Blues are back and buzzing

THE fixtures may come out tomorrow but there are still another two weeks before the Ipswich players officially return for pre-season and nearly six weeks before the new campaign starts in earnest.

Derek Davis

THE fixtures may come out tomorrow but there are still another two weeks before the Ipswich players officially return for pre-season and nearly six weeks before the new campaign starts in earnest.

But like many supporters, the Blues stars can't wait to get back into the swing of things.

So much so that many are arriving back early for pre-season training.

Fitness coach Simon Thadani wrote to all the players outlining the plans for pre-season and giving them the return date of July 2.

But the former RAF instructor also told them that he would be available to take them for sessions and gave them an option to come back early if they wanted to.

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It seems there will be no shortage of volunteers as many players - mainly those who live near to the ground or are not visiting family abroad - are keen to get back to the club.

It also means the hard physical impact of pre-season will not be quite so tough, especially with the Blues going to Finn Harps just five days after the official return to play a friendly.

Some like David Wright, Gareth McAuley, Jordan Rhodes and Tommy Smith, have been regulars at the club throughout the past couple of months as they rehabilitate from their respective injuries, with all expecting to join in when the whole squad regroups on July 2.

Wright said: “I'm ready to go and I'm sure the other boys will be to. We only really switch off for a short while and now as pre-season gets closer, the boys are pushing themselves to come back fit.

“Most of the boys will have had a couple of weeks of real down time and then will have been back swimming and jogging.

“With the new manager in the boys will be working hard already to make sure they make an impression when they get back.

“Like the rest of the boys I was ready for break once we realised we couldn't reach the play-offs.

“We had been going for 10 months and it is tiring physically and mentally and you never totally switch off. I'm absolutely buzzing about coming back.”

With four season ticket holders living next door to him Wright has seen what Roy Keane's arrival has meant to Town supporters and he shares their eager anticipation.

He said: “There is a real air of excitement. Everyone I have spoken to is really excited. My neighbours are absolutely buzzing. They are looking forward to it as much as we are.

“We really want to achieve something. It is a horrible feeling to work so hard for those 10 months and not achieve our aim

“Personally these last couple of end of seasons have been awful because I have not achieved what I set out to do and that is return to the Premier League.

“I still have the same enthusiasm for a new season as I did as an 18-year-old only I now have more experience.

“Getting back into the Premier League drives me on.

“I was there with Wigan and feel I didn't do what I wanted to do at the time and I'm desperate for another chance.”

Wright has been recovering from a hamstring injury that forced him to miss four of the final six games of the season and he has appreciated the company of McAuley, Rhodes and Smith.

He said: “It can be quite lonely running laps or being on the treadmill so it has been great to have the other lads in.

“Having someone alongside you, pushing you and you pushing them, makes it so much easier to deal with.”

All four are looking to play in the game at Finn Harps and Wright much prefers games to training.

He said: “I'm happy to go straight in. A lot of the boys like a lot of games. They prefer to play as many minutes as possible.

“You can get your base fitness and build stamina from running but that can't reproduce what you get in games.”

Liam Trotter has still to make his mind up about which club he wants to start the new season with.

Keane offered the 20-year-old a new contract to stay with his home-town club but the probability of more regular first team football at Scunthorpe United, who have also offered him a three-year deal, is very attractive.

Trotter helped the Iron win promotion to the Championship and played at Wembley for them in the play-off final and manager Nigel Adkins is keen to sign the Blues Academy graduate.

Shane Supple has also yet to put pen to paper but it is believed he will commit to Ipswich when he returns from Dublin.

n David Wright is an ambassador for the Princes' Trust and a fundraiser for the East Anglian Children's Hospice.