Leadbitter: ‘I’m happy at Ipswich’

IPSWICH Town captain Grant Leadbitter is ready to commit his future to the club.

The softly-spoken midfielder was linked with a �2m move to Championship rivals Portsmouth at the back end of last week following Keith Andrews’ arrival on loan from Blackburn Rovers.

Pompey, who now have money to spend on strengthening a desperately thin squad, have already snapped up former Blues skipper David Norris on a Bosman free transfer this summer.

Town manager Paul Jewell quickly quashed the rumours though by revealing that he is preparing to sit down and discuss a new deal with Leadbitter this week – one of a number of players now in the final year of their contracts at Portman Road.

“I saw the speculation about me, but it is just that,” smiled Leadbitter, following Saturday’s disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Hull City. “I’m not aware of any bid.

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“I’ve spoken to the manager about the contract before so his comments don’t come as a surprise.

“I’m happy at Ipswich, happy with the manager and I think this is a team going places.”

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The captain’s armband has become something of a curse at Portman Road in recent years, with Jon Walters departing for Stoke before replacement Norris left for Pompey.

“There’s loads of captains on the field, it doesn’t matter who’s got the armband,” said Leadbitter. “I don’t see it as extra pressure – we’ve all got to be leaders out there.”

Reacting to Andrews’ arrival in Suffolk, the Republic or Ireland international making his Town debut as a second-half substitute at the weekend, Leadbitter said: “He’s a good signing. He’s got Premier League experience and will add good competition to the midfield which is what we need.

“He’ll bring in leadership and is a good passer. He’s a good player and I like to play around good players.”

Saturday’s frustrating home defeat to Hull – Ipswich’s second in the space of five days following the Carling Cup loss to League Two side Northampton – has brought Town back to earth with a bump following their opening day 3-0 win at Bristol City.

– Full match report and reaction in today’s EADT and Evening Star.

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