'I always had the feeling he wanted to stay' - Hurst excited to work with Bialkowski
PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 July 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Paul Hurst always got the sense Bartosz Bialkowski's future was at Ipswich Town as the club worked to tie their star goalkeeper down to a new deal.
The Blues rejected an offer of nearly £3million from Birmingham before securing the Pole to a new contract, making him one of the club’s highest earners and securing his future until at least 2021.
It’s a major victory for Hurst during the early weeks of his Ipswich reign and the new Blues boss is delighted to have the man widely regarded as the league’s best goalkeeper at his disposal.
“There was competition, as the owner’s said and we did have a serious bid for him,” Hurst said.
“But I always had the feeling through speaking to Bart, without seeing him face-to-face, that he did like Ipswich and wanted to stay.
“He nearly signed a contract (in January) but it didn’t quite happen so there was a little bit of a hangover from that but, overall, I got the feeling he didn’t really want to go anywhere else.
“Thankfully, with the owner’s backing, we’ve managed to secure him on a long deal and he’s back in training and feeling good.
“In all honesty I think he probably felt a bit better than he probably thought he would and we’ll be looking to involve him on Saturday (at Barnet).”
In Bialkowksi’s absence during the Blues’ first two pre-season games, Dean Gerken has performed well in the Ipswich goal as he steps up his comeback from a season-ending hip injury.
“If Bart comes in and throws goals in I’m not just going to play him – he’s got to do it,” Hurst said, when asked if Bialkowski still needed to earn his place in the Ipswich goal.
“I’m sure he would expect that and so would Dean if it was the other way round.
“It’s a big step for Dean to play 90 minutes (at Crawley) because it’s a long time since he’s done that.
“We tried to nurse him along and we’re now at a stage where it should give him confidence that he’s played, because it’s a serious injury he’s had.
“There might be times we do have to manage him going forward but the gametime he’s had is a big plus for him.”