George's plea: Give me a chance to start

THERE may not be much to play for in terms of league position but George O'Callaghan believes just pulling on the Ipswich shirt should be enough to gee up the Blues players.

By Derek Davis

THERE may not be much to play for in terms of league position but George O'Callaghan believes just pulling on the Ipswich shirt should be enough to gee up the Blues players.

Defeat by struggling Southend dented Town's pride after good wins over QPR and Hull City which means they should be safe enough with nine games left to play.

Ipswich go to play-off hopefuls Preston tonight without the suspended Alan Lee and injured striker Francis Jeffers but O'Callaghan insists the team needs to put on a show for the long-suffering supporters.

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O'Callaghan said: “Playing for Ipswich Town should be motivation enough. At a big club like this you are expected to put on a good performance in every game and there is no excuse when you don't do your job.

“Fans pay good money and travel long distances to watch us and we have to put on a performance for them.

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“It is up to us now to play as well as we can and from now on until the end of the season we need to get on an unbeaten run.

“We let ourselves down on Saturday after two good wins so the best thing for us now is to be positive and go for it. We have nothing to lose.”

The frustrated flair player has not quite got down on his hands and knees begging as yet but he is desperate to play a bigger role in Town's fortunes for the remainder of the season.

The £60,000 signing from Cork City has started just two games since making his protracted move and is hoping he can make his third tonight at Preston.

As a former Irish player of the year and main man for the title-winning Rebels, O'Callaghan is used to being an influential player and is looking to show what he can do for the Ipswich faithful, and his team.

O'Callaghan said: “It is frustrating watching games. I really feel I need a run of games in the team now and I'm confident if I get that then I could score goals from midfield and create them for the team.

“I don't think I can work any harder and I'm the only new signing who is not playing regularly. Hopefully the gaffer will put me in soon although I'm sure when he feels it is right for me to go on he will play me.

“I'm box-to-box and like to land on the ball. It is what Ipswich Town is all about, getting the ball down and passing it.

“Hopefully the fans will get to see more of me and will get to learn what I'm all about before the end of the season.”

O'Callaghan is also backing friend and team-mate Alan Lee to continue playing a big part in the Blues progress, although he didn't have much sympathy for his sending-off on Saturday.

He said: “Alan is a great mate but even I can't defend him on that one. He made me laugh after the game when he said he got pushed when he handled the ball but it looked to me he was standing straight up when he did his Maradona impression.

“Everyone feels a bit under pressure and Alan was a bit too hyped up for the game but he is still a terrific lad and an important player.

“He can score you 20 goals a season in this league and just to have him around is a big boost. He can help the younger lads like Danny and Billy and give them a bit extra.”

O'Callaghan is convinced the Blues will improve as the team matures and puts the latest setback down to inexperience.

He said: “Perhaps three games in a week was a bit much for the young lads and maybe we were not as ready as we should have been.

“It is more mental than physical and after a fantastic result at Hull we may have taken the foot off the pedal against Southend.

“I'm sure that is something the gaffer won't allow to happen again.

“We are not far away from being a really good side and everything is geared for us to give it a big push next season.”

O'Callaghan is most likely to get a start tonight if the Blues revert to a five-man midfield but that won't be decided for sure until Jon Walters' fitness has been assessed.

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