Darren Ambrose tips good times ahead for old club Ipswich

THE fan club is growing.

The Blues’ run of just three defeats in their last 16 matches continued with Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.

And the point, and the performance, allowed them to pick up a few more admirers along the way – headed by former player Darren Ambrose.

The Palace midfielder, a former Town trainee who made 47 appearances during two spells at the club, was left mightily impressed by his old club, predicting brighter times were just round the corner.

Ambrose, who shares a dressing room with fellow ex-Ipswich players Lewis Price, Owen Garvan, Stuart O’Keefe and David Wright, said: “I always look for Town’s results.

“They didn’t start the season the brightest but Paul Jewell now seems to have got a good spirit in the side and they are playing well now. I think they will be contenders next year.”

Of Saturday’s match, he added: “It was a good game but one of those end-of-season ones where neither side had anything to play for. Both teams played good football and I think 1-1 was a fair result.

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“There is a bit of an Ipswich contingent at Palace and it is always nice to play your old club.”

Ambrose’s praise for his opponents were matched by that of his boss, Dougie Freedman, who felt his Palace side did enough to earn a point after taking the lead.

Freedman said: “I thought it was a fair result. We’re obviously a little bit disappointed having taken the lead, but Ipswich had a very experienced side out there and we found them hard to cope with at times. Maybe when we look back on it we’ll see it as a good point.”

And after Palace left Portman Road with a comfortable 1-0 win in the reverse fixture in October, Freedman added: “I thought Ipswich were very good in the middle of the park. Paul (Jewell) has done really well to turn them around from the position they were in earlier in the season because I felt we won quite comfortably up there.”

The Palace boss also reserved special praise for Bury St Edmunds-born O’Keefe who has broken into the Eagles midfield after failing to make the grade at Ipswich.

Freedman added: “Stuart O’Keefe has done fantastically well for us. We picked him up from Southend and he’s really growing into that midfield role.

“Sometimes players come into the team, aren’t fantastic, but you have to ride that out a little bit and let them grow.

“The likes of Stuart will feed off our more experienced players and will only get better. That’s what it’s all about.

“We started the season off the back of a few relegation battles and my mission was to bring back a little bit of feel good factor to the place.

“I think that mission is coming together. The biggest thing I’m proud about is we have got youngsters in the team that I really believe in. They’ve learned a lot this season.”