Gaardsoe - I want to stay

THOMAS Gaardsoe has pledged his future to Ipswich Town after establishing himself as a top-choice defender, writes Derek Davis.The Dane was a bargain £1.

THOMAS Gaardsoe has pledged his future to Ipswich Town after establishing himself as a top-choice defender, writes Derek Davis.

The Dane was a bargain £1.1m buy from Aab Aalborg in the summer of 2001 but struggled to win a regular place under former manager George Burley. But he now feels very much part of the team and has made it clear he will not welcome approaches from other clubs.

He said: "I have only been here two years, and only one playing regularly, but I'm very happy here. I want to stay here and I have told my agent I don't want to hear of interest from elsewhere.

"Unless there is something on the table that I have to consider I won't be interested and even then I don't want to go. Ipswich gave me a chance to leave Denmark, it is a lovely club, nice people, so I would be extremely sad to leave – hopefully that won't happen."

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The 23-year-old Dane is runner-up to Matt Holland for the supporters' choice of Player Of The Year and he beamed when told the news.

He said: "To be in the top three of players voted for by the fans is something to be proud of. I have played some bad games like everyone does but I have played more good ones than bad and I have also been able to score a few goals.

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"It has been a really difficult and confusing season after relegation, players being sold, the club's financial situation but I have just tried to focus on playing.

"The fans have been magnificent all season for the whole team and I feel they really support me and it is nice when I meet with them around the town and they shake my hand and say a few encouraging words whether we have won or lost.

"It is great support and something I use to build up my confidence."

It is a great way to end the season which started so disappointingly for Gaardsoe when he was dropped to the bench for Town's first pre-season friendly against his home-town club Aab Aalborg.

He said: "I thought I had a good pre-season but it started with a disappointment in our first friendly against my old club when I was on the bench. That was the first game when George would not use me. I was very upset by that, especially as it was my old club.

"Unfortunately for John McGreal he got injured before the first game of the season and I played for half-a-dozen games but as soon as John was fit I was left out again. George was then sacked and since Joe has come in I have played in all bar one of the league games and I have been really pleased about that.

"Joe has had a massive impact on my season, indeed my career. He gave me back by confidence by giving me the chance to play football regularly.

"My first season here was quite tough as I didn't play much and I was bought 'for the future' and George wouldn't use me but Joe has shown faith in me and because of him my game has improved."

Gaardsoe will be the rock in Town's defence against Wimbledon today but knows they can not afford any lapses of concentration.

He said: "Wimbledon have done really well lately and have good strikers, especially Connolly and Shipperley, who have something like 40 goals between them this season, so we will have to look out for them.

"We defended well at Rotherham for 70 minutes but let in silly goals and we will have to defend better today."

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