David Stockdale leaves with words of praise for fans

DEPARTING David Stockdale has today paid a gushing tribute to the Super Blues after his loan deal was abruptly ended.

The popular keeper yesterday returned to Fulham following a spinal injury to Mark Schwarzer – giving Town boss Paul Jewell a selection headache ahead of Saturday’s visit of Derby County.

But while excited about the challenge of playing in the Premier League, Stockdale said he would love to see his loan club join him in the seasons to come.

He said: “I loved my time here and I can’t speak highly enough of the place. The fans have been brilliant and they’ve been behind us every game.

“I just want to thank everyone at Ipswich for giving me this chance and I really have learned a lot from the experience. It would have been nice to have stayed and tried to have got the club into the Premier League, but I’ve got to concentrate on doing my best for Fulham now.”

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Despite conceding more goals than any other keeper in the Championship so far, Stockdale was largely blameless in the eyes of Blues fans after a string of impressive performances.

And the 25-year-old returned the compliment by praising the level of support he had received, adding: “It’s been an up and down season so far but the fans have stuck by us which means a lot and I’d like to thank them. I really hope that sooner rather than later they can be watching their side playing in the Premier League because their support deserves it.”

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Supporters had no choice but to join Jewell in hoping 39-year-old Schwarzer would stay fit this season after Fulham and Ipswich agreed a 24-hour recall clause when Stockdale signed in July.

It was the only way the Craven Cottage outfit would agree to the loan deal, but Stockdale – currently England’s third choice keeper – quickly settled into life in Suffolk, moving his family to the area and helping the club in the community.

And no one took defeat harder than the 25-year-old who would often vent his disappointment at the side’s troubles via the social media network Twitter.

Now despite turning his attention to forthcoming Premier League matches against Manchester United, Chelsea and Norwich, Stockdale had a word of encouragement for the men he has left behind.

He explained: “Fulham have got some big games coming up so I want to do well and show people what I’ve learned at Ipswich and show what I’ve been doing in games and training, working alongside some great coaches such as Malcolm Webster.

“I know the club are being left in good hands as Wrighty (Richard Wright) and Aaron (Lee-Barrett) are two great keepers.”

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