Pablo has plenty to be happy about

STILL waters run deep and with Pablo Counago there is more depth than his severe exterior portrays.The Spaniard often wears an expression that is at best serious and often misconstrued as sulky.

Derek Davis

STILL waters run deep and with Pablo Counago there is more depth than his severe exterior portrays.

The Spaniard often wears an expression that is at best serious and often misconstrued as sulky.

But even though he has not been in Ipswich's for the past three games Counago has plenty to be happy about.

Counago is looking forward to becoming a dad for the first time later this month with his son due to arrive on March 27, two days before the home game with QPR.

He takes a pragmatic approach to being on the bench experienced enough to see the bigger picture and knowing that he could be back starting at any time.

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Counago said: “My face is still the same. Just because I don't go around smiling all the time it doesn't mean I'm not happy.

“Some people like to go around smiling at everyone all the time even if they are not happy but that's not me.

“I'm very happy with my profession, with my family and with my friends. Even in the bad moments with football, which is important to me, I stay happy because I have a good life.

“Three year's ago people were saying before I was not happy but that was not really true because football is only a part of my life.

“If I'm not in the team then I have to understand and respect the manager's decision but I'm not going to mope around. I will keep working and make the manager change his mind and play from the start.”

With Alan Lee and Jon Walters working in tango of late, Counago accepts he must bide his time before he can add to his 11 goals.

He said: “I always understood about the football.

“Football is like that. We have a lot of players in the squad and you have to respect them and the manager. I'm working to get back into the starting XI.

“It is a long season and you will always have low moments and high moments so you don't look at it for a day but over the longer term and keep working.”

Counago and his partner, who he intends marrying in the summer, are so settled in the area he has even recommended East Anglia to former Celta Vigo team-mate Juan Valasco.

He admits trying to tempt the former Espanyol defender to come a bit further south but found it was too late.

Counago said: “When I found out he was on trial at Norwich I asked him what he was doing there and come to Ipswich but he was already on trial there and they offered him a contract.

“I have already told him he made the right choice and he will know for sure when he comes here to play for Norwich.

“He arrived on trial with Norwich and that was his best chance to play in England

“I'm looking forward even more to the derby game now with a friend in the Norwich side it will make it even more interesting.”

PABLO Counago will be looking for a repeat of his goal that helped Town to a 2-0 win over the Saints at Portman Road last November with Jon Walters getting the other.

Walters has put a knee injury behind him to play today, while Alan Quinn will miss the trip to Southampton after failing to recover in time from an ankle injury.

Midfielder Quinn has been struggling for a couple of weeks with the sore ankle and even though a scan on Monday showed no serious damage he is still in some pain and has been left out of the 18-man squad travelling to St Mary's.

Chris Casement, who agreed a new one year deal with Town, has been added to the squad.

Saints midfielder Youssef Safri is back from suspension while full-back Alexander Ostlund is training again following a hamstring injury - but is not match-fit. Club captain Claus Lundekvam is out for the season with a serious ankle injury.

Former Ipswich defender Chris Makin is recovering from a hip operation while and Darren Powell (calf), winger Nathan Dyer (ankle) and Kelvin Davis' back-up goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski (thumb) are all still missing.

Southampton: Davis, Poke, Thomas, Pearce, Davies, Vignal, Viafara, Safri, Idiakez, Wright, Saganowski, Surman, John, Licka, Wright-Phillips, Hammill, Euell.

Ipswich Town: Bywater, Colgan, Bruce, Wright, Harding, Sito, Casement, Naylor, De Vos, Trotter, Sumulikoski, Garvan, Miller, Norris, Haynes, Walters, Lee, Counago.