Patience is running thin for Delaney

PATIENCE is a virtue. But Ipswich Town defender Damien Delaney is running out of it.

Carl Marston

PATIENCE is a virtue. But Ipswich Town defender Damien Delaney is running out of it.

Delaney has made big strides with his own game, just as Town have improved as a team over the last three months.

But Town's powerful centre-half is getting restless. A run of just one defeat in 15 league games has still not propelled Roy Keane's men up the table.

“Our progress is all too slow for me at the moment," rued Delaney.

"That's the way I see it. From my point of view, I've still got aspirations of achieving something half-decent this year, but I get impatient."

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Town's inability to kill off teams is costing them dear this season, as exemplified by West Brom's 93rd minute equaliser in Tuesday night's

1-1 draw at Portman Road.

Town have now drawn 14 of their 26 league matches, a prime reason for keeping them in the bottom third of the table.

Another draw, at Preston North End tomorrow, would again be considered a useful result, but these one-point hauls are not enough to drag Town completely clear of the relegation zone.

"We're sick of talking about great performances this season," continued Delaney.

“We maybe did enough to win (against West Brom) but we didn't see it out at the end. That was really disappointing.

“Having worked so hard and put in so much effort, you probably would have expected three points," added Delaney.

The partnership of Delaney and Gareth McAuley, in the heart of defence, has really blossomed since the back end of November.

Town were leaking goals left, right and centre at the start of the campaign, with Keane struggling to find a settled back four.

Delaney was stuck at left-back, while the likes of McAuley, Pim Balkestein, Alex Bruce and Tommy Smith took it in turns to form centre-half partnerships amongst themselves.

Town were leaking on average more than two goals per game at the start of the season - 24 goals in the first 11 games - such a contrast to the last 11 games, where just 12 goals have been conceded.

And it's no coincidence that Delaney and McAuley have been ever-present during those last 11 fixtures.

Delaney looks more at home at centre-half, than at left-back, although it helps that the team have since gelled as a unit.

“If you look at the start of the season, I don't think anyone was comfortable anywhere," confessed Delaney.

"In that first month or two, I think everyone was down and out. When you're new to the team, you get the brunt of it, but that's life.

“If the manager asked me to play at left-back now, with the way the team's playing, it would probably be a little bit different to how it was.

"However, I do feel more comfortable at centre-half, and I've got a good understanding with Gareth," concluded Delaney.

Town will again be without their skipper, Jon Walters, for tomorrow's trip to Deepdale. Walters tweaked his hamstring during last weekend's FA Cup defeat at Southampton, and is expected to be sidelined for a fortnight.