Pim hoping to bring back Irish luck

PIM Balkestein had his first sight of Dublin at the weekend - and, like the rest of the Ipswich Town squad, he will be looking to bring back some of the luck of the Irish.

Elvin King

PIM Balkestein had his first sight of Dublin at the weekend - and, like the rest of the Ipswich Town squad, he will be looking to bring back some of the luck of the Irish.

The 21-year-old Dutch defender, who came on for his sixth Blues appearance as a second half substitute in the 2-1 home league defeat Cardiff City, flew to the Republic of Ireland soon after the end of Saturday's game.

He was in the players' Christmas party that returns today before a training session this afternoon. And no one would have gone with too much good cheer after losing at home for the first time in 10 league games.


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“I had never been to Dublin before so it was a trip I was looking forward to,” said Balkestein.

“The spirit in the team is great but going away together for a break can only improve how we react together.

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“We did not go with too much cheer, but with a bit of luck on our side - perhaps some Irish luck - we can finish the year with three victories and get back among the promotion contenders.”

Balkestein needed attention to a bump on the head before he could fly off with his team-mates - ironically the Cardiff team were flying out of Stansted to Belfast for their Christmas knees-up.

He had been warming up for most of the game once team captain Gareth McAuley injured his leg when saving a certain goal and colliding heavily against the post.

“I did not see Ben Thatcher's sending off as I was running up and down the touchline,“ added Balkestein.

“I was ready to go on from the time Gareth hurt himself but the skipper showed plenty of courage to stay on.

“It was good to get some action again, but it was not good not to get a result. We have to put a winning streak together now and the ball has not always run for us. We must look for that to happen from now on.”

Twelve months ago Balkestein was playing second team football in Holland for Heerenveen and sometimes sitting on the bench for the first team.

He has come a long way since then signing an Ipswich contract in the summer and making his debut on the opening day of the season.

“I have tried to keep my feet on the ground and have learned a lot,” said Balkestein. “If 2009 is as good for me as 2008, then I will be more than happy.

“And we are all looking to make it a happy 2009 for Ipswich Town. We have the quality but it is not easy to win games when you go two goals down.”

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