Hat-trick hero reveals his sad secret

HAT-trick hero Jon Walters was nursing a sad secret when he helped Ipswich a six-goal feast against Bristol City.Walters wore a black armband as a mark of respect to his maternal grandmother, who died recently, and quietly dedicated the match ball to her memory.

By Derek Davis

HAT-trick hero Jon Walters was nursing a sad secret when he helped Ipswich a six-goal feast against Bristol City.

Walters wore a black armband as a mark of respect to his maternal grandmother, who died recently, and quietly dedicated the match ball to her memory.

The Blues striker flew to Dublin for her funeral last Wednesday on his day off after the Sheffield United defeat after learning of her death shortly after the draw at Norwich.

Walters said: “She went before the Norwich game but they kept if from me until after the match. I went to the wake on Wednesday in Dublin and wore the black armband for her.”

It is this connection that qualifies Walters for the Republic of Ireland and, after winning Under 21 honours three years ago, he has now been called up to the 'B' squad to face Scotland at Airdrie's Excelsior Stadium next week.

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Walters said: “I'm very proud of my Irish roots from my mum's side so I'm delighted to be picked again after the Under 21s.

“It will be a good game to go into but I'm not sure if I will be going as a striker or right midfielder.”

Clutching the match ball, signed by the players, Walters said: “It was my first hat-trick in the league so I'm made up. That was probably my best-ever game in my career.

“I had an early couple of shots that were just markers and, after that, that they were all good goals which I was happy about.”

Although all the players are today at a luxury hotel in Northamptonshire being pampered, Walters did not have a wild night of celebration and instead went for a quiet meal with fellow goalscorer David Wright, whose father passed away a few months ago.

Walters said: “I was made up that David scored. We had a little joke that the ball came off his nose but, no, it was a brilliant. His work-rate as a right back is fantastic and he helps me enormously down that side.”

The 24-year-old has been rejuvenated as a goalscorer after being switched for an out-and-out striker to an attacking right-sided midfielder.

Walters said: “There is more space for me on the right side as no-one seems to pick me up.

“Once their lad got sent off it opened up for us and the left-back wasn't having the best of time so I exploited that.”

Like everyone else, Walters is at a loss to explain why Town's results have varied so much from their home scores but expects that to change very soon.

He added: “If we can take this into away games then we can really push on. We have been playing well enough so it is case of keep plugging away.”

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