Lee-Barrett puts down a challenge to rival keeper Fulop
ARRAN Lee-Barrett last night threw down a challenge to Marton Fulop confirming his desire to be the Ipswich Town number one goalkeeper next season.
Ipswich-raised Lee-Barrett has signed a new two-year contract that will keep him at Portman Road until the summer of 2013.
And he has vowed to show in pre-season that he should be between the posts for the opening game of the 2011/12 campaign.
The 27-year-old, who has played 22 first team games in the last two seasons after walking into the Playford Road training ground and asking for a trial in the summer of 2009, realises that he faces a fight to overtake Hungarian international Fulop to become manager Paul Jewell’s first choice.
Jewell has gone on record to say that he will be happy with two senior goalkeepers on the books and he admitted to offering Brian Murphy reduced terms in a contact offer that the Irishman turned down.
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Lee-Barrett said: “Obviously I want to be first choice.
“The manager is freshening things up and there will be changes to the squad for next season.
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“Every player wants to be in the team come the first day of the season and I’m no different.
“Places are up for grabs.
“Last year Marton came in as the number one. This year the manager has said that everyone will be playing for their places when we come back after the summer.
“The challenge is there to show they should be in the team. Naturally Marton feels he should be number one as well.”
Lee-Barrett was sound in his games last season when for two months he was the only fit senior keeper in then manager Roy Keane’s squad, and when he replaced Fulop for seven games in March and April his first five matches were impressive but he then conceded nine goals in two heavy Easter defeats against Norwich City and Swansea City.
He is looking ahead to next season and for Jewell to bring the good times back to Portman Road.
“There’s a good atmosphere about the place, around the dressing-room and we’re looking forward to next year,” added Lee-Barrett.
“Promotion is wide open. It’s a tight league and we will be one of a number of clubs who feel we can challenge for the top six.
“It’s that consistency we need to find.”
And reflecting on his reasons for staying with Town, Lee-Barrett added: “Obviously I’m very pleased to have sorted my future out here.
“It’s a great football club and it’s good to be part of the squad going forward,.
“Like any player who is coming to the end of their contract, it’s always at the back of your mind what is going to happen.
“I’ve been in a similar situation before and that experience helped me deal with it this time but a lot of it is out of your control.
“You just focus on the football and trying to prove you deserve a new contract.
“That’s what has pleased me that the manager sees me as part of his plans and has given me two years.”