McAuley - ‘Staying with Ipswich is worth fighting for’

GARETH McAuley was told when he arrived at Portman Road that Ipswich Town is a club that he wouldn’t want to leave.

“Manager Jim Magilton, who brought me here in June 2008, has proved true to his word,” said the 31-year-old central defender who is out of contract in the summer.

The Northern Ireland international’s future is up in the air along with 20 others on Town’s books whose current deals expire on June 30.

McAuley revealed today that he does not expect to tie up his future until the end of the season.

But he has no desire to move on, which will be pleasing to hear for Town fans as the former Leicester City player has been impressive all season missing just six league games before Christmas through injury.

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“I’m cool with the situation and nothing has changed recently,” said McAuley, who will be a key man on Saturday when Ipswich look to get back to winning ways at Leeds after Tuesday’s home defeat by Reading.

“We have got to ensure that this football club stays in this division next season and I have got to ensure that I perform as well as I can.

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“Nothing will probably happen to the end of the season, but being able to stay with a club like this is something worth fighting for.

“Jim Magilton told me when I signed that players don’t want to leave a club like this. And he has proved true to his word.”

McAuley, and the likes of David Norris, Damien Delaney, Carlos Edwards and Colin Healy who are also out of contract, were able to talk to other clubs about summer deals from the turn of the year.

But McAuley has no interest in doing this.

He went on: “I’ve told the lads that are working for me to keep me in the background.

“I don’t want them to phone me about this, that or the other.

“It’s not what I want – I want to concentrate on my football, and doing well and hopefully things will take care of themselves.”

McAuley was equally honest about Town’s display in Tuesday’s 3-1 home defeat by in-form Reading.

“We were not at the races and after a good performance at Cardiff City at the weekend we didn’t turn up,” he said.

“We didn’t get out of the traps and conceded bad goals the first from a corner and the second from a throw-in.

“We didn’t fight enough for it and it was really disappointing.

“Nothing came together and we didn’t win enough first balls, second balls and didn’t compact enough.

“Reading ran their socks off and kept us under a lot of pressure with their front two very busy and running into channels and doing the horrible things that defenders do not like.

“We got what we deserved and must look to step up a gear or two when we play Leeds.”

Town defender Tommy Smith has been selected for the New Zealand provisional squad for the All-Whites’ games against China on March 25 and then Japan in Tokyo four days later.

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