‘I want to get us back to the Championship... and beyond’ Woolfenden’s Town promotion dream

Luke Woolfenden could potentially make his first league start of the season tonight. Picture: St

Luke Woolfenden could potentially make his first league start of the season tonight. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Central defender Luke Woolfenden has set his sights firmly set on taking Ipswich Town back to the Championship – and beyond.

The 22-year-old academy product rightly attracted attention from clubs higher up the football pyramid due to his excellent displays last season, with manager Paul Lambert placing a valuation of £10million on his head amid interest from Sheffield United.

But Woolfenden signed a new deal with the club in the early weeks of lockdown, keeping him at Portman Road until 2024, with the Ipswich-born defender keen to take his club back up the football pyramid.

MORE: ‘He knows the club... hopefully he can pass on advice’ - Lambert on Dyer’s Town returnWhen asked if he was aware of any summer interest in his services, Woolfenden said: “I couldn’t really tell you to be honest because I sorted the contract out early doors at Ipswich and wasn’t really focussed on anything like that.

“I know that’s what everyone says but it’s true because I always wanted to stay here and wasn’t looking to leave.

“I want to get Ipswich back to the Championship and beyond so it was good to sign the contract so that I was able to do that.

“To get promoted would be unreal. Even for the boys in the squad who aren’t from Ipswich, getting promoted from anyone would be special but to do it for your hometown club would be even better.”

Woolfenden is likely to line-up alongside Mark McGuinness at the heart of the Town defence again this weekend, when Crewe visit, with the defender enjoying the role he’s being asked to play alongside the young Arsenal loanee.

MORE: Lambert on three ‘kicks up the backside’ which have helped Woolfenden get back on form“I think of myself as more of a ball-playing centre-back, as opposed to an out-and-out defender, so I’m comfortable with it and the style suits me,” Woolfenden said.

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“The gaffer has made it clear what he expects from the centre-backs within this style of play.

“They have to play their part and it starts with us if we get the ball off Tomas (Holy). If we don’t we’re just going to be in for a long game of going back and forth really.

“I’ve been impressed with Mark since he played for Arsenal’s U21 side and they beat us in the EFL Trophy game at Portman Road. In that game I thought he was unreal.

MORE: Norwood returns to training as Ipswich boss Lambert issues a string of injury updates“Even during the game everyone was saying ‘Who’s this kid?’ He was dealing with everything that came his way and I thought it was one of the best performances I had ever seen. He’s just carried on from there and he was great the other night.

“He’s unbelievable in the air but when we signed him I didn’t have a groan to myself. I had noted he was left-footed and obviously preferred playing on that side, while I’m better on the right, so I didn’t see him as a rival for my best position.”

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