Bruce: We've had a top year

ALEX Bruce today put into perspective how far Ipswich Town have advanced in the last 12 months.Despite heavy criticism the club has taken over the last few weeks, the 23-year-old says that the improvement has been massive.

Elvin King

ALEX Bruce today put into perspective how far Ipswich Town have advanced in the last 12 months.

Despite heavy criticism the club has taken over the last few weeks, the 23-year-old says that the improvement has been massive.

The Blues defender knows the delights on offer if eighth-placed Town can win in the Coca-Cola Championship at Scunthorpe tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).


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“People should stop and look at the situation,” said Bruce, who is set to partner skipper Jason De Vos at the heart of the defence at Glanford Park.

“This time last year we were going to Luton Town in fear of being dragged into a relegation battle.

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“Our critics should not forget that.

“Twelve months later and a win at Scunthorpe tomorrow could see us go back into the top six.

“There has been a massive improvement all round, and this appears to be often forgotten.”

Bruce makes no excuses for the 4-1 defeat at Barnsley in Ipswich's last away match, which came after a run of seven points and just three goals conceded in their previous four away games.

“A few individual performances were not up to standard,” he said. “But I am sure it was just a blip against a team on a high after their FA Cup successes.”

Town entertain QPR next Saturday and then play Colchester and Norwich - with Cardiff at home sandwiched in-between.

Bruce predicts that the two local derbies will not be a place for the faint hearted.

He went on: “There is always pressure and local bragging rights in derby matches, but this season our games at Layer Road and against the Canaries at Portman Road will have even more of an edge.

“They could well determine our season, and we must be up to the task.”

Bruce sees Town picking up enough points over the next couple of games to lay the foundations for a final flurry - although he admits he was left wondering a couple of weeks ago about his involvement in the run-in.

“I was left wondering whether I would play as a central defender again,” he said. “Richard Naylor was doing well and there was talk of loan players coming in.

“But Richard has been unfortunate to suffer a reaction to his neck injury, and I am back playing beside Jason De Vos, and we do play well together.”

Bruce, who finds it difficult to explain his vast reduction in yellow cards over the last two seasons other than to say 'I have been lucky as I am competing just as intensely' has been watched by his father Steve over the last two games.

“He comes along with one of his Wigan coaches Keith Bertschin, who is a former Ipswich player,” said Bruce.

Ipswich Town manager Jim Magilton has confirmed that Fulham defender Dejan Stefanovic is an experienced player he is still chasing.

“I played with him at Sheffield Wednesday, and he can add composure to our back line,” said Magilton, who also revealed that his 'cheeky' approach to Tottenham for Darren Bent had resulted in a firm no.

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