Ex-Town star playing major role at Sheffield United
IPSWICH TOWN: Former Blues keeper Richard Wright has had a big role to play for Sheffield United despite not yet playing for the Blades.
So says fellow keeper Steve Simonsen, who is expected to keep Wright on the bench when Town visit Bramall Lane for a Championship fixture tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).
Wright joined Sheffield on a four-month short-term deal in September after not being offered a new contract by Ipswich manager Roy Keane in the summer.
The 32-year-old, a Premier League winner with Arsenal, ignored overtures from Hull and Crystal Palace to move to Bramall Lane.
With Wright waiting in the wings, Simonsen is aware he needs to maintain high standards to hold on to the number one jersey.
“I worked with Richard back at Everton years ago so we are no strangers to each other,” said Simonsen.
“There is competition for places between the posts and we want that throughout the team.
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“I think the goalkeeping department is quite strong at the moment. Richard will really keep me on my toes and hopefully it will make me perform better.
“If I can’t perform to that pressure, then I won’t be in the team. It is as simple as that. Right now, the jersey is mine to lose but hopefully it will not come to that.”
Simonsen, an ever-present this season, has recorded four clean sheets, with United languishing in the bottom eight.
Blades boss Gary Speed faces a major defensive headache after scans earlier this week confirmed that captain Chris Morgan had sustained cruciate knee ligament damage in the home loss to Coventry last weekend.
He is expected to be given permission by United’s hierarchy to dip into the emergency loan market and recruit a replacement.
Pressure is mounting on Speed to stop the rot, with United hovering just two points above the relegation zone.
Kyle Bartley, on loan from Premier League Arsenal, is playing with a fitted face mask after fracturing his cheekbone at Nottingham Forest.