Forster nicks it again

THERE was a Roy of the Rovers-type return for Nicky Forster with his match-winning exploits and the striker revealed it is not the first time he has come back from injury and been the hero.

By Derek Davis

THERE was a Roy of the Rovers-type return for Nicky Forster with his match-winning exploits and the striker revealed it is not the first time he has come back from injury and been the hero.

Forster had missed nine Blues' games since needing a cartilage operation, after playing in the opening three matches of the season.

The striker was expected to have a couple of reserve matches before being thrown into action but came off the bench on Saturday, after just two first-team training sessions, to score the winner in Town's 2-1 win over Crewe.

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Forster's only other home game for Town also saw him score the winner, when he netted the only goal against Cardiff on his Town debut on the opening day of the season.

Forster said: “It was lovely to come on and score the winner after being out so long. It was like making my debut all over again.”

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The 32-year-old told the EADT on Saturday how he felt guilty about missing so many games so quickly after joining Town and was hoping to repay the Blues.

He said: “It has been frustrating, and people don't know too much about me, so I was delighted to get back out there and play.”

Although Forster felt a couple of twinges, the left knee held up well under the pressure and his pace caused Crewe problems and might have had a second goal.

He said: “I felt in the zone and, even though it was my left leg, I hit it instinctively and it felt good to see it go in. I have not been hitting the ball with my left since the operation, so it was nice, and I knew it was going in as soon as I hit it. It was disappointing to see the second one come back but it was an excellent save.”

Ironically, Forster ended up playing alongside Richard Naylor, a converted centre-back going back to where he started, rather than either Sam Parkin, who went off with a back injury, or Dean Bowditch.

He said: “I wasn't expecting it to be Bam Bam but it worked. He holds the ball up well and is good in the air. I always seem to thrive off partners like that, so I found it quite easy.”

Forster's previous heroics, in coming off the bench to score a winner after a lengthy injury, came when he was at Reading and they were playing Wigan in the 2001 Division Two play-off semi-final.

They were trailing 1-0 in the second leg, after a goalless draw in the first game at the JJB Stadium, when Forster went on at the Madejski Stadium to make one goal then score a 90th minute winner.

He now hopes to return to Reading in the blue of Ipswich in less than a fortnight fully fit and buoyant after such a fabulous 30 minutes.

He said: “I now have almost two weeks and two reserve games when I'm sure they will work me hard. I would love to play at Reading but I will try not to get too emotional about it.”

Blues boss Joe Royle said: “It is the stuff dreams are made of. Nicky has won us six points at home now, while the much-maligned Sam Parkin has won us six points away from home.

“The strikers have been doing their jobs and, if we can get them together and give them the service, we know they will do well for us.

“Nicky was never going to do more than 20-odd minutes and he just about lasted. He got the vital goal and showed everyone what we had been missing.

“We have loads of people who like ball to feet but what we really needed was someone to get behind defences. We have not had anyone to stretch sides and Nicky did that. He was breathing through his bum at the end but he has a couple of weeks to get a reserve game in and he will be fitter by the Reading match.”

Although Forster is now back, Royle continues to try and bolster his squad with another experienced striker.

He has brought in Adam Proudlock on trial and has been linked with a number of strikers, with Frenchman Michael Antoine Courier the latest name put forward.

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