferred against Preston, Naylor was on the bench and replaced out-of-sorts Pablo Counago 10 minutes after the break.

With Shekfi Kuqi back from a one-match ban and the rest of the side likely to be unchanged, Naylor may have to settle for a substitutes role tonight, ready to come on – front or back.


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He said: "I'm just a player. It is good to have more strings to your bow but to be honest I would prefer to be a regular centre-half.

"I don't want to be a Jack of all trades but master of none.

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"I have been a regular centre-half all season so I can't complain. The Gaffer changed it Saturday and I don't have a problem with that, I just have to work to get my place back."

It was something of a surprise birthday present for Naylor, who was 27 on Saturday, to go on as a striker.

He said: "With Shefki being suspended there was always a chance that if things were not going well for another striker, then I could be used but I didn't know beforehand.

"It has been a while since I have played up there but it went alright, although it would have been nice if I had put away the chance I had."

His impact was immediate as Naylor made his presence felt and the crowd responded and he almost celebrated with a goal when Darren Bent played a ball in for him and he found space in front of goal.

He said: "Benty whipped a great ball in but I saw it quite late and was almost running past it and tried to slow down but could not get a touch. If I had got anything on it, then it would have probably gone in."

The game is littered withgreat examples of strikers converting to centre-halves, Dion Dublin is a recent example, while Blues boss Joe Royle can vividly remember one of the best ever in the 'Gentle Giant'.

He said: "In a week where we have buried John Charles, who could certainly play as a centre-forward and centre-back, there is nothing wrong with being a dual-purpose player.

"Richard has shown he is a handful up front and is a very capable centre-half. On top of that if you were to crack him open you would see Ipswich Town running through his very core."

Naylor added: "I played against Stoke at Portman Road when we beat them and we know they are a big physical side with three big centre-forwards. We all need to stand up and be counted and we have players in this side who can hold their own.

"We have shown, especially away from home, we have the character and we will need that at Stoke."

Town's style does not lend itself to going away looking to hold on for a draw and Naylor insists the target is six points from their next two away trips.

He said: "We do shoot ourselves in the foot sometimes by the way we play but we are always looking to win the game rather than hold on.

"We will look to get Stoke out of the way first and three points, then we want another three points at Norwich. It doesn't matter who they are, three points are three points, whether it is the Britannia or Carrow Road, we want to win both games."

"Only one defeat away from home in five months is not bad going and if we can maintain that until the end of the season and start winning at home then we will take some stopping."

To the Ipswich faithful Naylor will always be 'Psycho' whether he spearheads the attack or is at the heart of the Town defence.

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