Ipswich Town defender Tommy Smith champing at the bit to help out his team-mates

Ipswich Town defender Tommy Smith

Ipswich Town defender Tommy Smith - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town defender Tommy Smith is champing at the bit to get back on the field and help his under-pressure team-mates.

The Blues centre-back has been out of action since undergoing back surgery at the beginning of September – a procedure that carried a 10% risk of ending his career.

Mick McCarthy’s men have endured an inconsistent few months in his absence and head into tomorrow’s home game against fellow-strugglers Blackburn knowing they could yet be dragged into a Championship relegation battle.

“Any professional who is not playing, for whatever reason, will tell you how frustrating it is watching from the sidelines,” said the 26-year-old, who worked as co-commentator for BBC Suffolk during last Saturday’s 2-2 draw with non-league Lincoln in the FA Cup Third Round.

“It’s even more frustrating when results are up and down because you feel, as a player, that you can help the situation. It’s hard not being able to do that.

“When the surgeon told me there was a small chance my career might be over it took a few moments to get my head around, but it was nothing but positive thinking after that and the rehab has gone well. I’m hoping to be back in full training a week on Monday.”

Town haven’t won back-to-back games all season and slipped to 15th in the table following their 2-1 defeat at QPR on January 2. Third-bottom Blackburn are looking to make it three wins in a row after they followed up a fine 1-0 home win over Newcastle with a 2-1 FA Cup victory at QPR last weekend.

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“Obviously it’s a big game,” said Smith. “Blackburn are fighting for their lives, but we fancy ourselves against anyone on the day.

“We produced some good performances after Christmas. It’s now about finding a level of consistency and performing well over 90 minutes. If we can win on Saturday, we then need to back that up in the next game (BBC televised FA Cup replay at Lincoln next Tuesday).”