Fuller lives in hope

RICARDO Fuller is today hoping that his goal at Selhurst Park on Saturday will not be his last for Ipswich Town and that referee Kevin Friend will overturn his decision to send him off after making an obscene gesture to Crystal Palace fans.

By Derek Davis

RICARDO Fuller is today hoping that his goal at Selhurst Park on Saturday will not be his last for Ipswich Town and that referee Kevin Friend will overturn his decision to send him off after making an obscene gesture to Crystal Palace fans.

The referee's assistant was directly in line with Fuller as he flicked a V-sign to Eagles' supporters who were baiting him during the 2-2 draw - and he thought it was aimed at him.

Fuller's loan spell from Southampton is due to run out after Town's home game with Hull City on Saturday but he will miss out if suspended and could return to St Mary's this week.


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The Jamaican pleaded with Friend in the dressing rooms to change his mind and is hopeful he will play for Town again. Fuller said: “I spoke to the referee after the game and explained the gesture was not for the linesman. The referee seems a good man and listened to me, so we will see.

“I'm determined that I will not be suspended and this will not be my last game for Ipswich.”

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It is unlikely that Fuller will succeed in having the red card rescinded and although manager Joe Royle would love to keep him at Portman Road for the remainder of the season, the high cost of his wages may thwart that ambition.

Royle said: “I would love to keep Ricardo but finances will dictate what happens. He is on Premiership wages and I can understand the board's point of view.”

With Town's play-off hopes all but over, it is unlikely the Blues directors will sanction another month's loan for the Saints striker and Town will look to use the young strikers waiting in the wings, plus Sam Parkin once he has returned to full fitness before the end of the season.

Fuller has another year left on his Saints contract but it is possible Royle will try and secure a deal in the summer for the player who has scored twice in three games, but looks set to miss his second game during his loan spell due to suspension.

Fuller, who spent three months and made two starts for Palace after his £1m move from Tivoli Gardens in Jamaica, had scored Town's second equaliser and was tying his boot laces while Palace were waiting to take a free kick when the incident sparked controversy.

He said: “The home fans were giving me stick and the linesman thought I was gesturing to him.

“Palace is an old club for me and I was happy because I had scored and we had a good chance of going on and beating them.

“The fans were giving me the finger and I did it back to them once and the next thing I know the referee was talking to the linesman and I have been shown a red card.

“I'm not stupid. I know only too well that it is a straight red if you gesture to the officials like that and I had no reason to do it to the linesman anyway.”

Fuller showed the bruises he was sporting on his arms and legs and argued that he and fellow striker Alan Lee were not offered any protection by the Leicestershire referee.

He said: “I have bruises everywhere, even up my arm. One of my tendons nearly burst where I was kicked yet none of the Palace defenders were shown a yellow or even hardly any free kicks against them.

“That kick on my tendon could have ended my career yet nothing is given and that is why I'm so frustrated with the referees. Even so I never gestured to the linesman.”

n Former Blues defender Georges Santos could return to Portman Road on Saturday as a Hull City player after being offered the chance to join on loan from current club QPR.

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