Fans’ favourite Luke Hyam yearns for a run of starts in an Ipswich Town shirt
THE local lad and the gentle giant.
Luke Hyam hopes he Guirane N’Daw can forge a fearsome midfield partnership for Ipswich Town.
The pair both scored their first goals for the club in Tuesday night’s impressive 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest, also providing a potent mix of power and tenacity in the middle of the pitch.
Senegalese powerhouse N’Daw – brought in on a season-loan by former manager Paul Jewell but then head-scratchingly marginalised after an impressive display at Brighton – has been a revelation under new boss Mick McCarthy.
And with Nigel Reo-Coker out of action with a hamstring injury, Hyam – whose crunching tackle in the early moments set the tone – took his chance with both hands with a typically tenacious display.
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Town’s record when Hyam starts reads W13 D6 L8, but the 21-year-old former Northgate High School pupil has never started more than seven matches in a row since breaking into the team under Roy Keane at the start of the 2010/11 season.
“All I want to do is cement my place in the team,” said the midfielder, whose attitude and professionalism has been praised by a string of managers now. “I want to play more than I have in previous seasons.
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“Managers have always told me to just keep working hard and to be ready to prove myself when my chance came around. I’ve always said that once I’m in I’ll show what I can do and hopefully that’s what I’ve done. Hopefully that’s what I did and hopefully I can play more games now.”
Speaking of N’Daw – who played with heavy bandaging around the head wound he suffered against Peterborough – Hyam said: “I enjoyed playing alongside him. He’s a quiet lad, his English isn’t the best, but he works so hard. He’s got great passing ability as well.
“I thought all the boys worked extremely hard, you could tell we were working for each other and that showed in the result.”
With Town fans joyously chanting ‘he’s one of our own’ following Hyam’s goal, the midfielder said: “It was incredible. You could see by my celebrations that I lost my head a little bit!
“I grew up watching Ipswich Town from the stands and always dreamt of playing for this club. I had my mum, my dad, my brother and a few friends come to see my first goal and the fact that it came in a win made it even better.
“The support I’ve had from the fans has been amazing. I’ve got so much respect for them and I’d like to thank them all for making me feel so welcome. I just want to do them all proud.”