Hollman tips Supple for the top

JAMES Hollman has tipped Shane Supple to give whoever is brought in as the new senior keeper a run for their money.

Derek Davis

JAMES Hollman has tipped Shane Supple to give whoever is brought in as the new senior keeper a run for their money.

The new goalkeeping coach -who was in the same youth team as Richard Wright - was staying tight-lipped about who he thought would be coming in as the new number one.

Wright is known to be close with Malcolm Webster but Hollman debunked suggestions that they may not be able to work together

“We aren't particularly close. I haven't got Richard's phone number for example. I see him around but I have probably not spoken with him since West Ham played at Norwich last year.

“It wouldn't be a problem working together. Most of my time when I was here was kicking balls at him. If he is the one that comes in I will be kicking balls at him again and giving him advice.”

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For the time being Hollman will concentrating on working with Supple, who spent the latter part of last season at Falkirk, and the 30-year-old coach remains impressed.

Hollman said: “I can see Shane being a top class number one - no doubt.

“I have been working with him again already and at the end of this week I will say where I think he needs to develop and we will have a chat about that and if he agrees then we will work on those areas.”

Not that Hollman thinks there is much wrong.

He said: “I have worked with Shane before when he first arrived at the academy and again now and he is looking very good.

“Because of his background in Gaelic football, his judgement of the flight of a football is the best I have ever seen. That of course gives him a huge advantage in games.

“Shane is just 6' but he plays as if he is 6'3''. There are fors and againsts on height as you may find that taller keepers are not as agile and as coordinated as the smaller ones so you may forfeit distribution and ability to kick. Shane has a fantastic ability to kick and 80% of a goalkeeper's dealing with the football is with his feet.”

Hollman has started his third stint at Ipswich looking to emulate his success at rivals Norwich City by helping the Blues achieve Premier League status once more.

After leaving Ipswich in 1977 following a four year stint, Hollman returned briefly to work as an academy coach.

Norwich City's academy director Sammy Morgan, now an education officer with Ipswich, then asked Hollman to coach their young keepers in 2000 and he progressed to working with the first team.

During that time he helped the Canaries win promotion to the top flight and that is his ambition now at Portman Road.

Hollman has worked with Scottish international David Marshall and helped Rob Green and Joe Lewis to go on and make the senior England squads. That is something he would like to repeat but it is not the primary reason for returning.

He said: “My priority is to get Ipswich back into the Premiership and being part of the coaching team that does that.

“The whole thing with goalkeeping development is recruitment first and foremost.

“You hope by casting a wide enough net that you can pick out those who stand out above the rest. It would be great to develop another England keeper but it would be a bonus not a priority.

“There are concerns in the hierarchy of professional bodies that the standard of keepers is not as good as it should be so we need to keep an eye on that or we will all suffer as a result.

“At Norwich I put some work into that and they are reaping the benefits now.”

Felixstowe-raised Hollman is clearly proud of his work at Carrow Road but doubts his time at Town's arch-rivals will be an issue adding: “I can't see any problem at all. There have been others before me. Steve Foley is the most recent example. I'm working behind the scenes and will get on with the job in hand.”