McAuley has one major thing missing from his career

GARETH McAuley wants to put right the one thing that is missing in his footballing career – he wants to win a meaningful medal.

The 31-year-old central defender will be at the heart of the Ipswich Town defence when they look to end a run of three consecutive home defeats against Scunthorpe United at Portman Road today (kick-off 3pm).

And there is nothing he would like more than to agree a new contract with Ipswich and gain promotion to the Premier League within the timescale of a new deal.

McAuley, who is one of 21 Town players out of contract in the summer, said: “You can have as much satisfaction as you want in this world, but you want that little piece of metal to show to your grandchildren.

“Everybody wants to win a promotion – a medal – before they end their career, and I am no different.

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“I lost two play-off finals with Lincoln City and fell at the last hurdle.

“I did win two cup finals for Colraine in Northern Ireland, with my mum and dad having the medals at home.

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“It would be nice to be involved in a promotion over here and this is what is striving me forward.

“This was the aim when I came here, and to be honest there have been some indifferent times in the past 18 months.

“Hopefully the gaffer will take stock and bring in players to enable us to have a right go next season.”

McAuley will be representing his country next week with a behind-closed-doors Euro qualifier in Serbia followed by a match against Slovenia in Belfast.

And he has no plans to hang up his boots.

“I want to keep playing forever,” added McAuley. “It is fantastic playing football and having done the work thing before becoming a professional footballer I know what a good career I have.

“I feel fit and everything is good and I want to keep playing as long as I can.”

McAuley warns that Town may find it difficult to hold on to Jimmy Bullard next season.

The 32-year-old is on loan from Hull City until the end of this season, and the player and Ipswich manager Paul Jewell have both expressed a desire in keeping the midfielder at Portman Road beyond the summer.

“Jimmy has scored a few goals and is improving his fitness,” said McAuley.

“It may be tough to hold onto him as top clubs will be seeing how well he is playing and how he is enjoying his football.

“He is happy here and he might want to extend his stay.”

Ipswich, whose next game after today is at Burnley on April 2 because of the international break, are to play two games in Holland next July as they prepare for next season.

Final dates will be announced soon with hundreds of Town fans expected to follow the team abroad.

SHOULD Gareth McAuley form the backbone of Town’s defence again next season? Let us know – e-mail

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