Best friends become enemies for the day as Ipswich Town and Darren Ambrose take on Derby County and Darren Bent
- Credit: SPORT
Best friends will become enemies at Portman Road tomorrow afternoon (12.15pm ko).
Ipswich Town host a Derby County side who have a new, but familiar-looking face in their squad.
Former Town favourite Darren Bent looks set to make his first appearance back at the club who brought him into professional football, after joining the Rams on-loan from Aston Villa for the rest of the season.
A proven goalscorer at Premier League level since leaving Ipswich nearly 10 years ago, Bent will be looking to make an immediate impact for his new club, but a certain best friend in Town’s Darren Ambrose is determined to stop him.
“He’s looking forward to coming back,” declared Ambrose, who created a deadly partnership growing up with Bent through the Town ranks, both making their full first-team debuts in 2001.
“It’s his first game back at Portman Road since he left but he’s a Derby player now, he’s the enemy, and hopefully we can get one over on him.”
The pair, were affectionately known as the ‘twins’ by former Town manager Joe Royle, who brought them into the team before they were sold to Newcastle United and Charlton Athletic respectively, and still speak regularly, with Ambrose recalling the 3-2 win over Sheffield United in February 2003 as his favourite moment alongside his best friend in a Town shirt.
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“It’s definitely my favourite,” confirmed Ambrose.
“He got two (goals) and I got one, and we came back from 2-0 down with 10 men at half-time.
“I think I crossed the last goal in and he out-jumped everyone and nodded it in.”
The pair built up a fantastic understanding on and off the pitch while teenagers at Ipswich, even sharing digs together in Kesgrave.
“People said our games were telepathic, but I think it was just more a case of an understanding of each other,” explained Ambrose, who celebrated scoring against Southampton in the FA Cup on Sunday by signing a new deal until the end of the summer this week.
“I knew what runs he was going to make and he knew that if he made the runs he would get the pass.”
The pair rekindled that blossoming partnership at Charlton between 2005 to 2007, but now, more than a decade on, are at two Championship clubs looking to win promotion.
Neither are certain to start tomorrow, but Ambrose’s wishes are clear.
“I don’t want him (Bent) to score,” he declared.
“I’m not sure if he’s going to be starting, and I can’t say he’s not going to (score), but hopefully we are 4-0 up by the time he does.”
Ambrose also hinted that he would love to play with Bent again in the future, adding: “He is a fantastic player, we’ve got that understanding with each other so I’m sure that won’t change.
“You never know what’s going to happen in the future, I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow or the next day.”