Damien Delaney eyes Spain and Italy – after impressing Jewell first

DAMIEN Delaney wants to end his season playing against Spain and Italy in the European Championships.

But he knows he will have no chance of being on the plane to Poland and Ukraine without first nailing down a regular spot in Paul Jewell’s Ipswich Town team.

The centre-back was a surprise choice in Monday’s creditable 1-1 draw at Leicester City but responded with a typically determined 90 minutes.

Now his New Year resolution is to help Town climb the Championship and end the season in Giovanni Trapatonni’s Republic of Ireland squad for the Euro 2012 matches against Spain, Italy and Croatia.

Delaney said: “My main focus is to be playing regularly and get some form going. I have to be playing at Ipswich, if I’m not then I have no chance of going to the Euros.

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“If there are one or two injuries in the Ireland squad, hopefully I will get involved. I need to look after my side of things and if things go my way in the summer, I want to be on that plane going to Poland and Ukraine.”

The 30-year-old is experienced enough to know that his two dreams this season go hand-in-hand – he has to perform for Ipswich after an injury-hit few months which saw him lose his place to loanee Danny Collins.

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But he is hoping to put his problems behind him and strike up a partnership with Ibrahima Sonko after the pair impressed at the King Power Stadium.

He explained: “You look at Sonks’ strengths and my strengths and we compliment each other quite well – the same as me and Gaz (Gareth McAuley) did last year.

“We are two different types of defender which is what you need. It has the basis but a lot depends on both of us staying fit and in form.”

While Delaney is putting all his energy into impressing Jewell, he is determined to be in Poland one way or another.

He said: “They will be great games to play in and I would love to be involved. And if I’m not on the plane, there’s every chance I’ll be out there watching it.”

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