Returning star knew his Town number was up

IPSWICH TOWN: Alex Bruce knew his number was up when he walked into the Blues’ Playford Road changing rooms on the second day of pre-season training and saw a list pinned to the wall.

This showed that he had lost his number five shirt number to Damien Delaney and that he had been allocated 21.

Bruce is back in Ipswich on Saturday when his Leeds United side take on the Blues at Portman Road in an npower Championship fixture.

“I could tell from the vibes I was getting that I was not really wanted,” said Bruce, who had four seasons with Town making 127 appearances and scoring three goals.

“I had lost the captaincy and been allowed to go out on loan and there were things going on.

“It didn’t look as though I was part of the manager’s plans any longer.

“This was confirmed to me when I looked at the list. It would have been nice to have been told.”

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Bruce was allowed to speak to Sheffield United and a deal looked likely after weekend talks. But he was then called back to Portman Road.

“The manager asked me to return to training and it became a bit confusing,” added Bruce. “I believe there was some squabbling going on over the fee.

“Then Leeds came in and the offer they made was more suitable to Ipswich.

“And for me it was the right opportunity, and I have no regrets joining a club with so much history and one geared to go forward.”

Bruce insists that he has no scores to settle on his return to Portman Road, and has no grouse with Blues manager Roy Keane.

“He was okay at the end and like Leeds, Ipswich have every chance of making an impression this season.

“The Championship is so open that there is perhaps the best opportunity for many years to get into the top six – even the top two.

“I have nothing to prove to Ipswich after giving them four good seasons, and I always got on well with supporters.

“I wish them well, but I want to win on Saturday – there’s no doubt about that.”

Bruce, who is currently keeping his former Ipswich team mate Richard Naylor out of the Leeds first team, is still recovering from losing a 4-1 lead to be beaten 6-4 at home by Preston on Tuesday.

“It was the most bizarre game I have played in,” he went on.

“And with Ipswich losing at Reading it makes this weekend’s match a bit of a crunch one for both sides. It has the makings of being a great contest.”

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