Luke Hyam: Two games saved my Ipswich Town career
He’s a local hero, but the boyhood dream almost turned into a nightmare for highly-rated Blues midfielder Luke Hyam.
The 21-year-old picked up manager Mick McCarthy’s Most Improved Player of the Year award last week, having been on the verge of being released by former boss, Paul Jewell, last season.
A peripheral figure for the duration of Jewell’s stay, Hyam was ready to seek pastures new, down the football period, until injuries struck, giving him a reprieve.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s Championship finale at Burnley, Hyam, who has the motto, ‘Do what you love, fortune will follow’ tattooed on his arm, is determined to make the most of his second chance.
“I was fairly close to leaving last season when I was not playing,” recalled the former Northgate High School pupil.
“I was told I was being let go halfway through the season and I was looking to move elsewhere, to League One or League Two, to go and get some football on loan.
“We had a few injuries and suspensions and I came in and played at Hull (in the 3-1 FA Cup defeat) and the game against Blackpool (2-2 at Portman Road), and shortly after that, I was offered a contract.”
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Hyam penned a one-year extension in February 2012 and that was due to expire this summer.
However, he penned a new deal last Autumn, meaning he is now under contract at Portman Road until next summer.
He has become an integral figure under McCarthy, adding more attacking threat to his game in recent weeks, and is likely to be one of the first names on the team-sheet at Turf Moor, in a game that still has plenty riding on it, according to the youngster.
“Both teams have nothing to play for but the manager will want us to put in 110%,” said Hyam.
“Everyone will to try and impress the manager for next year.”
Blues boss McCarthy has indicated there he will make changes in Lancashire tomorrow.
Only Paul Taylor and Josh Carson are long-term absentees through injury and the former Wolves boss is likely to give some fringe players their chance.
Meanwhile, McCarthy confirmed the club will reveal its retained list next week, with permanent players Andy Drury, Lee Martin and Arran Lee-Barrett out of contract.
Follow Chris Brammer for updates at Burnley on Twitter: @chrisbramms