Dan's renewed hope after darkest days

DAN Harding's desire to play for Ipswich Town is so strong that even in his darkest days of being dropped he did not consider a move away.

Derek Davis

DAN Harding's desire to play for Ipswich Town is so strong that even in his darkest days of being dropped he did not consider a move away.

Instead the former Brighton and Leeds chose to knuckle down and fight for his place back.

“I never thought about leaving at all. The manager gave his point of view and we discussed what I needed to work on. I have always wanted to stay at Ipswich. My family and I are happy here. The fans have been brilliant and it is a good club to be at.

“If, every time you got dropped you wanted to leave then you could end up playing for a lot of clubs.

“Just because you are left out you don't have to leave if anything it can make you a stronger person because you have to learn to deal with it.”

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After playing just once in nine games over a six week period Harding got his place back when Sito Castro was red carded at Plymouth.

The Spaniard's suspension ends after today clash with Watford but Harding is hoping he has done enough to keep the shirt.

He said: “It is up to the manager bit all I can do is keep doing my best and hope I keep my place.

“It was not nice to be out of the side but it makes you appreciate it more when you are back in the side.

“The gaffer explained to me why I as not playing and then I worked with the coaching staff who have been brilliant. I have come back a better player and a stronger person.”

Harding impressed in reserve games, mainly played on a cold and wet Playford Road, and in daily training where he worked on aspects of his game.

He said: “As a professional it is something you have to do. You can't start chucking your toys out of the pram you have to get your head down and work hard and try and turn it around.”

Town boss Jim Magilton praised Harding's desire and determination to win his place back and says it is now up to him to stay in the starting side.

Magilton said: “Dan has done very well. You hope that taking him out of the side helped.

“He has staked a claim and won the shirt and it is up to him to hold on to it. It comes to down to competition. He has worked hard, shown an attitude and determination to get back.

“We want players who when they are in the team that they have to stay in it and show no complacency.”

Ipswich look to extend their unbeaten home run to 20 Championship matches against Watford who have

Harding said: “There will be no surprises with Watford and we will be ready for the battle.”

Alan Quinn with a swollen ankle is the only injury doubt but is expected to come through a fitness assessment this morning.