Home is where Fab's heart is

FABIAN Wilnis doesn't mind Arsenal or Manchester in today's FA Cup fourth round draw – just as long as it is at home.The Dutchman, who captained Ipswich Town in their 3-0 win over Derby, believes the victory will relieve the pressure on them at Portman Road.

FABIAN Wilnis doesn't mind Arsenal or Manchester in today's FA Cup fourth round draw – just as long as it is at home, writes Derek Davis.

The Dutchman, who captained Ipswich Town in their 3-0 win over Derby, believes the victory will relieve the pressure on them at Portman Road. Wilnis confessed the team was extremely edgy to begin with after successive home defeats by Norwich City and Crystal Palace.

He said: "We have been better away from home recently but hopefully now that we have won by three goals and kept a clean sheet we will be more relaxed at home. The crowd got behind us in the second half and it was more like the old Ipswich Town out there. We were well aware that we needed to put in a good performance for our fans and everyone was trying so hard to do that but we were very nervy to begin with.

"We know we need to start games better and be better at home. Although against Norwich we did actually play quite well, because we lost to our bitter rivals, people don't remember that they only had two chances and scored from both while we played well. Against Palace we were poor, especially as we had been in the lead but now we have broken that run hopefully we will be a lot better at home. So I don't mind if we draw Manchester United or Arsenal in the Cup, as long as we are at home."


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Although Wilnis has worn the captain's armband before when Jim Magilton has gone off, this was the first time he had the honour from the start. He said: "It was incredible, a very proud moment. The manager pulled me to one side when we got to the ground to ask if I would be all right doing it and I didn't hesitate. It was a fantastic feeling, a great honour and I loved every minute of it. It was so different from just wearing the band during the game, the whole build-up, going into the referee's room, the toss-up, handshakes before the game, everything. I loved it."

Wilnis last night apologised for an awful breach of protocol when he failed to hand Magilton the armband when the club skipper replaced Chris Bart-Williams just after half time.

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Wilnis said: "I just didn't think about it until Jim mentioned it afterwards. I was so proud of wearing it someone would have had to chop my arm off first. But really I should have handed it to him straight away and I have assured Jim I will do so next time and he has said he will let me off... this time.

"In fairness Jim is a great skipper and a terrific bloke.

"He showed what he means to us when he and Shefki came on – it changed the game."

Wilnis never let the responsibility of the captaincy affect his game and was part of a watertight defence. He said: "The whole back four played really well and it was wonderful to keep a clean sheet. It was a sloppy first half all in all but at half-time the manager just told us to keep the ball and to keep things simple which we did and, of course, the substitutions made a difference."

Unfortunately Wilnis was booked just before half-time, which takes him to five cautions for the season. This means that he will miss Town's next home game against Crewe Alexandra on January 17.

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