Fabian's Premiership dream

FABIAN Wilnis wants a new one-year deal with Ipswich Town so he can pit his wits against the likes of Arjen Robben and Ruud van Nistelrooy next season, writes Derek Davis.

FABIAN Wilnis wants a new one-year deal with Ipswich Town so he can pit his wits against the likes of Arjen Robben and Ruud van Nistelrooy next season, writes Derek Davis.

The Dutch defender is livid at suggestions that some Blues players don't want to go on to be promoted because they would not be offered new contracts at Portman Road.

Blues boss Joe Royle is in talks with Wilnis' agent about renewing his contract and the Dutchman is hoping to sign a new deal before he goes on his summer holiday in the first week of June, while many others are likely to follow suit.

Shefki Kuqi, Tommy Miller and Jim Magilton are also out of contract next month but all are likely to be offered something, no matter what division Town are in.

Wilnis said: “Every one of us wants to play in the Premiership. As a footballer you always want to play at the highest level possible.

“It is the same for me. I hope to play against people such as Arjen Robben or Damien Duff, it is rubbish to suggest any of the players don't want to be promoted because they won't get contracts.”

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Wilnis played his part in helping Town secure promotion via the play-offs in 2000 when Town beat Bolton 5-3 in the second leg after a 2-2 draw in the tie at the Reebok Stadium. He was also in the side that then beat Barnsley 4-2 in the final, which saw the last domestic trophy won at Wembley and will want to do the same at Cardiff, with the big games returning to London next year.

Wilnis said: “I have never been to the Millennium Stadium so it would be great to go there and win for the fans.

“We did it at Wembley in the last big game there so it would be great to go to Cardiff, enjoy a nice day out and get into the Premiership.

“We didn't quite make going up automatically but overall this season we deserve to go up.”

Wilnis put in a man of the match performance against West Ham on Saturday, stopping dangerman Matthew Etherington in his tracks.

But a first-half tackle jarred a knee and the defender was not able to train yesterday, not that he will miss out on Wednesday.

He said: “It is still sore but there is no way I won't be fit. I have two days to go and that will be enough.”

Wilnis' promise that he would do anything - within the laws of the game - to halt Etherington again in the second leg has been widely reported but the Hammers' winger is not perturbed.

Etherington said: “Wilnis is a good player and I've had a couple of battles with him before.

“I'll look forward to the challenge, because it should be a huge occasion and one that we'll all be really up for.”

n The game is a 30,000 sell out with both clubs now having sold all their allocation. The Ipswich Town phone lines were jammed solid yesterday morning with the centre taking 16,000 calls within the first hour of lines opening.

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